August 8, 2016 / 10:12 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 2-News Corp revenue rises unexpectedly, snaps five quarters of declines

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Aug 8 (Reuters) - Rupert Murdoch's News Corp reported an unexpected 5.1 percent rise in quarterly revenue, helped by growth in its digital real estate business and in its news division that houses the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post.

An extra week in the fourth quarter ended June 30 also helped the New York-based company's revenue rise in the quarter and snap a streak of five straight quarters of declines.

The company's revenue rose to $2.23 billion from $2.12 billion. Analysts on average were expecting revenue to fall to $2.06 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue in News Corp's news and information division, its biggest, rose 1 percent to $1.42 billion. This is the first time the unit's revenue has increased since the company split from Twenty-First Century Fox in mid-2013.

The unit also includes the Dow Jones Newswires as well as the Times and the Sun in the UK and newspapers in Murdoch's native Australia.

The company emphasized that global print ad trends remained "challenging", but said it would continue its aggressive growth in digital.

"Digital subscriptions continue to grow and now account for approximately 45% of the subscriber base, while print sales have also risen tangibly in recent months," Chief Executive Robert Thomson said in a statement.

Thomson Reuters , the parent of Reuters News, competes for financial customers with News Corp's Dow Jones and Bloomberg LP.

Revenue in News Corp's fast-growing online real estate services business rose 21.2 percent to $229 million, primarily from growth in its REA Group and Move businesses, as well as the acquisitions of iProperty and Diakrit.

Revenue in News Corp's book publishing business, which includes HarperCollins, rose 11 percent to $433 million, driven by sales of popular titles such as "The Nest" by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney and "The Rainbow Comes and Goes" by journalist Anderson Cooper.

News Corp reported net income available to shareholders of $89 million, or 15 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $379 million, or 65 cents per share.

Excluding items, it earned 10 cents per share from continuing operations, missing analysts' estimates of 13 cents. (Reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)

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