News Corp’s Revenue, Profit Rise

News Corp


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posted a 23% gain in revenue for its latest quarter, driven by the impact of consolidating its Australian television assets but offset by lower print-advertising revenue at its news unit.

Total revenue in the fiscal first quarter ended Sept. 30 was $2.52 billion, up from $2.06 billion a year earlier. The company reported profit of $128 million, or 17 cents a share, up from $87 million, or 12 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Thomson OnNewsToday had forecast quarterly revenue of $2.54 billion and earnings per share of 4 cents. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 44% to $358 million.

“Our growth in revenue and earnings reaffirmed our strategy to focus on digital development, and to put particular emphasis on subscriptions as the advertising market continues to evolve,” Chief Executive Robert Thomson said Wednesday.

In April, News Corp completed the merger of Foxtel and Fox Sports Australia and wound up with a controlling stake in the resulting entity, which is now one of the largest pay-TV, sports and entertainment outlets in Australia.

At the company’s news and information-services business, the largest unit that houses publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Times of London and New York Post, revenue rose 1% from a year earlier to $1.25 billion.

Advertising revenue for the entire news unit declined 7%, while circulation and subscription revenue rose 2%. The ad revenue decline was accelerated by foreign-currency fluctuations, the company said, with an 11% drop at News Australia and a 10% decline at News UK.

At Dow Jones, publisher of the Journal, ad revenue was flat.

Circulation revenue gains were boosted by a 7% increase at Dow Jones. New digital subscriptions at the Journal were flat compared with the prior quarter. At the end of September, the Journal had 1.584 million digital subscribers, compared with 1.59 million at end of June.

Ebitda rose 57% in the news unit, boosted by a $48 million breakup fee from exiting an online-gambling partnership in the U.K.

News Corp’s digital-real-estate business posted an 8% gain in revenue to $293 million. Ebitda rose 11%.

Revenue in News Corp’s book-publishing segment rose 4% to $418 million, boosted by sales of Rachel Hollis’s “Girl Wash your Face,” and Daniel Silva’s “The Other Woman.”

Write to Lukas I. Alpert at lukas.alpert@wsj.com

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