Twenty-First Century Fox Posts Fall in Revenue, Boosts Buyback


Twenty-First Century Fox Inc's (NASDAQ:FOXA) reported a 9.3 percent fall in quarterly adjusted revenue as advertising sales fell in its television business and a lack of major film releases weighed on its studio business.

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But Fox's adjusted profit beat Wall Street expectations and the company said it would buy back $5 billion Class A shares over the next 12 months.

Fox's shares were down marginally in after-hours trading on Wednesday.

Adjusted revenue, which excluded the sale of the company's direct broadcast satellite television businesses, fell to $6.21 billion. Analysts on average had expected revenue of $6.41 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue in Fox's film studio business fell by a third to $1.91 billion as no major titles released in the quarter. The year-ago quarter was driven mainly by the success of "X-Men: Days of Future Past" and the animation film "Rio 2".

The company in the next few months is slated to release movies such as "Fantastic Four" and sci-fi sequel "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials".

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Fox recorded the lowest ratings among the Big Four broadcasting networks in the 2014-2015 television season, according to Nielsen data. This was reflected in the 4.3 percent decline in the company's television revenue in the fourth quarter.

Revenue in its cable network programming business rose 6.6 percent to $3.57 billion, boosted by coverage of NASCAR and ICC Cricket World Cup sporting events. The business accounts for more than half the company's total revenue.

Domestic advertising sales rose 4 percent, helped by double-digit growth in its sports channels including Star Sports and Fox Sports 1.

Excluding items, the company earned 39 cents per share in the fourth quarter ended June 30, beating the average analyst estimate of 37 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

(Reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sayantani Ghosh)