21st Century Fox Turns 4Q Profit

Strong cable earnings offset broadcast decline
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Related: Murdoch: Time Warner Deal No Longer Attractive

21st Century Fox, which called off its proposed takeover of Time Warner, reported that fourth quarter earnings rose on the strength of its cable programming, satellite broadcast and filmed entertainment groups.

Net income was $999 million, or 45 cents a share, compared to a $371 million, or 16 cents a share, loss a year ago.

Revenues rose 17% to $8.42 billion.

“In the fiscal fourth quarter we built on our operational momentum with double-digit earnings and revenue gains. The company’s strong financial performance was driven by sustained affiliate revenue increases at our cable networks and record fourth quarter contributions at our filmed entertainment segment,” CEO Rupert Murdoch said in a statement. “As we close the fiscal year, I continue to have confidence in our ability to execute our growth plan and drive value for our shareholders. Our new $6 billion share buyback program, to be executed over the next twelve months, further underscores our disciplined approach to increasing shareholder value.”

On Tuesday, Fox withdrew its $80 billion offer for Time Warner and said it would buy back $6 billion of its stock instead. The move sent Fox shares higher, closing up 2%.

Fox’s cable network programming segment reported an 11% increase in operating income to $1.2 billion. Expenses were up 14% because of investments in newly launched channels.

Cable revenue was up 13%. Domestic affiliate revenue rose 19% with gains from the regional sports networks, FX Networks and Fox News Channel.

Domestic advertising at the cable networks was up 12%, including the consolidation of the YES Network and the launch of FXX.

Broadcast didn’t do so well. Fox’s television group reported a 32% drop in operating income to $145 million compared to $213 million a year ago. Retransmission revenue rose, but they were more than offset by an 11% drop in advertising as ratings for American Idol and other shows declined.

(Photo: Fargo)

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