(Adds comment from Fox president on conference call)
By Abhirup Roy and Liana B. Baker
May 7 Rupert Murdoch-controlled television and
film company 21st Century Fox Inc reported a
better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by strong Super
Bowl advertising and cable network growth.
Excluding special items, the company earned 47 cents per
share, handily beating the average Wall Street estimate of 35
cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose to $8.22 billion from $7.35 billion.
Shares in Fox, which separated from News Corp in
June, rose 4 percent to $33.50 in extended trading on Wednesday.
Chase Carey, Fox's president and chief operating officer,
hinted on a conference call with analysts that he was close to
renewing his contract with Fox. Carey's contract is up for
renewal on June 30 and investors are wondering whether he will
At the end of March, Murdoch returned eldest son Lachlan to
the leadership of his media empire and promoted younger son
James, paving the way for the 83-year-old tycoon's succession
plan. James reports to Carey, who is a well respected operator.
Carey said on the conference call on Wednesday, "Rupert and
I have an understanding and a new agreement. We've simply not
gotten it on paper yet."
Advertising revenue in Fox's television business rose 30
percent in the quarter, helped by advertising during Super Bowl
XLVIII and the National Football League playoffs.
The Super Bowl is rotated yearly across different broadcast
"They overdelivered on television which Disney just missed
out, so that was a good fact," Needham & Co analyst Laura Martin
Fox reported a 27 percent rise in TV revenue to $1.59
billion, while Disney on Tuesday blamed a decrease in primetime
advertising for flat broadcast revenue of $1.50 billion.
Revenue at Fox's cable networks, its largest business, grew
11.5 percent to $3.15 billion, driven mainly by a 12 percent
rise in domestic affiliate revenue.
Fox's stable of cable networks includes the Fox News
Channel, Fox Sports, FX Networks, National Geographic channels
and a new channel FXX aimed at young adults.
Expenses rose 12 percent in the business as the company
invests heavily on sports channels, going after Walt Disney Co's
ESPN with its Fox Sports 1 channel launched in August.
Net income was $1.05 billion, or 47 cents per share, for the
third quarter ended March 31, compared to net income a year ago
of $2.89 billion, or $1.22 per share. The prior-year period
included a $2.1 billion accounting gain as the company increased
its stake in British Sky Broadcasting.
(Reporting by Abhirup Roy, Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bangalore and
Liana B. Baker in New York; Editing by Joyjeet Das and Cynthia