'Borat' boosts News' Q2


A record performance by its film unit led by "Borat" and strong growth at MySpace helped boost fiscal second-quarter revenue at News Corp. by 18%, but the entertainment giant's profit fell 24% compared with last year, which included an asset sale gain (HR 2/8).

Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said during a conference call Feb. 7 that he sees "no better use" for News Corp.'s cash than continued stock buybacks, hinting that he has no major acquisitions on his radar. A potential deal with the Chandler family that is trying to buy Tribune Co. is focused on a potential joint operating agreement between Newsday and News Corp.'s New York Post, he said.

Murdoch and president and COO Peter Chernin also spent time laying out financials for News Corp.'s online assets and expressing their disappointment with higher-than-expected launch costs for MyNetworkTV, vowing to turn around the network as the year unfolds with its first major program changes coming in mid-March.

News Corp. reported a fiscal Q2 profit of $822 million, down from $1.1 billion a year ago, which included a $381 million gain from the sale of itsTSL Education unit.