- The Washington Times - Monday, June 11, 2012

LOS ANGELES — Conservative talk show host Glenn Beck has signed a five-year, $100 million contract to continue his morning radio show with syndicator Premiere Networks Inc.

The details were confirmed Monday by a person with direct knowledge of the deal. The person was not authorized to speak publicly about the deal and requested anonymity.

The contract was earlier reported by the New York Times.

It marks a big pay bump for Mr. Beck. His last contract with the Clear Channel subsidiary was reportedly for $10 million a year in 2007.

The Glenn Beck Program is the nation’s third-highest rated radio show behind The Rush Limbaugh Show and The Sean Hannity Show. Those two shows are also syndicated by Premiere.

Over the past five years, Mr. Beck’s audience has grown nearly 50 percent and the number of stations carrying his show has doubled to more than 400.

Forbes magazine estimates that Mr. Beck, 48, makes $80 million a year. He parted ways with Fox News Channel last year after his TV show’s audience size shrank and advertisers staged a boycott following his comment that President Obama had “a deep-seated hatred for white people.

NEW YORK

City pension funds sue Wal-Mart execs

NEW YORK — A group of New York City pension funds is suing current and former Wal-Mart executives, saying they mishandled an alleged bribery scheme at the world’s largest retailer.

The group filed a lawsuit Monday on behalf of the company itself against the executives.

The goal in such cases, known as “derivative actions,” is not to reap big financial rewards but to change the way a company is run. The funds own 5.6 million shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

This is the latest of at least a dozen such lawsuits filed against Wal-Mart since the New York Times reported in late April that Wal-Mart’s Mexican unit allegedly paid millions of dollars in bribes to win favors.

The Times said executives didn’t notify authorities even after Wal-Mart found evidence of the scheme.

MOVIES

Sony triples down on Hasbro plan with ‘Tonka’

LOS ANGELES — The battering of “Battleship” at the box office hasn’t scared Sony away from Hasbro toys.

The studio is tripling down on its strategy of making movies based on playthings. On Monday, it announced it would make a movie called “Tonka” based on the 65-year-old Tonka truck line of toys.

Sony is also developing movies based on Hasbro Inc. board games “Risk” and “Candy Land.”

“Tonka” will be an animated movie co-produced by Sony Corp.’s Sony Pictures, Hasbro and Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions.

Universal Pictures’ “Battleship,” based on the Hasbro hunt-and-destroy board game, crashed on its U.S. debut May 18, coming second in a weekend dominated by “The Avengers” in its third weekend of release.

FRANCE

Court OKs Eurotunnel takeover of SeaFrance ships

LILLE — A Paris commercial court Monday approved the purchase by Eurotunnel, the operator of the channel tunnel between Britain and France, of three ships belonging to bankrupt ferry firm SeaFrance.

The $82 million deal will see Eurotunnel rent the ships to a workers’ cooperative of ex-SeaFrance employees, SeaFrance SCOP, that will allow the ferries to continue operating and save 560 jobs.

“The court was favorable to the selection of Eurotunnel to take over the assets of SeaFrance,” Stephane Gorrias, a court attorney appointed to handle the company’s bankruptcy, told Agence France-Presse.

“This decision seems positive because it allows for operations to continue under the French flag and to create the conditions for significant long-term local employment.”

SeaFrance, which employed 880 people in France and 130 in Britain, owned three of the four ships it ran across the English Channel before a French court ordered it closed in January amid liquidation proceedings.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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