21st Century Fox loss shrinks after company split

AP News
Posted: Aug 06, 2013 7:23 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Entertainment media company 21st Century Fox shrank its fiscal fourth-quarter loss after the owner of Fox News Channel and FX shed the publishing division that caused a big write-down a year earlier.

The New York-based company controlled by Rupert Murdoch split from News Corp. in June to focus on its TV and movie business and separate itself from its challenged print newspaper operations.

The loss in the three months to June 30 came to $371 million, or 16 cents per share. In the same months a year ago, the loss came to $1.55 billion, or 64 cents per share.

Excluding the spun-off divisions and one-time items, however, Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. posted a profit of 31 cents per share.

Revenue rose 16 percent to $7.21 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected adjusted earnings of 34 cents per share on revenue of $7.14 billion.

Shares rose $1.02, or 3.3 percent, to $32.25 in after-hours trading Tuesday following the release of results.

The company plans to include results for the publicly traded publishing company, which retained the original company's name, News Corp., in a securities filing in the coming weeks.

21st Century Fox included the divisions that make up News Corp. in its discontinued operations, which posted an operating loss of $1.35 billion, down from $2.15 billion a year ago. News Corp. contains TV channels in Australia as well as newspapers around the world including The Wall Street Journal and The Times in Britain.

21st Century Fox's pay TV channel revenue rose 16 percent to $2.95 billion, thanks to fee increases charged to distributors like cable and satellite TV companies, and a 10 percent increase in global advertising revenues.

Revenue from local Fox broadcast TV stations was flat at $1.10 billion, as higher fees from distributors were offset by lower advertising revenue due to smaller audiences for "American Idol" and "X-Factor."

Movie studio revenue grew 3 percent to $2.04 billion, while revenue from its satellite TV business in Europe rose 45 percent to $1.38 billion, mainly because it included all of Sky Deutschland's results after taking a majority stake.

The company said it expects operating income, excluding one-time items, to rise by a "high single- to low double-digit" percentage in the fiscal year through June 2014 from $6.26 billion in the year just ended.

Growth would be faster except that the company expects to spend more than $200 million launching several new channels, including its new national sports network, Fox Sports 1, next week. The company is hoping to build the network into a rival to Disney's flagship, ESPN.

The company also plans to spend another $150 million to bolster its Fox broadcast network to shore up some of the decline caused by falling ratings for "Idol." The broadcast network is juggling its judges panel and retooling the show for its upcoming 13th season.

"It's a fact 'Idol' did not deliver as we hoped," Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey said on a conference call with analysts. "It's still a profitable show and a Top 5 show. We think there's an opportunity to re-emphasize that."