Berlusconi's Mediaset Slumps Amid Higher Than Expected Net Loss

  • TV broadcaster posted quarterly advertising sales increase
  • Mediaset expects full-year net income after quarterly loss

Mediaset SpA had its biggest intraday drop in almost 18 months after the broadcaster controlled by former premier Silvio Berlusconi reported a wider quarterly net loss higher than analysts estimated.

The Milan-based company said late Tuesday that its third-quarter net loss was 60.1 million euros ($65 million). That missed an average analysts’ estimate of 51 million euros. Mediaset fell as much as 8.7 percent to 4.31 euros, the largest intraday drop since May 15, 2014.

Barclays on Wednesday reiterated its underweight rating on the stock and cut its earnings-per-share estimates on Italy’s largest commercial broadcaster.

Mediaset’s revenue totaled 693.3 million euros, in line with analysts’ estimate of 689 million euros. The company forecast full-year net income. Matteo Cardani, deputy head of marketing for Mediaset’s advertising unit Publitalia ’80, said on a call with analysts that the company expects “single-digit” growth in advertising in the fourth quarter.

Mediaset is cutting costs while boosting spending on programs to lure customers to its pay-TV offering. The broadcaster in July bought three-year Italian TV rights for the Super Bowl and reached non-exclusive deals with phone carriers such as Telecom Italia SpA to put more of its programs on mobile devices.

Italian television ad sales declined 1.6 percent to 2.54 billion euros in the first nine months of the year, according to market research firm Nielsen.

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