First Fox Corp. Earnings Show Strong Cable News Revenue Growth

Lachlan Murdoch - St Bride's Church in London 2016 - Getty-H 2017
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Fox Corp., the Murdoch family's remaining assets after Disney's deal for most of 21st Century Fox, has Fox News as its financial crown jewel.

Fox Corp., the 21st Century Fox assets not acquired by Disney and rebranded as Fox, on Wednesday reported its first earnings release as a public company as it beat Wall Street analyst estimates.

The new-model Fox, run by Rupert Murdoch's son Lachlan Murdoch, for the third quarter to March 31 posted $529 million in net income, compared to a year-earlier $457 million, on overall revenues up 12 percent to $2.75 billion, compared to $2.46 billion in 2018.

Earnings on a per-share basis was 76 cents, which beat an analyst forecast of 67 cents. Fox Corp. also beat a total revenue forecast of $2.61 billion. That sent shares in Fox. Corp. higher in after-hours trading by $1.91, or 5 percent, to $39.33.

Around 90 percent of Fox Corp. consists of the Fox News brand, which includes Fox Business Network, and the stand-alone entity has a focus on TV, live events news and sports.

During the latest quarter, Fox Corp. posted higher overall revenues due to raised affiliate and advertising revenue growth from the TV business.

The cable network division saw revenues rise 4 percent to $1.38 billion, while the TV division, which includes Fox Entertainment, saw revenues jump 20 percent to $1.37 billion, in part due to higher digital sales at Fox News and stronger ratings for daily studio programming at FS1. 

After Disney acquired large parts of 21st Century Fox, the spinoff of Fox Corp. remained to house the Murdoch family's remaining assets, including Fox News Channel and the Fox broadcast network.

The slimmed-down Murdoch empire has Rupert Murdoch as co-chairman. The new Fox portfolio comprises sports, news and entertainment, including the Fox Broadcasting Network, Fox News, Fox Business Network and Fox Sports.

“Our first quarterly results as Fox Corporation demonstrate the strength of our businesses as we delivered strong top line growth across our operating segments and across our key revenue categories. Fox commences as a standalone company with strong assets in unique positions to succeed in the evolving media landscape," company CEO Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement.

Senior executives at Fox. Corp. will hold an Investors Day on Thursday, in part to discuss their financial results and strategy.