Hearst Corp, which is still hammered on the newspaper side, is continuing its diversification efforts. It has bought another 20 percent stake in the NYC and London-based credit-ratings firm Fitch Group for about $427 million (Euro $300 million), raising its total stake to 40 percent. In 2006, it paid $600 million for the first 20 percent, so at least this was a bargain compared to the previous buy. French financial-services firm Fimalac SA owns the rest of 60 percent, but has the option to sell another 10 percent to Hearst in coming years. Fitch, like rivals S&P and Moody’s, have been hit hard with the credit crunch, and have been blamed for lax ratings policies. For its Q209 earnings, Fitch Ratings has revenues of $169.1 million, down 4.4 percent from the previous quarter. More here.
Hearst of course has been keen on taking stake in other media/info companies the past, including in Pandora, ESPN (NYSE: DIS), A&E and others.
By Rafat Ali