RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Media General Inc. reported Thursday that third-quarter profits more than doubled to $30.4 million as the company sold of half of its stock in Denver Newspapers Inc., the parent company of The Denver Post.

Without the one-time gain of $18.9 million, the Richmond-based media company earned $11.5 million, or 44 cents per share, compared with $14.5 million, or 54 cents per share in the same period a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial had predicted earnings of 40 cents per share.

Revenues also declined, from $197.1 million to $191.8 million, because of a decrease in the company's newsprint production division.

J. Stewart Bryan III, chairman and chief executive officer, said the publishing and broadcast divisions performed well but could not offset a continued weakness in newsprint prices.

``However, we believe prices have bottomed and that some relief may be on the horizon,'' Bryan said.

Net income for the first nine months of the year was $58.2 million, or $2.16 per share, including the Denver Newspapers stock sale. Without that transaction, net income for the period would have been $39.3 million, or $1.46 per share, compared with $48.7 million, or $1.81 per share, for the first nine months of 1998.

For the first nine months of 1999, revenues were $583.2 million, down from $604.7 million a year ago.

Media General is an independent communications company with interests in newspapers, broadcast television, recycled newsprint and diversified information services primarily in the Southeast.

Shares of Media General fell 50 cents to $53 in trading on the Nasdaq stock market.