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Sina reports falling profits as it waits on merger

SINA Corp said yesterday that its profit for the first quarter fell due to uncertainty about China's economy.

The firm is still waiting for approval from the Minister of Commerce for a merger with Focus Media's digital outdoor advertising network.

"The minister is still reviewing the case and both parties have extended the deadline of the deal to the end of September," Charles Chao, chairman and CEO of Sina said yesterday.

"Either party can walk away from the deal or seek a further extension of the deadline beyond the end of the third quarter if we still haven't completed the approval process by the end of the next quarter."

Sina reported a 31 percent year-on-year drop in profit in the first three months of the year. Net income was US$9.7 million in the reported period, or 17 US cents per share.

Revenue was up 3 percent over the same period last year to US$73.8 million. Advertising revenue was down 10 percent from a year earlier to US$43.2 million, accounting for 59 percent of total revenue. Non-advertising revenue grew 30 percent year on year to US$30.6 million.

Focus Media and Sina announced in December that Sina will acquire Focus Media's outdoor advertising network in an all-stock transaction valued at US$1.8 billion.



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