February 4, 2015 / 9:19 PM / 3 years ago

Cable business, films help Fox beat estimates

Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman News Corp and Chairman and CEO 21st Century Fox speaks at the WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California October 29, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

(Reuters) - Twenty-First Century Fox Inc’s quarterly profit beat analysts’ estimates, helped by higher affiliate and advertising revenue in its cable business and the box-office success of “The Maze Runner” and “Gone Girl”.

Shares of the company, which owns cable networks such as Fox News and FX Networks, rose 2.4 percent in extended trading.

Revenue in the company’s cable network business rose 14 percent to $3.38 billion, accounting for 42 percent of total revenue.

Revenue in the filmed entertainment business rose 11 percent to $2.75 billion.

“Gone Girl”, a psychological thriller directed by Oscar-nominated director David Fincher, is about a man’s search for his missing wife even as suspicions grow among the public that he murdered her.

The movie grossed about $368 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo.

Fox grossed a larger chunk of theater ticket sales from “The Maze Runner”, which was released in September, in the October-December quarter.

The movie is a dystopian action thriller that follows Thomas, a 16-year-old boy, who finds himself in the middle of a giant constantly changing labyrinth along with other boys.

Net income attributable to shareholders jumped to $6.21 billion, or $2.88 per share, in the second quarter Dec. 31, from $1.21 billion, or 53 cents per share, a year earlier.

The latest-quarter results include a gain of $5.04 billion related to the company’s sale of its DBS businesses to Sky in November.

Excluding items, the company, helmed by media mogul Rupert Murdoch, earned 53 cents per share.

Revenue fell to $8.06 billion from $8.16 billion.

Analysts, on average, had expected a profit of 42 cents, on revenue of $7.36 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company also said it increased its dividend by 20 percent.

Reporting by Anya George Tharakan and Lehar Maan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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