MSG's 1Q Tops Views Despite Higher Tax Bill

By FOXBusiness

Hit by higher taxes, New York Knicks parent Madison Square Garden (NYSE:MSG) disclosed a 3.2% decline in fiscal first-quarter earnings on Friday but still managed to exceed forecasts from analysts as media revenue jumped.

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MSG, which is also the parent of the New York Rangers and Radio City Music Hall, said it earned $20.6 million, or 26 cents a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $21.3 million, or 28 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts had been calling for EPS of just 19 cents.

Revenue jumped 15% to $204.2 million, essentially matching the Street’s view of $204.1 million. Operating margins expanded to 19.7% from 14.8%.

MSG’s third-quarter results were hampered a bit by a surge in income-tax expenses to $18.5 million from $3.9 million tied to year-earlier deferred tax benefits.

Media revenue at MSG, which owns the MSG Network, increased 15% year-over-year to $159.5 million as affiliate fee revenue rose $17 million.

Meanwhile, sports revenue at MSG grew 10% to $31.6 million amid higher suite rental fee revenue and sponsorship and signage revenue.

Shares of New York-based MSG rose 0.63% to $41.89 on Friday morning, giving them a 2012 gain of about 45%.