News Corp. Logs 2Q Beat Amid Cable Strength

By Media & AdvertisingFOXBusiness

News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA) beat the Street on Wednesday by more than doubling fiscal second-quarter profits amid one-time gains and double-digit growth in the media giant’s cable networks division.

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Shares of the New York-based parent of FOX News and The Wall Street Journal were up about 1.5% in extended trading.

News Corp. said it earned $2.38 billion, or $1.01 a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $1.06 billion, or 42 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, it earned 44 cents a share, compared with 39 cents a share a year earlier and topping estimates from analysts by a penny.

Revenue rose 5% to $9.43 billion, besting the Street’s view of $9.28 billion.

“Double-digit gains in our cable and television businesses, along with improvements in our publishing segment, drove revenue and earnings growth even as we seized opportunities to invest in our core businesses for long-term and sustainable growth,” CEO Rupert Murdoch said in a statement.

News Corp.’s net income was bolstered by pre-tax gains of $1.4 billion tied to one-time items, including gains from the acquisitions of additional ownership stakes in FOX Sports Australia and Fox Star Sports Asia, formerly ESPN Star Sports.

Cable strength continues to drive News Corp.’s profits as revenue in the company’s cable network division jumped 18% year-over-year to $2.6 billion. News Corp. enjoyed double-digit revenue growth at the Regional Sports networks, FOX News Channel, FX Network and the National Geographic channels.

News Corp. said its affiliate revenue climbed 13% domestically and 42% internationally. Ad sales increased 8% in the U.S. and 29% overseas, while expenses jumped 26% due to increased sports programming costs.

Television revenue at News Corp. gained 1% to $1.53 billion as retransmission consent revenues more than doubled, while publishing revenue increased 1% to $2.1 billion due to improvements in U.K. newspapers.

News Corp.’s filmed entertainment division, boosted by success for Taken 2 and Life of Pi, reported roughly flat revenue of $2.1 billion.

Later this year, News Corp. plans to break into two different companies, with one featuring the slower-growing publishing assets like the Journal and New York Post, and the other housing its film and television businesses like 20th Century Fox film studio and the FOX Network.

Earlier on Wednesday, CNN parent Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) reported stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and announced plans to boost its dividend. ESPN owner Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) beat estimates late Tuesday with a lighter-than-expected 6% contraction in quarterly profits.

News Corp. is the parent of FOX Business.

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