Distributor and magazine publisher Source Interlink Wednesday reported an operating loss of $243 million through the first nine months of fiscal 2009, down more than 640 percent from an income of $44.9 million during the same period last year. For the fiscal third quarter, the company reported an operating loss of $6.5 million, down 122 percent from an income of $29.5 million last year.Through the first nine months, Source’s media group reported a loss of $234.5 million, down 1,607 percent from the same period last year. The periodicals fulfillment portion of Source’s distribution group reported a $900,000 net loss, down 103.8 percent. Income in the DVD/CD portion of its business was down 52.8 percent to $29.6 million.Year-to-date, EBITDA was $133.1 million, up from $82.4 million during the same period last year. The company carries $1.4 billion in debt.During a conference call, recently-appointed CEO Greg Mays said Source needs to better streamline its operations—especially back office functions like accounting, IT and general administrative—following the company’s acquisitions over the last several years, including the 2007 acquisition of Primedia’s Enthusiast Media in a stock purchase of approximately $1.2 billion. “While the company might have realized most of the model synergies, in my view the real management and cost structure integration has not occurred,” Mays said. “There’s a real opportunity for us to become much more administratively effective and operationally stronger while lowering costs.” Source saved approximately $11 million by eliminating about 300 full-time and 100 part-time employees, or about 8 percent of the company’s overall workforce, CFO Marc Fierman said during the call. The company expects to realize about $27 million in savings due to the layoffs in fiscal 2010, he said.Other cost cutting initiatives included integrating its distribution and sales operations (for which it incurred $23.9 million in expenses) and consolidated eight magazines into other titles, bringing the number of Source magazines to 69.Mays and Fierman also noted that Source, through its subsidiary distributor Alliance Entertainment, is owed money by Circuit City—reportedly almost $16 million—which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month.As of market close Wednesday, Source’s stock was trading at $0.1895, up from its 52-week low of $0.13 earlier this month. In August 2007, when Source acquired the Primedia Enthusiast Group, its stock was upwards of $4 per share. A year earlier, it was well above $10 per share.
German insurer Allianz is looking to sell a $5 billion portfolio of life insurance policies in Italy, sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.Europe’s biggest insurer has picked Goldman Sachs to run the sale of the closed life policies, which no longer accept new business but remain on an insurer’s books as premium paying policies, the sources said.Allianz, which ranks as Italy’s fourth biggest life and health insurer, is facing pressures from rock-bottom interest rates and has decided to sell a series of Italian life policies which pay a 2 percent minimum interest rate, they said.The portfolio — worth around 4.5 billion euros ($5.09 billion) — has drawn interest from London-based private equity house Cinven, the sources said, adding that no deal was certain.U.S. private equity fund Apollo, which initially expressed interest in Allianz’ closed-book, has now walked away from the negotiations, they said.The deal could be worth around 200 million euros, two of the sources said.Allianz and Cinven declined to comment. Spokesmen at Goldman Sachs and Apollo were not immediately available for comment.Last year, Allianz said it was planning to divest chunks of its multi-billion euro portfolio of old insurance policies in international markets while refocusing on its domestic assets.The German company’s decision to sell parts of its Italian life business comes amid a wave of consolidation in the life and pensions sector. Last year, rival Aviva clinched a 5.6 billion pounds ($8.05 billion) purchase of Friends Life, which had a strong focus on closed life books.New European capital rules make it more capital-intensive for insurers to hold closed life insurance business on their books, encouraging consolidation.Cinven has been on the prowl for insurance assets since the creation of an acquisition vehicle in 2014, known as Heidelberger Leben Group, which was launched in partnership with Hannover Re after their joint purchase of Skandia Germany and Skandia Austria, part of Old Mutual.In September, Cinven sold Britain’s Guardian Financial Services to Admin Re, part of reinsurance giant Swiss Re, for 1.6 billion pounds.Deutsche Bank is now considering strategic options for its British insurance unit Abbey Life, with Phoenix Group Holdings, Britain’s largest consolidator of closed life funds, seen as one of its suitors.
Mulfatganj Bazar of Shariatpur’s Naria upazila is disappearing due to violent erosion of Padma river in recent weeks. Photo: Sajid HossainThe government on Wednesday approved a proposal to award a contract to Bangladesh Navy-run Khulna Shipyard to protect the Zajira and Naria upazilas of Shariatpur from river erosion at a cost of Tk 10.77 billion, reports UNB.The cabinet committee on economic affairs at a meeting, with finance minister AMA Muhith in the chair, gave go-ahead to the proposal placed by water resources ministry.Briefing newsmen the cabinet division additional secretary Nasima Begum said under the proposal, the Khulna Shipyard will implement project of the Water Development Board to protect 8.90 km of riverbank of Padma at Zajira and Naria upazilas.The contract work includes 9.75 km dredging, 0.089 km end-termination and construction of 8 RCC concrete ferry terminals.The cabinet body’s approval came at a time when thousands have been rendered homeless in scourge of Padma erosion in Shariatpur’s two upazilas over the past three months.
Qatar-based broadcaster Al-Jazeera said the Twitter account for its main Arabic-language channel was temporarily “suspended” on Saturday, in the latest incident at the station.A spokesman for the channel said the cut may have been due to a technical problem and that all Twitter accounts affected were back online.”Most of our Arabic accounts were blocked, but they are now up-and-running,” the spokesman told AFP, adding that it may take several hours for them to be fully restored.An investigation was taking place to determine the cause, and technical teams from the broadcaster were trying to coordinate with Twitter.Al-Jazeera’s main Arabic language account has almost 12 million followers.The station’s English-language account was unaffected.The announcement that the online accounts were back came around an hour after first reports that some of Al-Jazeera’s Twitter accounts had been blocked.”The main Al-Jazeera Twitter account has been suspended, and work is ongoing to solve the problem,” Yasser Abuhilalah, managing director of Al-Jazeera Arabic, tweeted.”Disruption [by others] will not stop because the truth terrifies them. We’ll be back.”In another tweet, he said no other “channel in the world… faces the same amount of conspiracy”.The incident came at a time of diplomatic crisis between Qatar and neighbouring Gulf countries.All diplomatic ties with Doha were cut on 5 June by several countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates, which accuse Qatar of supporting and funding Islamic terrorist groups.Qatar strongly denies the charge and claims those countries which have cut links are trying to change Doha’s foreign policy.The television channel has long been a target for criticism by other Middle East countries, with Al-Jazeera banned on several occasions.Earlier this month, Al-Jazeera said it was combating a large-scale cyber attack.
WASHINGTON — The entertainment industry in recent years has taken aim at a new front in piracy — so-called Kodi boxes, which sell legally but come loaded with infringing content.Now a group is warning that consumers risk serious attacks from malware for accessing the pirated material.The Digital Citizens Alliance, a non-profit focused on issues of internet safety, issued a study on Thursday that showed that malware from the apps stole usernames and passwords. The organization has received funding from the Motion Picture Association of America in recent years.The study, “Fishing in the Piracy Stream: How the Dark Web of Entertainment Is Exposing Consumers to Harm,” focused on devices, known as Kodi boxes or “jailbroken” Fire TV sticks, that resemble Roku or Apple TV boxes yet offer apps that include pirated movies or live sports broadcasts. Popular on Variety ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15 “If apps on the box or that are later downloaded have malware, the user has helped the hacker past network security,” according to the study. “Like a trojan horse, the pirate apps are welcomed into the consumer’s home because they purport to offer the gift of free content, only to use their position inside the walls to launch an attack.” According to the group, researchers conducted 500 hours of tests.One researcher downloaded an ad-supported movie and sports app Mobdro, and it contained malware that forwarded a user’s wifi name and password to a server that appeared to be in Indonesia, according to the study. In another instance, malware uploaded, “without permission, 1.5 terabytes of data from the researcher’s device.” Researchers also found piracy apps supported by advertisers, including Amazon and MiniCooper.The study was done along with cybersecurity company Dark Wolfe Consulting. The Canadian cybersecurity firm Sandvine found that almost 10% of the homes in North America are using Kodi devices, which is about in line with some other estimates. A Digital Citizens Alliance survey of 2,073 Americans found that 13% had a device that enabled the streaming of pirated content. “We know streaming is growing, and we also know that pirates and hackers go to where the money is. They use advertising and malware,” said Tom Galvin, the executive director of the group.