Random House Inc. and Classic Media Inc. have purchased, through a bankruptcy court auction, the assets of children's book publisher Golden Books Family Entertainment Inc. for US$84.4 million and the assumption of most of its debt. Industry sources estimate Golden Books' debt is close to $50 million. The Golden Books portfolio features over 500,000 titles including characters like Pat the Bunny and Poky Little Puppy, a vast comic book collection and 3,000 movies, television specials and cartoons.
Oakland, California-based technology company Digital Element, with the help of NewTek and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under the auspices of the Department of Energy's Nuclear Cities Initiative, has been working to open up "Closed Cities" in Russia. These cities do not appear on maps and up to now have been strictly military R&D and production sites. Digital Element trainers and engineers have helped form new Russian software development teams in Snezhinsk and other closed cities to help the towns integrate into the Western market.
Brilliant Digital Entertainment Inc., a leading developer of 3D technologies for the Internet, reported their financial statement for the second quarter ended June 30, 2001. The firm posted that their net revenues rose 162% to US$652,000 over $249,000 from last year. Revenues for the six months ended June 30, 2001 were $1,042,000 compared to $436,000 for the same six-month period in 2000. Brilliant Digital reported a net loss of $1,219,000, or $0.08 per share, for the second quarter ended June 30, 2001, compared to a net loss of $4,452,000, or $0.30 per share for the second quarter of 2000.
Film Roman Inc. has reported that revenue increased by 19% to $9.4 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2001, over $7.9 million for the same period last year. Net loss attributable to common stock for the second quarter of 2001 was $1,293,641, or $0.15 per share, compared with a net loss attributable to common stock of $800,260, or $0.09 per share, for the second quarter of 2000.
A court issued an injunction in favor of 20th Century Fox against Marvel, Tribune and Fireworks, preventing them from violating Fox's rights in its X-MEN movie. Moreover, the court also held that Fox can go to trial to recover monetary damages from Marvel and Tribune's use of MUTANT X as the title of their new television series, as well as a permanent injunction on the title of the series.
Pixar Animation Studios announced their financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2001. For the quarter, Pixar posted earnings of US$8.8 million, or $0.17 per diluted share. These results compare to earnings of $8 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenues for the quarter were $16.7 million, compared to $18.3 million in the year-ago quarter. Pixar also announced that it is raising projections for 2001 from the previous range of $0.40 to $0.55, to a new range of $0.50 to $0.58.
Cinar Corporation has released a letter to shareholders providing its financial information for the six-month period ended May 31, 2001. President and chief executive officer Barrie Usher stressed in the opening of the letter that the report is unaudited because "current senior management cannot presently provide the required assurances with respect to financial periods prior to its appointment." The troubled firm had some positive developments in the past six months, including the okay by Telefilm Canada, a Canadian government funding organization, to develop official co-productions.
Ubi Soft Entertainment generated consolidated sales of US$53.2 million (60.39 million euros), up 162.5% for the first quarter of 2000/2001 ended June 30. Without taking into account the acquisition of 3D Planet (Italy), Sinister Games (U.S.), Red Storm (U.S.), and Blue Byte (Germany), and the assets of TLC's Entertainment division, consolidated sales for the quarter were $32.44 million dollars (36.81 million euros), up 60%. Highlights of the quarter were the release of MYST III: EXILE, launched in the U.S. and Australia in May.
TechnologyHelp, Inc. has completed a second round of funding and officially changed its name to Cinemetrix. The new round of financing came from Vanguard Atlantic, a New York-based venture capital firm. Terms of that transaction were not disclosed. George Gagliardi, president and chief executive officer, said, "We are now positioned to expand the sales and marketing of our technology and know-how to clients who understand the power of professionally produced TV-quality presentations.
Paul Villadolid, a former senior vice president at Walt Disney Television, and Larry Hess, a former software engineer at special effects house Digital Domain, have formed Rebel Arts, a technology and software developer with a proprietary server platform designed to handle massive multiplayer online games. The technology is designed to handle in excess of 100,000 simultaneous users. Strategic partners AMD and Linux NetworX are providing Rebel Arts with critical support, including the AMD-760 MP dual processor chipset and Linux NetworX's Evolocity cluster server system.
Crave Entertainment Group, Inc., parent company to videogame publisher Crave Entertainment, Inc. and SVG Distribution, Inc., has announced that it has secured a US$35 million in funding from Heller Financial. This financing is the first step in a multifaceted capital-restructuring plan for the company. "The industry has been extremely supportive throughout our restructuring, and this new credit line ensures financial support for the ongoing growth of our core business," said Nima Taghavi, chief executive officer, Crave Entertainment Group.
The Walt Disney Company has reported earnings for the quarter ended June 30, 2001. Pro forma revenues and segment operating income for the quarter decreased 1% and 7% to US$6 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively, from the prior-year quarter. "In a soft economy, Disney's overall performance continues to be solid," said Michael D. Eisner, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company. "Our studio has added yet another quarter to a year of strong growth.
Barcelona-based Morphe Art Pictures, a short film distributor, has launched a campaign to license its shorts in the U.S. and Latin America. Morphe Art Pictures has agreements with such British animation institutions as The Royal College of Art, the National Film and TV School and the French animation studio Lardux Films. Other independent productions represented by the company are the Prix Arts nominee MOVING ILLUSTRATIONS OF MACHINES, as well as BAFTA New Talent Awards nominee THE LONELY WIDOW, REANIMACION and THE GIFT.
Electronic Arts announced its results for the first fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2001. Consolidated net revenues were US$182 million compared to $154.8 million for the same quarter last year, an increase of 18%. On an as-reported basis, consolidated net loss and diluted loss per share were $45.3 million and $0.33, respectively, compared to a net loss and diluted loss per share of 42.3 million and $0.33, respectively, in the same period of the prior year.
Activision, Inc. has announced record financial results for the first fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2001. Net revenues were US$110.6 million, 31% higher than last years net revenues of $84.6 million. Net income for the first fiscal quarter was $29,000 or a nominal amount per share, compared with a net loss of $5.2 million, or $0.21 loss per share, reported for the same period last year. The company also announced an increase in its fiscal year 2002 earnings per share forecast from $0.80 to $0.87.
Aardman Animation, Cartoon Network, Nelvana and the National Film and Television School, U.K. film and animation school, have formed the Animation Committee to discover and support European animation talent. The organization will review toon shorts quarterly. The best of those shorts will be aired on Britshorts.com. Some of those shorts will be selected for further development in film and television.
Entertainment Rights plc has announced the creation of their home video company Right Entertainment. Along with its recent US$22.5 million acquisition of Link, Right will enable Entertainment Rights to exploit its properties around the globe in all mediums. In turn, Entertainment Rights has signed an exclusive deal with Universal Pictures Video UK to release its properties on video.
Evans & Sutherland Computer Corp. has released its financial results for the second quarter ended June 29, 2001. Total sales for the quarter were US$48.1 million compared to $25.6 million for the second quarter of 2000. Net loss for the quarter was $5.1 million, or $.50 per share, compared to a net loss of $52.3 million, or $5.58 per share, in the prior year. For the six months ended June 29, 2001, sales totaled $87.7 million compared to $71.5 million for the same six months of 2000.
Santa Monica-based Zeros & Ones, a media holding company with digital convergence operations in technology, content and production, has announced that it has reached a final settlement agreement with Steve Schklair, former director and officer. The company filed an action against him in Los Angeles Superior Court in October 2000. Schklair was terminated earlier that same year by act of the board of directors.
As the mergers continue, Disney answers the AOL Time Warner and Viacom call and grows for the first time since the 1996 Capital Cities/ABC merger. On Saturday, July 21, 2001, the LA TIMES Sallie Hofmeister reported that the Walt Disney Co. will buy Fox Family for $3.3 billion plus assume $2.1 billion of the troubled ventures debt. Long in the rumor mill, this new acquisition is supposed to be final and announced within a few days according to Ms. Hofmeisters sources. Obviously the true value for Disney in this deal is obtaining the fifty international Fox Family channels.
Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. has announced profitable results of US$0.2 million in earnings before an extraordinary gain on net revenues of $38.6 million for its third fiscal quarter ended June 2, 2001. These profits were achieved before the gain of $7.1 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, from the early retirement of $13.9 million principal amount of the 10% convertible subordinated notes.
Tele Munchen Group (TMG) has made an offer to buy out CEO and co-founder Thomas Haffa's 43% share of EM.TV. The offer is reported at DM250 million (US$109 million). However, media giant Kirch Group reportedly has a first-look option for Haffa's stake after it bailed out the troubled company by purchasing a 25% stake this past spring. Former EM.TV exec Nickolaus Becker, who pushed a TMG bail out over Kirch, is shepherding TMG's proposal for Haffa's share. Currently, EM.TV holds a 45% stake in TMG, but it has to sell it in order to get regulatory approval for its alliance with Kirch.
San Francisco-based Western Images is restructuring to focus solely on visual effects, CGI, design direction and creative editorial services. Facility services, which include the linear edit suite, Henry, telecine and video service bureau, will be retired. In addition, the company will expand its efforts in long-form broadcast and feature film effects. As a result of the restructuring, five people were laid off. Four were related to fax work and the fifth was executive producer Ken Solomon. "Kenny (Solomon) worked very hard and was very good.
Film Roman has announced that it is stopping its live-action feature development division. Feature division president Mitchell Solomon and production VP David Jung have been let go and their responsibilities have been given to Film Roman president/CEO John Hyde and TV president Peter Schankowitz. This move marks Film Roman's desire to refocus on its core animation business. No word was given on how this decision will affect the live-action projects already in production including the adaptation of the TV series THE GREATEST AMERICAN HERO for Disney.
Mainframe Entertainment, Inc. has announced its best financial results ever. For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2001, the Vancouver-based company reported earnings of CA$2.4 million or $0.14 per share compared to $0.84 million or $0.05 per share for the year ended March 31, 2000. As expected, Mainframe delivered a total of 50 television episodes (27 episodes of HEAVY GEAR and 23 of ACTION MAN) as well as its first direct-to-video, CASPER'S HAUNTED CHRISTMAS. The firm recorded revenues of $39.9 million compared to revenues of $32 million for the previous year.