Prof­its up as Mur­doch plan for ‘new Fox’ on track

The Phnom Penh Post - - BUSINESS -

TWENTY-First Cen­tury Fox re­ported a jump in prof­its in the past quar­ter on Wed­nes­day as the con­glom­er­ate con­trolled by Ru­pert Mur­doch said it was on track to com­plete a key as­set sale and l a unch a slimmed-down me­dia group.

The New York-based me­di­aen­ter­tain­ment com­pany said its profit in the pe­riod rose 54 per cent f rom a yea r ago to $1.29 bil­lion, lifted by a $220 mil­lion gain from the sale of it s s t a ke i n Br it i sh-ba s e d broad­caster Sky.

Rev­enues rose two per cent from a year ago to $7.2 bil­lion in the quar­ter end­ing Septem­ber 30, t he f irst f isca l quar­ter for the group.

The boost in prof its come with Fox on track to com­plete the sale of key film and telev ision as­sets, in­clud­ing its big Hol ly wood st udio, to Walt Dis­ney Co. i n a $71 bi l l ion block­buster deal.

The dea l wi l l a l low Mur­doch, 87, who has been grad­u­ally turn­ing over con­trol of his me­dia em­pire to his t wo sons, to slim down his hold­ings to fo­cus on a “new Fox” t o i nclude t he US-ba s e d broad­cast net work a nd Fox News Chan­nel.

“We cont i nue to del iver against our growth plan even as we make im­por­tant strides to­ward com­plet­ing our Dis­ney trans­ac­tion and launch­ing [the new] Fox in the first half of next year,” said a state­ment from Ru­pert and Lach­lan Mur­doch, who share the ti­tle of ex­ec­u­tive chair­man.

“We have as­sem­bled a stella r lead­er­ship tea m for Fox, giv ing us fur­ther con­fi­dence in the new com­pany’s abil­ity to cap­ture op­por­tu­nit ies in l i v e pr o g r a mmi ng w h i le de­liv­er­ing long-term value for share­hold­ers.”

In Septem­ber, Fox agreed to sell its 39 per cent stake in Sky to Com­cast, giv­ing the US ca­ble and me­dia gi­ant full con­trol of the Bri­tish tele­vi­sion gi­ant.

That agree­ment ends a lon­grun­ning bat­tle for con­trol of Sky by Mur­doch in the face of re­sis­tance by Bri­tish reg­u­la­tors a nd f i r ms up t he new land­scape in the sec­tor with Com­cast in con­trol of Sky and Dis­ney set to ex­pand its foot­print with telev ision and film as­sets from Fox.

In the quar­terly re­sults, Fox sa id its ca­ble net work pro­gram­ming op­er­a­tions de­liv­ered op­erat i ng ea r ni ngs of $1.54 bil­lion, a t wo per cent in­crease, amid higher af­fil­i­ate and ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enues.

Its telev ision unit saw a 38 per cent jump in op­erat ing profit to $168 mil­lion, helped by its re­sults from the World Cup broad­casts.

The f ilmed en­terta in­ment unit lifted op­er­at­ing earn­ings eight per cent to $277 mil­lion on im­prove­ment in TV stu­dio op­er­a­tions and li­cens­ing fees, although box of­fice rev­enues de­creased.

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