Ed­u­ca­tion unit drags Ru­pert Mur­doch’s News Corp to loss in the last quar­ter

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

News Corp. said Wed­nes­day it swung to a loss in the last quar­ter, as it wrote down the value of its ed­u­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy busi­ness, called Am­plify.

The media group con­trolled by Ru­pert Mur­doch and his fam­ily said it was now re­view­ing “strate­gic al­ter­na­tives” for the ed­u­ca­tion busi­ness, which sought to de­liver dig­i­tal con­tent and an­a­lyt­ics to schools.

As a re­sult of the write­down and other one- time charges, News Corp posted a loss of US$ 379 mil­lion for the quar­ter end­ing June 30, fol­low­ing a profit of US$ 12 mil­lion in the same pe­riod last year.

Rev­enues for the pe­riod fell two per­cent to US$ 2.14 bil­lion for News Corp., which op­er­ates The Wall Street Jour­nal, New York Post, The Times of Lon­don, The Sun­day Times, a group of news­pa­pers in Aus­tralia and the HarperCollins book pub­lish­ing group.



solid per­for­mance across a num­ber of our busi­nesses, in­clud­ing the fast- grow­ing re­al­tor. com, we had a strong fourth quar­ter fin­ish to a good fis­cal year,” said chief ex­ec­u­tive Robert Thom­son.

In the News and In­for­ma­tion unit, rev­enues for the pe­riod dropped 10 per­cent from a year ago to US$ 1.4 bil­lion, while op­er­at­ing profit rose 29 per­cent to US$ 169 mil­lion.

Sickle cell dis­ease is an in­her­ited dis­or­der that is most com­mon in peo­ple of African, Mid­dle Eastern and South Asian de­scent. Its symp­toms in­clude se­vere pain and it leads to or­gan fail­ure and death. The Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health says a stem cell trans­plant from a donor is the only cure for the con­di­tion, but most pa­tients are too old for a trans­plant or can’t find a good enough ge­netic match. One drug is ap­proved to treat pain caused by sickle cell dis­ease, and blood trans­fu­sions are also used as treat­ments.

The com­pany’s of­fer­ing of 6 mil­lion shares priced at US$20 each raised a greater-thanex­pected US$120 mil­lion. The stock surged to a clos­ing price of US$43.11, a gain of 116 per­cent. Fac­tSet says the com­pany’s mar­ket cap­i­tal­iza­tion is now around US$3.5 bil­lion, and it’s the third biotech to have its shares more than dou­ble in value on their first day of trad­ing this year.

Gov­ern­ment-owned Solid Energy an­nounced it was plac­ing it­self into vol­un­tary ad­min­is­tra­tion, a process it hopes will al­low it to keep trad­ing as it tries to sell its as­sets. Whether any of its coal oper­a­tions re­main vi­able will be up to any po­ten­tial buy­ers to de­cide.

The com­pany em­ploys 540 staff di­rectly and another 200 con­trac­tors. At its peak, it was min­ing more than 4 mil­lion met­ric tons of coal each year, about 70 per­cent of which was used for mak­ing steel.

The com­pany said its large debt was ex­ac­er­bated by a drop in the price for hard cok­ing coal from over US$300 per met­ric ton in 2011 to about US$85 this year. Con­tribut­ing to the fall has been China’s slow­ing growth, some U.S. util­i­ties switch­ing to nat­u­ral gas, and a glut of sup­ply. gether, cus­tomers with hun­dreds of thou­sands of check­ing and sav­ings ac­counts were shorted mil­lions of dol­lars over six years start­ing in 2008, the reg­u­la­tors said Wed­nes­day. The ac­tion, the first of its kind, was brought by the Con­sumer Fi­nan­cial Pro­tec­tion Bureau, the Fed­eral De­posit In­sur­ance Corp. and the Trea­sury Depart­ment’s Of­fice of the Comptroller of the Cur­rency.

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