Fox tops profit estimate ahead of Disney sale

Higher revenue from cable programming and advertising helped drive earnings at 21st Century Fox above Wall Street expectations for the fiscal second quarter, results that come as the media giant prepares to finalize the sale of its major entertainment assets.

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Overall, revenue grew 5.7 percent in the quarter to $8.5 billion, above analyst predictions. Profits were $10.8 billion, or $5.80 per share -- largely due to Fox’s sale of shares in European TV giant Sky to Comcast. Adjusted net income was 37 cents per share, a year-over-year decline but exceeding Wall Street estimates, the company said on Wednesday.

“Our Company delivered another strong quarter of financial results, underpinned by distribution and advertising revenue increases at our domestic cable networks and broadcast businesses,” Executive Chairmen Lachlan and James Murdoch said. 

Fox is in the midst of finalizing a $71 billion deal to sell most of its entertainment assets to Walt Disney Co, spinning off Fox News and other sectors into New Fox. The SEC filing registering the new entity took effect on Tuesday.

Revenue from Fox’s cable networking grew 3.5 percent to $4.6 billion, while film revenues dropped to $2.2 billion – despite the success of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the story of Queen’s frontman Freddie Mercury that captured the Golden Globe for Best Motion picture - Drama in January and also received several Academy Award nominations.

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Higher ad revenue – largely due to a bump in political advertising in run-up to the 2018 midterm election – also underscored a 19 percent growth in television earnings.


21st Century Fox is the parent company of FOX Business and Fox News. The company sold its entertainment assets to Disney in 2017 and the deal is expected to close in the first quarter which will create the New Fox.