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Lagardère Book Sales Decline in Third Quarter

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Nov 8 – Nov 14, 2010 Edition Lagardère Book Sales Decline in Third Quarter

Paris/Authorlink News/November 8, 2010–Lagardère SCA, which owns Hachette Book Group in the US, announced third-quarter results today, calling the period’s performances satisfactory.

The Lagardere Publishing division, however, saw sales drop about 7% in the period, to 634 million euros.

The company said performance was dented by a drop in sales of the Stephenie Meyer saga, and by a delay of a few weeks in delivering new secondary school textbooks in France. The slowdown relative to the second-quarter trend was due to the non-recurrence of the sale of the international rights to the Twilight saga.

As expected, the erosion in sales of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn) had a marked impact on revenue trends not only in the United States, but also in France and the United Kingdom. In France, the postponement of deliveries of secondary school textbooks from the third quarter to the fourth quarter (due to the late announcement of new curriculums) also had a temporarily negative effect. And in Spain, the Education market was more challenging than last year.

After a like-for-like revenue fall of just 4.5% in the first half of 2010, there was a more marked fall (of 6.8%) in the nine months to end September; this was largely due to the sharp decline in the Stephenie Meyer phenomenon and the non-recurrence of the sale of the international rights to the saga, booked in the first half of 2010.

However, revenues for the first nine months of 2010 are slightly ahead of those for the comparable period of 2008, demonstrating the remarkable resilience of the Lagardère group.

Sales of e-books remain strong, accounting for some 9% of revenues in the United States in the first nine months of 2010.

For Lagardère Publishing, the comparative base is expected to be less tough at the end of the year, especially in the United States; bear in mind that 2009 fourth-quarter revenues were virtually flat due to the slowdown in the success of the Stephenie Meyer saga. Revenue trends should therefore improve slightly in the fourth quarter of 2010.