Robust ad sales and higher affiliate fees at 21st Century Fox’s cable networks helped revenues climb during the three-month period ending in December, helping the media conglomerate behind Fox News, 20th Century Fox, and Fox broadcasting easily top Wall Street’s forecasts.
The report comes as Fox has reached a deal to sell the bulk of its film and television assets to the Walt Disney Company in a deal valued at $52.4 billion. The pact is still awaiting regulatory approval. It’s not that Fox will disappear entirely, however. Rupert Murdoch and his family, the founders of Fox, will then spin off Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox Sports, Fox News, Fox Television Stations, and a handful of other assets into a new company that will have revenue of $10 billion and earnings of about $2.8 billion.
In the meantime, James Murdoch, CEO of 21st Century Fox, told analysts on an earnings call Wednesday that it was “business as usual” at the company until the government approves its sale to Disney.
Fox’s broadcast division got dinged by lower football ratings and declining World Series viewership. It also suffered tough comparisons to the prior year when the U.S. presidential campaign contributed to a surge in political ad spending.