Chrysalis prepares to offload underperforming books division

The company that publishes Michael Winner's autobiography,
Winner Takes All, is being prepared for sale after a shortfall in revenues and margins.

The company that publishes Michael Winner's autobiography, Winner Takes All, is being prepared for sale after a shortfall in revenues and margins.

The value of Chrysalis Books is being calculated by its music and radio parent company but its performance is expected to dent group profits by £1.5m.

The launch of Winner Takes All on Wednesday night came too late to boost the performance of Chrysalis Group's book division, which is expected to only break even before tax, interest and amortisation.

In a trading update for the 12 months to 31 August, Chrysalis said: "In the light of the medium term strategy of the Chrysalis Group, an independent publishing specialist has been instructed to value the publishing assets of the Chrysalis Books business."

On a brighter note the group's core radio business, which includes stations such as Heart, Galaxy and LBC, saw revenues rise on a like-for-like basis by 20 per cent. Sales for the full year will be in the region of £67m, the company said.

The statement said: "Based on current activity levels, revenue growth at Chrysalis Radio, for the first quarter of the 2005 financial year, is expected to reach high single digits."

Chrysalis, which is led by Richard Huntingford, the chief executive, is one of the radio groups at the centre of takeover speculation after confirmation of Capital Radio's merger talks with GWR. Its London stations have been doing particularly well against Capital.

Chrysalis Music, which includes acts such as Moloko, the Lightning Seeds and Portishead, will end the year in line with expectations, the company said. It also announced a deal with Carphone Warehouse for its music2mobile initiative that offers mobile phone customers a range of song titles they can purchase as ringtones.

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