Shares in News Corp rose 4 percent in after-hours trading after
closing at $16.02 on Thursday.
This is the second quarter that News Corp, whose chairman is Rupert
Murdoch, has reported results as a stand-alone company after
separating from its entertainment and TV properties now known as
21st Century Fox.
While News Corp beat expectations, it faces challenges besetting
other newspaper publishers as advertisers pull back spending and
readers favor smartphones over print.
"We are determined to be disciplined about costs, determined to be
leaders in an increasingly digital world, and determined to take
carefully calculated risks," News Corp Chief Executive Robert
Thomson said during a call with analysts.
Thomson and other executives shed some light on the abrupt departure
of former Dow Jones CEO Lex Fenwick in the wake of a sharp drop in
sales at its enterprise business.
Dow Jones institutional revenue, which includes its products like
Newswires and news database Factiva, fell $17 million in the quarter
from a year earlier. Executives did not break out the total number.
Thomson noted that Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal,
is reviewing its strategy after Fenwick took a risky bet on a new
product called DJX, a Web-based platform that bundled Dow Jones
products with a rigid pricing structure.
"These decisive actions were taken following an intensive assessment
of the state of the business which made quite clear to us the need
for prompt action," Thomson said, later noting that enterprise
segment is "core" to News Corp.
Thomson Reuters, which reports earnings on February 12, competes
with Dow Jones in providing news and financial data.
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Along with the Journal, News Corp also publishes newspapers
including the Times of London and The Australian, and owns book
publisher HarperCollins, Australian pay-TV and digital real estate
stakes, as well as education company Amplify.
News Corp said that revenue at its News and Information Services
fell 9 percent to $1.6 billion on soft advertising and subscription
sales. Australian newspaper properties have been especially
challenged; their advertising revenue plunged 20 percent in the
quarter. But News Corp said those declines were moderating.
Advertising revenue at the Wall Street Journal declined in the low
to mid single digits. By comparison the New York Times, which
reported earnings earlier on Thursday, saw a 1 percent drop in ad
For the quarter ending December, News Corp said revenue was $2.24
billion, in line with analysts' estimates of $2.22 billion,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net income fell to $151 million, or 26 cents per share, from $1.4
billion or $2.42 per share. The year-ago quarter included a gain
related to its acquisition of Foxtel and Fox Sports in Australia.
Adjusted EPS of 31 cents was well above analysts' forecast of 20
(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York;
editing by David Gregorio and Matthew Lewis)
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