Springer revenue up through three quarters

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COLOGNE, Germany -- Thanks to a bundle of new acquisitions, European publishing giant Axel Springer managed to boost revenue in the first nine months of the year by almost 9% to 1.89 billion euros ($2.78 billion).

Springer's buying spree has seen the Berlin-based group snatch up several Internet sites this year, including European women's portal Aufeminin.com and German marketing services provider Zanox.de as well as "old media" businesses such as Swiss publisher Jean Frey.

Without those buys, Springer's revenue would have been essentially flat in the first nine months of 2007, up just 0.7% year-on-year.

The cost of consolidating the new acquisitions as well as a 47.8 million euros ($70.3 million) loss from postal services subsidiary Pin Group cut into Springer's profit, which was up just 3.6% to 179.6 million euros ($264 million).

Springer is in negotiations to sell a majority stake in Pin to Dutch postal group TNT, Springer CEO Mathias Dopfner said Wednesday. A decision on the sale will be made in the next few months.

But Dopfner said Springer has no plans to make any major acquisitions in the mid-term.

What the company is considering, according to analysts, is a buyback of up to100 million euros ($147 million) of its own shares.

Springer is desperate to get its stock back on track. Despite strong financial figures, shares in the group have slumped, falling from 130 euros in early September to just over 100 euros. In late day trading Wednesday, Springer stock was up 1% at 102.30 euros ($150).
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