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News Corp. posts lower 4th-quarter profit

/ Source: The Associated Press

News Corp., the media conglomerate run by Rupert Murdoch, reported an 8 percent increase in earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter on Wednesday, thanks in part to growth in its cable TV business and the Fox broadcast network.

The company, which recently announced plans to move its headquarters from Murdoch’s native Australia to New York, earned $399 million in the quarter ending June 30, up from $370 million in the comparable period a year ago.

Net earnings per U.S.-listed share were equivalent to 27 cents versus 28 cents a year ago. Excluding one-time items, the company reported earnings of 29 cents per share compared to 24 cents per share, a penny ahead of the estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

The results were released after the close of regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange, where News Corp.’s shares fell 52 cents to end at $32.

Revenues grew 20 percent in the quarter to $5.52 billion from $4.59 billion.

The company reported that operating income at its cable networks rose 60 percent in the quarter over the same period a year ago, which was partly attributable to the absence of losses from the Los Angeles Dodgers, which the company sold in the prior quarter.

Operating income at News Corp.’s broadcast TV unit rose 21 percent versus a year ago, as advertising revenues at Fox grew along with ratings of prime time shows including “American Idol.”

For its full fiscal year, News Corp. reported net earnings of $1.65 billion, or $1.17 per share, versus $1.05 billion, or 79 cents per share, in the prior fiscal year. Full-year revenues grew 20 percent to $20.96 billion from $17.47 billion.