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News Corp fiscal 2Q earns top expectations

February 6, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — News Corp., the publishing company controlled by Rupert Murdoch, reported second-quarter earnings that exceeded Wall Street forecasts while revenue declined as expected, reflecting slower advertising sales.

Net income in the three months through Dec. 31 amounted to $150 million, or 26 cents per share. That was less than the $1.40 billion in profit the company reported a year earlier, when it recorded a $1.3 billion gain from its acquisition of Australian pay TV company Consolidated Media Holdings Ltd.

Excluding charges for restructuring, a U.K. hacking probe and other matters, adjusted earnings were 31 cents per share, beating the 21 cents expected by analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue fell 4 percent to $2.24 billion, in line with expectations.

Shares of the New York company rose 4.2 percent to $16.70 in extended trading following the release of results, after closing regular trading up 2.6 percent at $16.02.

“The earnings report demonstrates a measure of progress as we navigate a challenging advertising market,” CEO Robert Thomson said in a statement. “We are continuing to be disciplined on costs.”

Revenue from its largest segment — news and information services — fell 9 percent to $1.61 billion, dragged down by a weakening Australian dollar, slower advertising revenue and the sale of Dow Jones Local Media Group, which ran 33 U.S. publications including the Cape Cod Times and The Pocono Record. The declines were slightly offset by higher subscription pricing at The Wall Street Journal and higher cover prices for The Sun in Britain and other newspapers.

Book publishing revenue grew 4 percent to $391 million as HarperCollins was boosted by the release of “Allegiant,” the final novel in Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” trilogy. E-book revenue grew 39 percent, making up 17 percent of book revenues, up from 14 percent a year ago.

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