News Corp stocks soar on back of strong return

Photo / AP
Photo / AP

Rupert Murdoch's newspaper business News Corporation has produced a third consecutive profit since being split from the group's more profitable TV and film assets.

The so-called "new" News Corporation produced a US$150 million net profit for the second quarter of the 2013/14 financial year.

In 2013 Murdoch bowed to pressure from investors not interested in his newspapers and their falling circulation, and split the company's operations into a media and entertainment business and separate publishing arm.

However, despite ad income falling, the newspaper-dominated group is still making money, posting a US$38 million first-quarter net profit and US$506 million full-year profit in 2012/13, when it was not formally split but released a result for the publishing assets.

Investors sent the stock soaring yesterday, with its ordinary shares up $1.45, or 8.4 per cent, at $18.65 and non-voting shares up 9.1 per at $19.00 by 14422 following a 5 per cent rise in its US listing.

Profit rose 9 per cent at the earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) level to a better-than-forecast US$327 million from a year ago. That was due to large earnings jumps in its pay TV division through more Foxtel subscriptions, digital real estate and book publishing businesses and lower restructuring costs and expenses from the UK hacking investigation.

Quarterly earnings for the newspapers, which include the Australian, Herald Sun and Wall Street Journal, fell 13 per cent to US$255 million.

While the Australian newspaper ad revenues are falling far more than in the US and UK, it was largely due to the weaker Australian dollar, rather than businesses using online rivals instead.

- AAP

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