Mediaset dip drags down Fininvest profits

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ROME -- The holding company that controls the majority of Silvio Berlusconi's business interests reported a sharp drop in profits over the first six months of its fiscal year, due largely to a previously reported dip in profits for Mediaset, the company's single largest holding.

Fininvest said that its operating profits stood at ?719 million ($906 million) for the first six months of the year, 9.6% lower than the same period in 2005 when it recorded a one-time gain from selling a 16.7% stake in Mediaset. The results were reported after market close Thursday.

The company still owns 35% of Mediaset, by far Italy's largest private broadcaster. Its other stakes include 50% ownership of Mondadori, a leading publisher, plus full control of Medusa Films and the A.C. Milan soccer team.
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