Digest: Mixed frame for Meredith

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Media firm Meredith Corp. on Wednesday reported a 15% increase in its fiscal first-quarter profit thanks to stronger political TV advertising, but revenue fell short of expectations. Quarterly profit of $30.5 million compared with $26.4 million a year ago. Revenue rose 1.4% to $395.7 million. Meredith publishes magazines like Better Homes and Gardens, and operates TV stations, where political ads hit a new record for a fiscal first quarter. This helped boost total ad revenue 5.3%.

Clear Channel talk continues

Talk about a possible buyout that would take radio giant Clear Channel Communications private continued Wednesday. Merrill Lynch analyst Laraine Mancini said a 10% stock increase since early September "suggests that investors have already begun to price in the possibility." CNBC reported Tuesday that the controlling Mays family might be warming to the idea and has talked about a buyout with private-equity groups.

Sportfive sale reportedly close

COLOGNE, Germany -- Private-equity group Advent and Germany's Bertelsmann AG are close to a deal to sell off sports rights group Sportfive, sources said. The sale, expected before year's end, could bring in as much as €1 billion ($1.25 billion) for the group, which controls the rights to the 2008 European soccer championships, as well those to the top Spanish and Italian leagues and several leading German squads. Sources close to Advent, however, said the price tag for Sportfive likely is to be closer to €750 million ($938 million). That will still mean a tidy profit for Advent, which acquired a 65% stake in Sportfive from Bertelsmann and Vivendi in 2004. At the time, the company was valued at €600 million. Bertelsmann is a minority partner in Sportfive, with a 25% stake.
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