Twenty-First Century Fox beats Wall Street expectations

Wed Nov 2, 2016 5:55pm EDT
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By Jessica Toonkel and Aishwarya Venugopal

(Reuters) - Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (FOXA.O: Quote) reported first-quarter profits on Wednesday that beat Wall Street's expectations, as the company's cable channels and box office saw a boost in revenues.

Fox, which is home to Fox News Channel and FX, saw its cable division revenue rise nearly 10 percent to $3.81 billion in the first quarter, accounting for more than half of total revenue.

James Murdoch, chief executive officer at Fox, told analysts on a call Wednesday that he expects Fox's strong ratings during the presidential election campaign to help drive affiliate fees as it has some "significant renewals" approaching.

Fox News is the most watched cable news network and has maintained strong ratings in the wake of the high-profile departure of its former CEO Roger Ailes.

The company is not planning any changes to the network's strategy, Murdoch said on the call.

Revenues for its film division, buoyed by last summer's hits, "Independence Day: Resurgence" and "X-Men: Apocalypse" increased 6.8 percent in the quarter ended Sept. 30.

Fox does not feel any pressure to make a big acquisition despite the planned acquisition by telecommunications provider AT&T Inc (T.N: Quote) of Time Warner Inc (TWX.N: Quote), Murdoch told analysts on the call. Fox had made a bid for Time Warner in 2014, only to be rebuffed.

"There isn't a heightened appetite for inorganic activities," Murdoch told analysts. "We really try to be very disciplined about this."   Continued...

The flag of the Twenty-First Century Fox Inc is seen waving at the company headquarters in the Manhattan borough in New York June 11, 2015.  REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo