Digest: News sells Fairfax stake

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Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. said Monday that it has sold its 7.5% stake in Australian newspaper publisher John Fairfax Holdings Ltd. The conglomerate acquired the stake in October, ahead of a change in media ownership rules, saying the move was not a precursor to a takeover of Fairfax. A source told Reuters that News Corp. made a profit on the sale in U.S. dollar terms as the value of its holding rose from $3.95 a share to $4.16. A News Corp. spokesman confirmed the sale, but wouldn't say what the generated cash would be used for. Last week, News Corp. unveiled a $5 billion takeover play for Dow Jones & Co., which ran into opposition from key shareholders. Dow Jones flagship newspaper the Wall Street Journal reported Monday that two former top executives of the company have also joined the ranks of those favoring the firm's independence.

Cablevision upgrade

Citigroup analyst Jason Bazinet upgraded shares of Cablevision Systems from "sell" to "hold" on Monday and boosted his price target from $25 to $36, citing the planned buyout by the Dolan family, which controls the cable operator. "We think it's highly unlikely that the deal falls apart or a rival cable firm offers more than $36 a share," Bazinet wrote in a report. "As such, we expect the stock to be range bound."

Entercom loss

Radio station operator Entercom Communications Corp. swung to a first-quarter loss because of a 22% increase in operating costs, mainly thanks to a new station in San Francisco. The Bala Cynwyd, Pa.-based firm posted a loss of $564,000, compared with a profit of $7.8 million a year ago. Revenue rose 10% to $100 million driven by the addition of new stations. Revenue from stations operated for at least a year edged up 1% to $90.7 million. Entercom said operating costs jumped to $84.3 million.
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