DMGT sells stake in radio group as profits fall 23%
LONDON - Daily Mail & General Trust, publisher of the Daily Mail, has sold a 50% stake in its Australian radio operations, DMG Radio Australia, to Lachlan Murdoch, eldest son of media baron Rupert Murdoch.
Northcliffe House: DMGT's London office
No financial details of the deal have been disclosed. Lachlan Murdoch will become chairman of the radio group, replacing Peter Williams, finance director of DMGT. DMG Radio Australia holds nine radio licences in Australian cities, including Vega FM.
The sell-off comes as DMGT reported a 23% slump in pre-tax profits in the year to 4 October, as it felt the impact of restructuring costs across its newspaper businesses.
Pre-tax profits fell from £262m to £201m, while revenues dipped from £2.3bn to £2.12bn.
DMGT's flagship newspaper brand, the Daily Mail, continued to defy the difficult economic climate and recorded the second-highest profit in its history, the group said.
The group's regional and national newspaper arm, which publishes around 100 titles, reduced its headcount by more than 1,600 in the period. The restructure, which excludes job losses from the group's 75% sale of the London Evening Standard to Alexander Lebedev, prompted the group to make a £10m charge to the business.
Revenue at its national newspaper arm fell 11% on the year from £988m to £876m. Circulation revenues were down 2% to £366m. The group said its move away from offering free DVDs and CDs had adversely impacted on sales of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday.
Total advertising revenue fell 15% to £350m, though retail advertising, the group's largest category, outperformed other sectors.
The group's now-defunct free title, London Lite, which closed earlier this month, traded in line with last year, with advertising down 4% on the year, the group revealed.
Revnue at DMGT's regional arm, Northcliffe Media, fell 22% to £328m, with operating profit slumping 65% to £24m.
This article was first published on mediaweek.co.uk
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