Rovi Shares -38.7% After A Bleak Forecast And CEO Succession Dithering

It was a dreary day for the markets — but few were hit as hard as the digital entertainment technology company Rovi, formerly known as Macrovision. It told investors on a conference call last night that its analog copy-protection business is nearly kaput, and there’s been a steep decline in sales of consumer software such as its Roxio DVD burning product. Also, consumer electronics companies are just lukewarm on Rovi’s TotalGuide on-screen TV programming guide. Making things worse are the weakening global economy — it will “persist as a challenge for the CE industry throughout 2012” says CFO James Budge — and floods in Thailand that interrupted production of hard drives. That adds up to a financial forecast below most expectations. Who’ll lead Rovi out of the mess? Analysts thought they’d know by now; CEO Fred Amoroso said in May that he plans to leave this June. The company says it’s still making up its mind and should have a decision by January. But lots of investors are fed up and several analysts downgraded Rovi stock. The “uncertainty due to a lack of clarity on CEO transition and transparency for underlying business trends make the stock hard to defend at this juncture,” says Brean Murray Carret analyst Todd Mitchell, who dropped Rovi to “hold” from “buy.”

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