Disney earnings fall partly due to 'Millionaire' lawsuit charges

Walt Disney Co. reported a 6% drop in first-quarter earnings, compared with a year ago, in part because of charges associated with its high-profile dispute with the creator of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" and a decline in operating income at the film studio.

The Burbank entertainment giant reported net income of $1.4 billion, or 77 cents a share, for the quarter ending Dec. 29, down from $1.5 billion over the same period in 2011.

Revenue for the first quarter rose 5% to $11.3 billion.

Quarterly results were dragged down by $321 million in charges related to legal dispute with the producer of the popular ABC game show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire."  A federal jury in 2010 ordered Disney to pay Celador International, the British company that created the game show, $269.4 million in damages over its accounting practices, along with $50 million in pre-judgment interest.

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-- Dawn C. Chmielewski, Los Angeles Times


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