(Reuters) - Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp on Wednesday posted a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit, aided by its cable networks and movie studio business, and its shares rose more than 4 percent in post-market trade.
The company’s fiscal third-quarter net income rose to $937 million, or 38 cents a share, from $639 million, or 24 cents a share, a year ago.
On an adjusted basis, News Corp earned 37 cents, compared with the 31 cents expected on average by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue increased 2 percent to $8.4 billion.
At its cable networks, which include FX and Fox News, revenue rose 16 percent on an increase in affiliate fee revenue from cable and satellite distributors. Advertising revenue at its domestic cable channels rose 10 percent.
Operating income at the company’s movie unit rose 9.7 percent to $272 million, on the success of films like “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” and “The Descendants.”
Murdoch and his company have been embroiled in a phone hacking scandal at its UK newspapers that has reverberated throughout the wider New York-based media conglomerate.
A UK parliamentary select committee report published last week said Murdoch was unfit to run a major international business. The News Corp board came out in full support of Murdoch, saying he had shown vision and leadership in building the business.
On a conference call with analysts Murdoch’s second in command, Chase Carey, reiterated his support for his boss, saying he “flatly rejects” any notion Murdoch was unfit to run the business.
Murdoch did not make an appearance at the quarterly conference call with analysts. Murdoch has in recent quarters left the call to Carey and Chief Financial Officer Dave Devoe. Murdoch usually shows up at the end of financial year call in August.
News Corp said its board approved another $5 billion in share buybacks, bringing the approved program to a total of $10 billion, to be completed by the end of the 2013 fiscal year.
In after-market trade, News Corp shares were up 4.4 percent at $20.25, after closing at $19.38 on the Nasdaq.
Reporting by Yinka Adegoke; Editing by Steve Orlofsky