News Corp Revenues Fall in Second Quarter

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Rupert Murdoch

Still, shares of the Rupert Murdoch company are up thanks to better-than-expected adjusted earnings.

When News Corp shareholders approved a split of the company's assets last June, chairman Rupert Murdoch said the dividing of entertainment assets and publishing assets would unlock the company's true value. This year brings early indications of whether the plan is working out.

On Thursday, News Corp announced that in the financial quarter for the three months ending on Dec. 31, 2013, total revenues were down 4 percent to $2.24 billion. The revenue declines were attributed to lower advertising revenues in the news and information segments of the company, foreign exchange fluctuations and the sale of the Dow Jones Local Media Group.

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Net income was $150 million for News Corp's second quarter, compared to $1.4 billion in the prior year. That's not quite a drop-off, as it might seem. The prior year was impacted by a $1.3 billion gain related to the acquisition of Consolidated Media Holdings.

Perhaps most important for shareholders was the fact that earnings were ahead of analyst expectations. News Corp's share price is up more than 4 percent in after-hours trading.

News Corp's publishing assets include The Wall Street Journal and The Sun. That division, which comprises more than 2/3 of the company, experienced a 9 percent fall-off in revenue. Surprisingly, the book division, which includes HarperCollins, is holding its own, up 4 percent in revenue from the same quarter in the previous year.