By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
EL SEGUNDO, CALIF.— Hughes Electronics has changed its name to The DirecTV Group, and its ticker symbol on the New York Stock Exchange to DTV from HS. As a primary reason for the switch, Hughes said its future most involves DirecTV, which is expected to drive both strategy and shareholder value, and better reflects its commitment to building its business around the satellite-television provider. Other Hughes business segments — namely DirecTV, Hughes Network Systems, DirecTV Latin America and PanAmSat — will remain units of The DirecTV Group. Also, a new corporate logo is in the works, and the Hughes Web site's URL has been changed to www.directv.com. In other news, the DirecTV Group, owner of about 9 million shares of XM Satellite Radio Holdings, has priced a public offering for all of its remaining holdings of XM shares at a value of about $230 million.
SECAUCUS, N.J.— Panasonic and the New York Mets baseball club have concluded an agreement for specific advertising rights, giving the consumer electronics maker the right to advertise D-Snap products and the Lumix line of digital cameras in Shea Stadium during the current baseball season. Panasonic also will sponsor a Lucky Fan giveaway promotion at the ballpark during each Mets home game. Winners will receive a D-Snap SD video camera.
WASHINGTON— XM Satellite Radio Holdings plans to redeem $50 million in principal amount of its 12 percent Senior Secured Notes, due in 2010. The redemption will be accomplished using proceeds of an equity offering completed in January, and follows the successful elimination of $135 million in debt earlier last month. XM previously said the proceeds of its January equity offering would be used to retire this indebtedness. The principal amount of the notes will be redeemed by XM late in April. As of last December, there was $185 million in principal amount of the notes outstanding.
NEW YORK— Sirius Satellite Radio said that $50 million in principal amount of its 2.5 percent convertible notes, due 2009, have been sold to Morgan Stanley. The notes were purchased based upon the option granted to Morgan Stanley in connection with Sirius' offering of $250 million of the notes. Notes are convertible to Sirius stock. Sirius plans to use net proceeds for general corporate purposes.
MILPITAS, CALIF.— Handheld computer maker palmOne has initiated a second phase of an integration process started when the company acquired Handspring last October. Currently, it is re-balancing investment levels in its handheld computer and smartphone product families, and reducing its workforce by about 100 people. The reduction affects positions across most functions, streamlining the company as part of a plan to achieve growth and profitability in fiscal 2005.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.