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Schibsted gets third-quarter boost from growth in website traffic for cars, homes

Norwegian media group Schibsted on Wednesday reported a 25% rise in third-quarter core profit and said website traffic for autos and real estate classified ads had risen as consumers searched online for cars and homes during the pandemic.

OSLO, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Norwegian media group Schibsted SBSTA.OL on Wednesday reported a 25% rise in third-quarter core profit and said website traffic for autos and real estate classified ads had risen as consumers searched online for cars and homes during the pandemic.

The owner of Nordic newspapers and advertising sites said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the July-September quarter rose 25% to 678 million Norwegian crowns ($73.46 million).

"Within Nordic Marketplaces ... website traffic has stabilised at a higher level than pre-COVID-19 and listings have improved over the last couple of months," Chief Executive Kristin Skogen Lund said in a statement.

Spending cuts gave an extra boost to earnings margins in the third quarter, but Schibsted has again begun to ramp up recruitment and marketing for its Nordic Marketplaces, and thus expects a lower margin in the October-December quarter.

The most recent wave of COVID-19 infections in the Nordics as well as the rest of Europe has also led to more volatility and uncertainty, the company said.

The company's auto and real estate markets are doing well, but its jobs and travel listings have seen a substantial decline.

Schibsted last year spun off its international classified ads unit, renaming it Adevinta ADEV.OL, which on Tuesday reported a turnaround in earnings for the July-September period following a weak first half of the year.

Adevinta in July agreed to buy eBay's EBAY.O classified ads unit in a $9.2 billion cash and shares deal to form the world's largest online classifieds group, reducing Schibsted's stake in the combined company.

($1 = 9.2295 Norwegian crowns)

(Reporting by Victoria Klesty, editing by Terje Solsvik and Jane Merriman)

((victoria.klesty@thomsonreuters.com; +47 2331 6592; Reuters Messaging: victoria.klesty.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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