Hearst Pays $427 Million For 20 Percent More Stake in Fitch

Fitch Ratings

Hearst Corp, which is still hammered on the newspaper side, is continuing its diversification efforts. It has bought another 20 percent stake in the NYC and London-based credit-ratings firm Fitch Group for about $427 million (Euro $300 million), raising its total stake to 40 percent. In 2006, it paid $600 million for the first 20 percent, so at least this was a bargain compared to the previous buy. French financial-services firm Fimalac SA owns the rest of 60 percent, but has the option to sell another 10 percent to Hearst in coming years. Fitch, like rivals S&P and Moody’s, have been hit hard with the credit crunch, and have been blamed for lax ratings policies. For its Q209 earnings, Fitch Ratings has revenues of $169.1 million, down 4.4 percent from the previous quarter. More here.

Hearst of course has been keen on taking stake in other media/info companies the past, including in Pandora, ESPN (NYSE: DIS), A&E and others.

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