Perform Group warns on profit, shares crash

Shares in Perform Group lost more than half of their value on Thursday after the sports rights company warned that earnings in 2013 would be significantly below expectations and fall short again next year.

About 640 million pounds ($1.05 billion) was wiped off the value of the company after the stock plunged 57 percent to 183p following the profit warning issued on Thursday lunchtime.

Perform, which had increased in value after listing at 260p on the London stock exchange in April 2011, buys online rights to major sports events and supplies video clips or live action to groups including newspaper publishers and bookmakers.

Returns from its advertising and sponsorship divisions had deteriorated as the current quarter progressed, with Germany and the United States worst affected.

Joint CEO Oliver Slipper said he was disappointed with how the business had fared and that cost savings would be sought across a company which employs 1,500 people.

„Whilst the issues we have experienced in H2 2013 are unsatisfactory, as a management team we are fully committed to continuing to grow Perform,“ said Slipper.

American businessman Len Blavatnik, who owns Warner Music, is the largest investor in Perform with a stake of around 40 percent.

Perform’s image as a growth stock took a knock in June when it warned that spending on acquisitions and content would slow profit growth this year.

It raised 115 million pounds the following month by selling new shares at a price of 480p. That paid for the purchase of sports data company Opta, the latest in a series of acquisitions, and left money over for more deals.

In Thursday’s statement, Perform said full-year revenue this year would be about 6 percent below its previous expectations, with year-on-year growth still expected to be in excess of 35 percent.

Analysts had been expecting the group to report full-year revenue of 215 million pounds ($351.9 million) and core earnings of 51.1 million pounds, according to a consensus of seven brokers compiled by Thomson Reuters.

In 2014, annual revenues were also expected to fall six percent short of previous forecasts and have a direct impact on profits, Perform said.

(Quelle: REUTERS)