SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ News Corp., Rupert Murdoch's international media and entertainment conglomerate, said Thursday its earnings for the quarter ending in September rose 17 percent to 331 million Australian dollars ($232 million U.S.).

The result, up from 283 million Australian dollars ($198 million) in the year-earlier period, came on the back of a 23 percent rise in sales, to 3.89 billion Australian dollars ($2.72 billion).

The performance of News Corp.'s U.S. television operations as well as newspapers in Britain and Australia were especially strong, the company said.

In the United States, the operating income from Fox Broadcasting Co. and the Fox Television Station Group more than doubled to 187 million Australian dollars ($131 million).

In the U.K., newspapers recorded a 20 percent rise in total operating profits, with The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times all posting gains in advertising and circulation revenue.

The HarperCollins book-publishing unit returned to profitability, reflecting a more focused publishing strategy with fewer titles than a year ago and a significant drop in product returns, the company said.

News Corp. shares were up 21 cents (14.7 cents U.S.) at 7.17 Australian dollars ($5.02) in midday trading on the Australian Stock Exchange.