May 14, 2013 / 9:36 AM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Sex and soccer bestsellers drive sales at Lagardere

* Q1 sales rise 2.3 pct like-for-like

* Confirms forecast for 2013 recurring EBIT

* Shares rise 1 pct (Adds divisional breakdown, share price, background)

PARIS, May 14 (Reuters) - Media group Lagardere posted a 2.3 percent rise in first-quarter sales on Tuesday, driven by the success at its publishing arm of the Fifty Shades bestselling bodice-rippers and a biography of international soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The group confirmed its forecast for full-year recurring earnings before interest and tax from its media activities to be between flat and 5 percent higher versus 2012 at constant exchange rates after what it called “a good start to the year”.

Lagardere’s publishing business made the biggest contribution to growth in the first quarter, with sales up 7.9 percent like-for-like.

The unit saw 8.9 percent growth in France, helped by the last two instalments of the Fifty Shades trilogy by E.L. James and the biography of Swedish football captain and Paris St Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The latest novel by award-winning author Gregoire Delacourt also contributed, the company said.

Total revenue reached 1.627 billion euros ($2.11 billion), against 1.579 billion a year earlier, Lagardere said in a statement on Tuesday.

Shares in Lagardere were up 1 percent at 27.935 euros at 0833 GMT for a rise of some 10 percent since the start of the year.

Lagardere, which owns book publisher Hachette and magazines including Elle and Paris Match, recently shed its stake in European aerospace group EADS for $3 billion as it focuses on its media business and cuts debt.

The company continues to hold a 20 percent stake in pay-TV channel Canal+, which has been at the centre of a long-running dispute with Vivendi, which owns the other 80 percent.

Lagardere Active, the group’s magazines and radio division, achieved a 1.6 percent increase in like-for-like sales in the quarter, thanks to its TV production business, it said.

Lagardere said its full-year earnings forecast was based on an expected decline in advertising sales of about 5 percent to 7 percent at Lagardere Active. ($1 = 0.7703 euros) (Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Sophie Walker)

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