Thomson Gets Brief Boost From Bail-out Talks

Thomson got a slight boost this week on the Paris Stock Exchange from news that the French government might take a stake in the company. Thomson, owner of the Grass Valley line of television gear, is taking a hammering in the economic downturn. The French company’s ADRs on the New York Stock Exchange have dropped from a 52-week high of more than $13 to less than $2. News of renewed bail-out talks with the French government sent the stock up by around 20 percent, from around $1.50 to briefly above $2 in Monday and Tuesday trading. The glee had somewhat cooled this morning to the $1.70 range.

Speculation about the government pumping Thomson up circulated in December, when a French newspaper reported the company was being considered for a piece of France’s $27 billion bail-out fund, the Fonds Strategique d'Investissement. Reuters reported Monday the negotiations were on again, but no specifics had been naile down.

Thomson has been throwing off businesses in an effort to staunch its losses, which soared to $243 million on revenues of nearly $2.9 billion for quarter ending last June 30. Sale of its film division was completed last month. It shut down its North American retail telephone business the previous month. More strategic moves are expected to be announced before the end of the month.