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Bertelsmann First-Quarter Operating Profit Rises on Lower Costs

May 16 (Bloomberg) -- Bertelsmann SE, Europe’s biggest media company, said first-quarter operating profit grew as the company trimmed costs and took full control of its BMG music-rights business.

Operating earnings before interest and taxes from continuing operations rose 8.6 percent to 303 million euros ($390 million) in the three months ended in March, the Guetersloh, Germany-based company said in a statement today. Revenue slipped less than 1 percent to 3.63 billion euros.

Bertelsmann sold shares last month in broadcaster RTL Group SA for 1.4 billion euros to help finance further acquisitions as it plans to expand outside of traditional print and television media channels and become less reliant on Europe. A few weeks earlier, the Germany company acquired full ownership of BMG Rights by buying a 51 percent stake from partner KKR & Co.

“In a challenging market environment, our businesses again expanded their high profitability over the past few months,” Chief Executive Officer Thomas Rabe said in the statement.

The company’s Random House publishing unit agreed in October to merge with Pearson Plc’s Penguin division to create the largest book publisher in the U.K. and the U.S. Bertelsmann, founded in 1835, is controlled by the Mohn family, whose member Christoph Mohn became chairman of the supervisory board this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cornelius Rahn in Berlin at crahn2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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