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Category: Business

Headline News Time Warner Reaps In Record Income

Time Warner Inc. reported operating income before amortization of intangible assets (EBITA) of US$1.17 billion on revenues of $6.55 billion for the first quarter of 2000. In the first quarter of 1999, EBITA was $1.24 billion on revenues of $6.09 billion. EBITA grew 13% for the first quarter when normalized for certain items described below affecting the comparability of operating results. Revenue grew 8% for the quarter on a normalized basis.

Headline News Nelvana Nabs Klutz Publishing

On Wednesday, April 12, 2000, Nelvana Limited announced it has acquired privately held Klutz, one of the leading branded children's book publishers in the U.S., for US$74 million. The Toronto-based company plans to integrate Klutz into Nelvana's Branded Consumer Products business, which includes established operations in publishing and merchandise licensing. Under the terms of the agreement, Nelvana will acquire 100% of the stock of Klutz.

Headline News Stan Lee Creating Batman & Superman Comics

An event has happened that comic book fans have been debating over late night games of Dungeons and Dragons for decades -- What would Batman be like if Stan Lee created him? DC Comics announced the teaming of living legend Stan Lee, the co-creator of Spider-man, the Hulk and the X-Men and founder of Stan Lee Media, with longstanding rival DC Comics to present Lee's alternative interpretation of such super-heroes as Batman and Superman.

Headline News Stan Lee Developing Web-based Animation Software

Stan Lee Media, Inc. (SLM) announced a strategic alliance with Canadian-based Toon Boom Technologies for the development of Web-based animation software, which SLM will utilize in constructing its episodic Web comics. Jamie Wilkinson, executive vice president, Internet strategy for SLM, will oversee Beta testing in late summer/early fall 2000, to take place in Montreal and at a number of animation houses throughout the world. Pentafour Software & Exports Ltd., a leading developer of 2D/3D graphics and animation, special effects and software, will also participate in the project.

Headline News PuppetTime & Prosoft Partner On Web-3D Software

PuppetTime, Inc. and Prosoft Engineering, Inc. announced a strategic development partnership that will provide PuppetTime with access to Prosoft's engineering resources to accelerate the development of PuppetTime's patent pending Web 3D storytelling technologies.

Headline News TV Loonland, Alliance Add Joint Ventures

Canadian-based TV and film company Alliance Atlantis Communications and Munich-based kids producer TV Loonland have joined to create animated joint ventures. The German producer will supply CA$110 million (US$ 76 million) over the next three years to co-create up to nine new children's series. As part of the deal, TV Loonland will hold all European rights, while Alliance will control the remaining worldwide rights. For an additional $14 million, TV Loonland has acquired European rights to Alliance's portfolio which includes YVON OF THE YUKON.

Headline News Harvey To Rep Film Roman Overseas

Film Roman Inc. and The Harvey Entertainment Company announced an agreement whereby The Harvey Entertainment Company will serve as Film Roman's international sales representative. As part of the deal, Harvey will handle sales and distribution of the Film Roman library beginning at MIP and will manage all servicing and collections for Film Roman. Jon Vein, Executive Vice President of Film Roman said, "Our companies both share the belief that independents need to combine their sales and distribution efforts in order to successfully compete internationally.

Headline News 3Dlabs Lands Intense3D Software Deal

3Dlabs, Inc. Ltd., a high-end 3D graphics tool creator, announced that it has acquired the assets of the Intense3D operations of Intergraph Corporation. The stock transaction is expected to add to earnings on a goodwill (EBG) basis from the third quarter of 2000 onwards. Under the terms of the agreement, 3Dlabs will issue up to US$3.69 million common shares of 3Dlabs to Intergraph as initial consideration for the acquired assets and goodwill, with an earn-out provision totaling up to an additional $25 million, payable in stock and/or cash.

Headline News CINAR Documents Seized

Fraud troubles for CINAR Corp. increased as RCMP agents seized four boxes of the ARTHUR TV-series producers' tax documents. With a warrant in hand, a joint team from the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) and provincial police searched the Old Montreal offices of the Société de développement des entreprises culturelles (Sodec) on the morning of Thursday, April 6, 2000. The search was part of an ongoing investigation launched by the RCMP on October 19, 1999 [AF 10/19/99] after a Bloc Québécois MP made tax fraud allegations in the House of Commons.

Headline News Disney Teams With Gemstar Against AOL/Time Warner

On Wednesday, March 29, 2000, Disney lobbyists helped deliver Gemstar's FCC complaint against the America On-Line and Time Warner merger to members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Gemstar has agreements with TV stations in every market in the U.S., which allows the company to engrave program information into broadcast signals. VCRs equipped with Gemstar's VCR-Plus technology can then decode the signal, making it easier for users to record TV programming.

Headline News CINAR Suspends Globe-X Lawsuit

Montreal-based CINAR Corp. has come to an interim deal with Globe-X Management, which halts the pending lawsuit against the investment firm. The agreement allows CINAR Corp. to look into investments made, without board approval, in Globe-X Management's affiliate Globe-X Canadiana. However, the deal does not finalizes the terms in which CINAR will be able to recover the nearly US$76 million invested in Globe-X. The lawsuit was filed on Monday, March 20, in an attempt to recover the funds, which were signed by former co-CEO Ronald Weinberg and senior executive VP Hasanain Panju.

Headline News Entertaindom Employees Angry Over AOL

With the AOL merger coming near, Warner Bros.' Entertaindom.com employees are threatening walkouts and blackouts of the site. Reuters reported that staffers are angry with parent company Time Warner's lack of interest in Entertaindom as the America On-line deal is coming to a close. Hopes of Internet-made millionaires at the fledgling entertainment site were dashed when Time Warner called off the planned spin-off of Entertaindom as a public stock. In addition, the amount of previously agreed-upon Time Warner stock that Entertaindom employees will receive continues to drop.

Headline News Nelvana Enters The Net Game

Nelvana Limited has announced the introduction of Nelvana New Media, a new division that will focus on developing new applications, products and delivery channels for Nelvana's valuable character library. The new branch will create a children's Web entertainment site and interactive games based upon their characters for both CD-Rom and Internet distribution. "Nelvana New Media is an initiative that solidifies the future success of the Company," added Michael Hirsh, Nelvana Limited's co-chief executive officer.

Headline News Macromedia Ventures Into A New Division

On March 21, 2000, Macromedia, Inc. announced the formation of a venture unit to invest in companies that share Macromedia's vision of Web infrastructure and the interactive, multi-device, broadband Internet of the future. The unit's first investments include Spiderdance, Context Media and iHarvest Corporation. Spiderdance, with branches in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New Jersey, develops a software system that synchs the Web with TV broadcasts.

Headline News CINAR Co-Founder Signed For Investment

On Tuesday, March 21, 2000, CINAR Corp. announced that co-founder, Ron Weinberg, and former controller, Mario Ricci, signed documents approving the company's non-board-approved investments. CINAR's spokeswoman, Suzan Ayscough, said, "The documents in question were signed either by Ron Weinberg alone, or by Mr. Weinberg and Mr. Panju or by Mr. Ricci." Previously, CINAR reported that their now fired senior executive VP Panju acted alone in investing the money.

Headline News CINAR Strikes Back With Lawsuit

After allegations of fraud, misallocated funds, shareholder lawsuits, executive shuffling, plummeting stock prices and subsidy suspension, CINAR Corp. said Monday, March 20, 2000 that it had filed a law suit against several companies believed to be connected with the US$122 million in unauthorized investments.

Headline News CINAR's Stock Stops Trading

In the midst of an on-going legal scandal and the departure of its head execs, CINAR Corp.'s stock plummeted CA$18.65 (US$12.86) to CA$8.35 on the Toronto Stock Exchange Tuesday, March 7, 2000. In addition, the stock fell 12-5/8 to a new 12-month low of 5-3/4 on the Nasdaq. Volume was more than 18 million shares on the Nasdaq, far more than usual for the often thinly traded stock. The stock continued to crumble on Wednesday, March 8, 2000 falling nearly 75% off its initial worth at the beginning of the trading week. In turn, the stock was not traded at all on Thursday, March 9, 2000.

Headline News Cartoon Net Lands Looney Toons Plus 4 New Shows

In a meeting with key advertisers, Cartoon Network executives unveiled their business plan for the 2000-2001 television season, including upcoming original series, program acquisitions, which includes the exclusive Looney Toons rights, and comprehensive on-line initiatives. Cartoon Network will produce four original half-hour animated series through 2001, including SHEEP IN THE BIG CITY. This, their ninth original show, will premiere with 13 half-hour episodes in fall 2000.

Headline News Mickey Fears AOL/Warner Mega-Merger

On Thursday, March 2, 2000, South Carolina's Democratic Senator Ernest

Hollings of the Senate Commerce Committee told Time Warner CEO Gerald Levin

and AOL chairman Steve Case that the "Disney people are afraid to come

testify" about their concerns regarding the proposed merger of the two

companies. Hollings told Levin and Case, who were in Washington D.C.

testifying about their merger, that Disney is concerned that Time Warner

will retaliate against the company by relegating its cable networks to

Headline News 3Dlabs Grows German Office

3Dlabs, Inc., a professional graphics firm, has expanded its presence in

Europe with a new office near Frankfurt, Germany. 3Dlabs plans to use the

new branch as a base for expanding its market coverage in Central Europe,

one of the largest markets for its workstation graphics products. In turn,

3Dlabs announced the appointment of Frank Losch as country manager. Mr.

Losch brings many years of marketing and sales expertise to the new

position. "The ability to increase market penetration of Oxygen workstation

Headline News DEN Plays With $24M In Financing

The big kids at Digital Entertainment Network (DEN), a Gen-Y geared on-line

programmer, have received much-needed play money to the sum of US$24

million. The new round of financing includes investments from NBC, Chase

Capital Partners, Enron Broadband Services Inc. and Intel, among others.

Missing from this round of financing is former Warner Bros. chairman, Terry

Semel. However sources say he has separately invested $2 million in the

company. Santa Monica-based DEN has also restructured its management team,

Headline News Shareholders File Lawsuit Against CINAR

On Wednesday, February 23, 2000, CINAR Corp., the creator of the Emmy

Award-winning ARTHUR, had a lawsuit filed against the company alleging they

artificially inflated its financial results by lying about the use of

Canadian tax credits. As reported [AF 10/19/99], allegations surfaced last

fall that CINAR only pretended to use Canadian authors for its scripts in

order to obtain tax credits. Canadian officials are investigating but no

charges have been filed. The early rumors sent CINAR stock plummeting to

Headline News EA Acquires DreamWorks Interactive

Electronic Arts, one of the world's largest interactive entertainment

software companies, announced the acquisition of multimedia developer

DreamWorks Interactive, LLC. In terms of the deal, DreamWorks Interactive

will become a complete subsidiary of Electronic Arts. Financial terms were

not disclosed. Formed in March 1995 as a joint venture between Microsoft

and DreamWorks SKG, DreamWorks Interactive has produced such PlayStation

titles as LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK and MEDAL OF HONOR. Steven Spielberg,

Headline News Disney's Go A Sleeping Giant

On Tuesday, February 22, 2000, Disney chairman-CEO Michael Eisner made the

announcement: "With Go.com, I believe we are now the sleeping giant of the

Internet. Once streaming video is commonplace," he added, "Disney is ready

with a vast library and the ability to create new content." Added Go.com

chairman Steve Bornstein: "I see a time, in the next few years, or even

sooner, where nobody will talk about television or the Internet separately.

They will become one synergistic, fused media." In scheduled business,

Headline News German EM.TV Acquires The Muppets

By Rick DeMott | Wednesday, February 23, 2000 at 12:00am

Munich-based EM.TV & Merchandising has acquired the Jim Henson Co. in a

cash and stock transaction valued at US$680 million. The German company now

owns the rights to the Muppets and Sesame Street characters. The purchase

gives EM.TV "some of the most powerful and enduring kids and family brands

worldwide and. . . access to the world's biggest and most important media

market," said Thomas Haffa, EM.TV CEO. "In addition, our investment in

Henson will give us a position in cable networks, which will open up new

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