Thursday, August 8, 2019

Fox Corp. Posts $454M Profit

Fox Corp., which made two deals so far this week, will continue to look for acquisitions to boost its content holdings and forge closer ties to its audience, Chief Executive Lachlan Murdoch said, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“We are pursuing a strategy to expand our portfolio of owned and co-owned content,” Murdoch told analysts on a call to discuss the company’s quarterly results. He said the company would be “strategic and judicious” in its approach.

The company on Wednesday said revenue for its fourth quarter rose 5% from a year earlier to $2.51 billion, boosted by stronger performances in its cable network and broadcast TV segments. Analysts had expected $2.45 billion.

Lachlan Murdock
On Tuesday, Fox said it was buying Bento Box Entertainment, a prolific producer of animated content including the Fox network show “Bob’s Burgers.” The price for that acquisition was under $50 million, a person familiar with the matter said.

Fox also struck its first deal with a major TV producer signing Jeff Davis, whose credits include the CBS drama “Criminal Minds” and the MTV hit “Teen Wolf” to create shows for the broadcast network. Mr. Murdoch said Fox also will have an equity stake in most of the shows on the network.

While analysts cheered the content acquisitions, there was confusion as to how Fox’s $265 million deal announced Sunday for a controlling stake in Credible Labs—a consumer-lending marketplace—fits the company.

Murdoch defended the acquisition, saying the deal was a “no-brainer.” Credible’s users, he said, are very similar with the audience for news at Fox’s various holdings including its local TV stations, Fox News and the Fox Business Network.

Fox said its fourth-quarter revenue growth was driven by a 7% jump in affiliate revenue, and partially offset by a 6% decline in advertising revenue—which the company said was due to fewer FIFA World Cup matches and political ads.

Fox posted a profit of $454 million, or 73 cents a share, down 3.6% from $471 million, or 76 cents a share, a year earlier. On an adjusted basis, earnings were 62 cents a share, more than the 59 cents a share expected from analysts polled by FactSet.

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