Pearson warns of lower profits

Media group blames Sept. 11 attack as hurting an already ailing market

LONDON — Media group Pearson has warned that profits for its FT Group could be down 40% this year if the current downturn in advertising continues. Profits for the division last year were £211 million ($306 million).

Pearson, which holds a 22% stake in RTL Group, majority owner of U.K. terrestrial Channel 5, said the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks had severely damaged an already ailing ad market.

The company said, “In the last month, we have seen a large number of advertising cancellations and very little new advertising activity.”

Pearson added that the slump would have a “greater impact” on RTL than had been anticipated.

Pearson’s core business is publishing, including the Financial Times and the Economist.

In the nine months to Sept. 30, Pearson had sales of $4.6 billion, down 14%.

Pearson CEO Marjorie Scardino said the market was “cyclical in character and will bounce back. In the meantime, we will continue to manage our costs and our cash to minimize the impact on our financial performance.”

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