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Pearson TV profits down

Channel 5 shows turnaround with modest earnings

LONDON — The TV arm of media group Pearson has reported lackluster results in the six months prior to its merger with pan-Euro broadcaster CLT-Ufa, which was completed last week. Pearson TV’s operating profits were down 11.4% at £31 million ($47 million), with sales up 3% at $246 million.

Its decreasing profitability led Pearson to seek refuge in the merger, which gives the company a 22% share in RTL Group, valued at about $25 million.

In the meantime, Pearson made a large stride toward the expansion of its dominant education arm Monday with a $2.5 billion offer for National Computer Systems, the leading educational services company in the U.S. Pearson shares fell 9.05% lower on the London Stock Exchange on the news.

A silver lining on the TV front was that Channel 5, in which Pearson has a 29% stake, is creeping into the black. Pearson’s stake in the channel, which was launched in 1997, has finally yielded a modest $1.5 million profit, after $4.5 million in loss last year.

Pearson TV’s performance was the exception in the company’s strong overall results, which showed operating profits up 32% at $222 million, with total revenue of $2.32 billion (up 18%).

)Reuters contributed to this report.)

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