Financial Reporting

Fox Reports Earnings Ahead of Disney Sale

The $71 billion deal won approval from European regulators this week.
William SprouseNovember 7, 2018

Twenty-First Century Fox reported earnings of 52 cents per share, in line with analyst expectations, for the third quarter.

The media behemoth reported quarterly income of $1.29 billion, up 54% from a year ago. Revenue was $7.18 billion for the quarter, up 2% from a year ago. Analysts had expected revenue of $7.22 billion.

Advertising sales were buoyed by the midterm elections and NFL and World Cup soccer games, which offset a lack of big film releases.

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The earnings report comes as Walt Disney Co. is set to buy the bulk of Fox for $71.3 billion, a deal approved by European antitrust regulators no Tuesday, subject to Fox’s sale of certain television channels.

The U.S. Department of Justice granted its approval to the deal earlier this year, provided that Disney divest Fox’s 22 regional sports networks.

Following the close of that deal, Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan will relaunch the company around Fox Broadcasting, Fox Sports and Fox News.

Fox is not hosting an analyst call, citing the Disney sale, which is expected to close in the first half of 2019, the company said.

“We continue to deliver against our growth plan even as we make important strides toward completing our Disney transaction and launching Fox in the first half of 2019,” Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch said.

The company saw a tax benefit of $220 million related to the sale of its stake in Sky, the U.K.-based satellite TV broadcaster, to Comcast for $15 billion.

Operating earnings increased 8% to $277 million, although the company’s Hulu unit saw losses of $113 million. Operating income from television was $168 million, up 38% year over year on a 20% increase in revenue.

Cable network programing generated operating income of $1.54 billion, up 2%, on a 4% increase in revenue.

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