Bertelsmann earnings soar in first half

Net profit was up almost sevenfold to $550 mil

BERLIN -- Bertelsmann posted a slight drop in revenue and a steep jump in profits in the first half as new boss Hartmut Ostrowski continues to trim the German media conglomerate of loss-making businesses.

Bertelsmann had revenue of 7.6 billion euros ($11 billion) in the first half, down 1.3% over the same period last year. But net profit was up almost sevenfold to 372 million euros ($550 million).

Two of the company's more troubled operations -- its 50% stake in music group Sony BMG and Bertelsmann's DVD and book club businesses in North American -- together lost about 70 million euros in the first half. Ostrowski already has announced that both divisions will be sold.