French media group Lagardere posted a huge jump in profit on Thursday based on the sale of a 7.4 percent stake in the European defence and aerospace company EADS. The company sold the stake earlier this year for 2.28 billion euros as the company narrows its focus to its media holdings. Net profit in the January-June period soared to 1.48 billion euros, a huge increase from 36-million-euro profit a year earlier. Sales however inched up just 0.5 percent in the period to 3.4 billion euros. The sale of EADS allowed the company to unload a mountain of debt, which fell from 1.73 billion euros to 900 million euros in the six-month period. The media company holds magazine titles including Elle and Paris Match, but sold off its foreign magazine stable to US media company Hearst in 2011. Lagardere said sales held up despite a poor climate for media thanks to its book publishing and broadcasting units. A foray into the sports marketing business however continued to bring problems with sales down 7 percent. In 2011 Lagardere incurred a huge 700-million-euro loss due to problems in this side of the business, but rebounded overall in 2012 with a profit of 89 million euros.