Bertlesmann sale rumors boost Digest

Operating costs up 18% to $40 mil

Rumors of a sale to Bertlesmann were enough to boost Reader’s Digest’s share price, which closed up 1.17% at $37.93 after soaring as high as $38.87 in early trading.

Sources at Bertlesmann and Reader’s Digest declined comment Monday on the reports that the German media group might buy the Pleasantville, N.Y.-based company, publisher of the world’s most popular magazine.

Reader’s Digest, which also publishes books and videos, reported $40 million in operating profits in April, up 18% from the third quarter of 1999.

Bertelsmann is rumored to be exploring further media acquisitions in the wake of the $8 billion sale of its stake in AOL Europe.

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