Mediaset revenue rises in first quarter

But broadcaster's profits slip 6.4%

ROME -- Italian broadcaster Mediaset on Tuesday released financial results that showed that first-quarter revenue surged 13.9% compared with the same period last year, though profits slipped 6.4% as expenses rose.

The broadcast giant that includes film production house and distributor Mediaset and reality television producer Endemol, reported revenue of 1.11 billion euros ($1.68 billion) compared with 965 million euros ($1.48 billion) in revenue for the first quarter of 2007.

But pretax profits slipped to 231.1 million euros ($355.7 million) compared with 247.6 million euros ($381.3 million) in the year-ago period.

The report was released after the market closed, but shares rose 1.2% ahead of the announcement, closing at 6.30 euros ($9.79) in heavy trading.

The broadcast giant's shares have performed weakly in recent weeks as its leading shareholder, Silvio Berlusconi, prepared to take office as Italian prime minister. Though analysts have said Mediaset could benefit from Berlusconi's fourth stint in office, shareholders were wary that he would not be able to devote enough time to direct the company.