Twenty-First Century Fox tops profit estimates as cable shines


(Reuters) – Rupert Murdoch-controlled Twenty-First Century Fox Inc’s (FOXA.O) quarterly profit and revenue trounced analysts’ estimates on Wednesday, driven by higher sales through cable and satellite companies. Shares of the media company, which is selling some of its film and TV assets to Walt Disney Co (DIS.N), were up 1 percent in extended trading. Revenue from Fox’s cable division, which houses the Fox News and FX channels among others, rose 11 percent to $4.41 billion, accounting for more than half of total revenue in the quarter. That beat analysts’ average estimate of $4.33 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Fox’s ad revenue can vary from quarter to quarter depending on events, but like its peers, has been hit by viewers’ increasing preference for streaming services. Revenue at Fox’s filmed entertainment division fell 1 percent to $2.25 billion, but beat analysts’ estimate of $2.23 billion. Revenue at its television unit, which houses Fox Broadcasting, fell 5.8 percent to $1.81 billion, as the year-ago quarter included strong ratings during the U.S presidential election and the World Series. Analysts on average had expected $1.82 billion. Fox’s strategy is to focus on sports and news after it sells other assets to Disney. Fox last week announced a deal to air Thursday Night National Football League games on its broadcast network for the next five seasons. Total revenue rose 4.6 percent to $8.04 billion, beating analysts’ estimate of $7.94 billion. Net income attributable to shareholders increased to $1.83 billion, or 99 cents per share, in the second quarter ended Dec. 31, from $856 million, or 46 cents per share, a year earlier. The quarter was helped by a $1.34 billion gain from the recent changes to the U.S. tax law. ( Excluding items, Fox earned 42 cents per share, topping analysts’ estimate of 38 cents. (This version of the story was refiled to change the phrasing ‘its’ in lead to ‘through’) Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj KalluvilaOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Source: Reuters