DOJ smacks Gemstar with $5.6M fine

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Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc. agreed to pay a record $5.6 million fine
for working too closely with TV Guide Inc. before actually completing its
takeover of that company three years ago.

The fine is the largest ever collected for "gun-jumping" in a merger.

The Department of Justice said Gemstar and TV Guide fixed prices, divvied up
interactive-TV customers and violated waiting periods.

Gemstar bought TV Guide largely to combine their electronic cable-program
guides.

The DOJ charged that the two companies stopped competing for customers in
June 1999 while negotiating a joint venture -- talks that turned into a merger.
The companies then secretly agreed to divide up markets, share customers and set
prices.

Gemstar-TV Guide faces a separate Securities and Exchange Commission
investigation over its accounting practices.

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