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Markets News

UPDATE 1-ProSieben returns to profit in Q3, reinstates guidance

(Adds detail on results, merger speculation, 2020 outlook)

BERLIN, Nov 5 (Reuters) - German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Media returned to profit in the third quarter as it recovered from a pandemic-induced hit in the spring, and reinstated its guidance for the full year.

The Munich broadcaster, being restructured by CEO Rainer Beaujean under the gaze of potential acquirers, reported adjusted net profit of 29 million euros ($34 million), down 36% year-on-year but up from a second-quarter loss of 52 million.

Adjusted core profit was ahead by 13% year-on-year as advertising recovered, cost cuts kicked in and the group’s e-commerce portfolio expanded.

“We are very satisfied with our development in the third quarter,” Beaujean said in a statement.

“As an early-cyclical company, we were now able to benefit from the economic recovery in the summer, following the difficult first half of the year, and have seen an upward trend in the advertising market.”

Reported revenue was down 1% at 921 million euros, and lower by 4% on an organic basis in the quarter. Both the top line and adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) exceeded analyst expectations.

Beaujean is under pressure to stage a turnaround at ProSieben against the backdrop of a standing offer from Italy’s Mediaset, which owns a one-quarter stake, to cooperate more closely. KKR and Czech investor Daniel Kretinsky have also built stakes, fueling persistent takeover speculation.

Reinstating its guidance after having suspended it in the spring, ProSieben forecast group revenue of 3.85-3.95 billion euros this year, down from 4.13 billion euros in 2019. It sees adjusted EBITDA at 600-650 million euros, down from last year’s 872 million euros. ($1 = 0.8520 euros) (Reporting by Douglas Busvine Editing by Michelle Adair)

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