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Boylan Resigns From Roiling Gemstar

It was a week Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. executives would probably like to forget.

Last Monday, the company announced that co-president Peter Boylan will resign on April 1. That news came on the same day that Gemstar reported solid first-quarter earnings, but warned Wall Street that licensing and technology revenues are expected to drop 50 percent this year, as a result of a drop in one-time license fees from set-top makers.

During a conference call with analysts last Monday, Gemstar CEO Henry Yuen expressed optimism that an initial determination in the company's International Trade Commission suit against EchoStar Communications Corp., Pioneer Electronics Corp. and Scientific Atlanta Inc. — expected last Thursday — would bode well for his company.

But on Tuesday, the ITC administrative law judge overseeing the case delayed the release of his decision until June 21.

Investors pummeled Gemstar on a combination of conservative guidance for 2002, Boylan's resignation and the ITC delay. Gemstar, which had closed at $21.73 on March 18, dropped below $16 by Friday — hitting a 12-month low.

Boylan has led Gemstar's sales talks with MSOs with respect to interactive programming guides, signing more than 135 long-term deals since the Gemstar-TV Guide merger. Those include pacts with Charter Communications Inc., Comcast Corp. and Adelphia Communications Corp.

Yuen promoted Mark Allen to executive vice president of technology licensing, and he'll oversee sales of TV Guide Interactive.

He also promoted Jonathan Orlick to executive vice president and general counsel.

Boylan said he wants to spend more time with his family, but he may end up in cable. Boylan was close to Liberty Media Corp. leaders John Malone and Dob Bennett when he ran United Video Satellite Group, and Liberty may be a possibility.

"I wouldn't be surprised if I end up doing something in this industry, and if I stay in the industry, they [Liberty] are people that I really enjoyed working with," Boylan said.

Banc of America Securities analyst Michael Benevento said the ITC delay creates more uncertainty, but he maintained his buy rating on Gemstar stock, with a $38 target.