21st Century Fox on Wednesday reported higher fiscal first-quarter earnings in line with Wall Street expectations.
The company, led by executive co-chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch and CEO James Murdoch, reported adjusted earnings of 52 cents per share, which compared with 49 cents per share in the year-ago period and was in line with Wall Street expectations.
Other profitability metrics were also higher. Quarterly income from continuing operations before income tax expense of $1.48 billion increased 15 percent. And total segment operating income before depreciation and amortization rose 5 percent to $1.87 billion, driven by higher contributions reported at the firm’s broadcast TV, cable networks and filmed entertainment units.
When including a $220 million non-cash tax benefit related to the sale of Fox’s 39 percent stake in European pay TV giant Sky to Comcast, quarterly income from continuing operations would have hit $1.29 billion, or 69 cents per share, up 54 percent over the year-ago period.
Fiscal first-quarter revenue increased 2 percent to $7.18 billion on higher affiliate and advertising revenue in the broadcast and cable TV segments, “partially offset by lower theatrical revenue reported at the filmed entertainment segment.” The impact of foreign exchange rates adversely affected the latest financials, Fox highlighted.
The company, which this summer agreed to sell most of its businesses to the Walt Disney Co. for $71.3 billion, will not hold an earnings conference call due to the deal, which is expected to close during the first half of 2019.
While foreign operations were hit by foreign-currency effects, domestic cable unit revenue increased 7 percent, “led by higher affiliate and advertising revenues partially offset by lower content revenue due to lower third-party licensing of scripted content at FX Networks.” The domestic operations’ OIBDA contribution increased 6 percent, led by higher contributions from Fox News and the regional sports networks.