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Posts Fourth Quarter Loss

August 2, 1990

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Meredith Corp. announced Thursday it lost $49.9 million in its fourth quarter, as officials of the diversified media and real estate company warned it would in May.

The loss, which totaled $2.70 per share, included previously announced charges totalling $2.91 per share for unusual operating items and write-downs on discontinued operations.

Meredith, best known for its Better Homes and Gardens and Ladies’ Home Journal magazines, said in May that it expected to write-down earnings by $64 million in the quarter, resulting in its first full-year loss since 1973.

In the previous year, Meredith earned $7.4 million, or 40 cents a share, in the fourth fiscal quarter which ends June 30.

Fourth-quarter revenue edged up to $185 million from $182.4 million a year earlier.

The charge included $27.3 million for the devaluation of broadcast film, a $5 million reserve for outstanding claims and a $2.2 million write-down of obsolete book inventories.

″Hopefully, with the steps we’ve taken, we have our properties now valued where they should be,″ spokesman Steve Salato said.

Meredith said its losses from discontinued operations in the quarter included $17.9 million from the sale of MMT Sales Inc., a money-losing television advertising sales business in New York, and $15.7 million from the sale of two troubled real estate franchises, Fox & Carskadon Inc.-Better Homes and Gardens in the San Francisco Bay area and Joseph J. Murphy Inc.-Better Homes and Gardens, a New Jersey firm.

Meredith this week announced it had completed the sale of MMT Sales to a company owned by MMT’s current management for undisclosed terms.

For the full year, Meredith lost $26.4 million, or $1.43 per share, in contrast to net earnings of $33.2 million, or $1.75 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue for the year rose 5.2 percent to $735.4 million from $694.2 million a year earlier.

Meredith had hoped to conclude the sale of its Meredith-Burda printing business before the quarter ended and could have used its share of the proceeds to offset the write-downs.

On July 14, the Federal Trade Commission filed suit to block the proposed sale of its Meredith-Burda division to R.R. Donnelly and Sons Co. of Chicago.

Under terms of the proposed sale, Meredith would get about half of the $487.5 million sale price, with the rest going to the Burda family. The company planned to use the money to buy back stock and to invest in its main businesses of publishing and broadcasting.

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