• Print advertising fell 13 percent in fiscal first half
  • Daily Mail online editions helped offset print decline

Daily Mail and General Trust Plc, publisher of Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper, had its biggest intraday decline in 10 months after reporting a drop in first-half profit because of weakening demand for print advertising.

The shares lost as much as 9.7 percent after the London-based company said Thursday print-ad revenue fell 13 percent in the six months through March. Operating profit for the period slipped to 138 million pounds ($203 million), while revenue fell 1 percent on an adjusted basis to 950 million pounds.

Readers shifting to news websites and social media has led to a raft of newspaper closures and job cuts in recent years. Chief Executive Officer Martin Morgan, who retires at the end of the month after 27 years with the company, said the declining ad market means that DMG Media, in which the Daily Mail and its freesheet Metro are housed, are now set to deliver an operating margin of around 10 percent for the year. The company had previously projected about 13 percent.

The Daily Mail’s online sites reported underlying revenue growth of 20 percent to 44 million pounds. Its U.K. and U.S. websites are among the most-read news sites in English.

The shares fell 7.7 percent to 687.5 pence at 9:19 a.m. in London.

Daily Mail & General Trust in April said it was exploring opportunities to partner with private-equity firms to bid for Yahoo! Inc. The Daily Mail was keen to take over Yahoo!’s media and news properties and the company said at the time discussions with potential partners were at a very early stage.

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