Twenty-First Century Fox revenue misses, profit tops estimates

Media & AdvertisingReuters

Rupert Murdoch-controlled Twenty-First Century Fox Inc's quarterly profit edged past analysts' estimates, but revenue fell just short of expectations, hurt by the lack of box office hits from its movie studio.

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The company, which is seeking regulatory approval to completely buy out Sky Plc, said revenue at its filmed entertainment division fell 11.5 percent to $1.80 billion in the fourth quarter.

Fox said the lower home entertainment revenue was due to the strong performance of "Deadpool" in the year-ago quarter.

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However, revenue from Fox's cable division, which houses the Fox News, FX channels among others, rose 10.4 percent and accounted for more than half of total revenue.

Net income attributable to Fox shareholders fell to $476 million, or 26 cents per share, from $567 million, or 30 cents per share. The year-ago results included a tax benefit of $60 million.

Excluding items, the company earned 36 cents per share.

Fox said total revenue increased 1.5 percent to $6.75 billion.

Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 35 cents per share and revenue of $6.77 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

A big question for investors is whether Fox will gain government approval of its $14.5 billion bid, first made in December, to buy the nearly 61 percent of UK-based pay-TV group Sky that it does not already own.

That deal is still under review by British regulators and is likely to be referred to the competition watchdog for a full investigation, delaying its approval of the deal.

The approval of the deal has met with a number of a roadblocks, including Britain's media secretary, Karen Bradley's reservations about the deal giving the Murdoch family too much influence over the media.

(Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)

*The company is the parent of, FOX Business Network and Fox News.

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