REUTERS - News Corp (NWSA.O) reported higher quarterly revenue and profit on Wednesday on strong growth at its cable networks.
The media conglomerate, controlled by Rupert Murdoch, said revenue rose 5 percent to $9.43 billion for the quarter that ended in December. Analysts were expecting revenue of $9.28 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
News Corp’s global media empire includes Fox Broadcasting, The Wall Street Journal and the film studio Twentieth Century Fox.
Net income was $2.38 billion or $1.01 per share, compared with $1.06 billion or 42 cents per share in the same period a year ago.
Excluding special items including costs related to the phone hacking scandal in the U.K., earnings per share was 44 cents, ahead of analysts’ estimates by a penny.
At its cable network, operating income increased 7 percent to $945 million. Advertising revenue at its domestic cable channels rose 8 percent.
The division that operates the company’s newspapers and book publishing reported operating income rose to $234 million from $218 million in the same period a year ago. News Corp cited the launch of the Sunday edition of its British tabloid The Sun that helped offset lower advertising revenues at its Australian newspapers.
News Corp is preparing to separate its faster growing entertainment assets from its newspapers, a move that has been greeted with enthusiasm from investors who have driven up the stock almost 50 percent year over year.
The new publishing company, which will retain the name News Corp, will operate newspapers like The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London, The Australian and book publisher HarperCollins.
The publishing company has named several key executives including Robert Thomson, a Murdoch confidant and the former top editor at The Wall Street Journal, as its CEO. But key questions remain about the structure of it balance sheet, board members and how the company will overcome severe challenges racking the newspaper industry.
Reporting By Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr