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Pearson sees record sales but profit drops

Net-related spending climbed from $57 mil to $333 mil

LONDON — Media group Pearson has posted a 17% drop in pre-tax profits, the result of heavy investment in new media.

For the year ended Dec. 31, the conglom, one of the shareholders in Channel 5 parent RTL Group, said pre-tax profits were £333 million ($489.5 million) on sales of $5.69 billion, up 16% — marking record growth.

Internet-related spending climbed from $57 million to $333 million in the year. Pearson said that it is cutting back on its outlay and added that its Web businesses were on track to break even by the end of 2002.

TV sales were $272 million to July 25, when Pearson Television was merged with CLT/Ufa to become RTL Group. TV operating profit for the same period was $100 million.

RTL, in which Pearson holds a 22% stake, will report its results March 21.

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