Revenues and profits rose at 21st Century Fox during its most recent financial quarter, even as the company behind "The Simpsons," "Avatar," and "The Ingraham Angle" is poised to be sold or reconstituted.
Quarterly earnings for the three-month period ending December hit $ 10.83 billion, or $ 5.81 per share, compared to $ 1.84 billion or $ 0.99 a share, a huge jump which was attributed to the sale of the company's investment in the giant Sky, pay-TV. When the money from Sky's sale was taken from the photo, things did not look so optimistic. Adjusted quarterly profit per share was 37 cents, 12% less than the 42 cents in adjusted profit reported in the same quarter of the previous year. This drop in profits was largely due to the loss of Sky as a source of profits. Then Heaven gives and takes away the land.
Revenues of US $ 8.50 billion represented a 6% increase from the US $ 8.04 billion registered in the quarter of the previous year, which the company is due to the increase in advertising and affiliate revenues, as well as to the success of the movie Freddie Mercury, Bohemian Rhapsody. Wall Street had projected earnings per share of 33 cents, an estimate that Fox hit. Analysts also predicted revenue of $ 8.50 billion, a figure Fox has reached.
Fox's movie revenue operating income rose 47 percent to $ 193 million, almost entirely attributed to the Oscar-nominated Bohemian Rhapsody's popularity, and the cable TV unit rose 7 percent to $ 1.45 billion . Higher sports programming costs took a portion of the television unit's profits, leading the division to a loss of $ 22 million.
The report reaches the point where Fox prepares to be absorbed by the Walt Disney Company in a $ 71.3 billion mega-deal. After the acquisition is completed, 20th Century Fox, FX, Nat Geo and other properties will be part of the Disney empire. That will leave Fox, Fox News and some other channels to be reconfigured into a new entity that will be led by Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan Murdoch.
In September, Fox announced it would sell its stake in Sky after losing a bidding war with Comcast for the full ownership of the UK-based broadcaster.
Disney reported earnings Tuesday. The media conglomerate had a stronger-than-expected financial picture, although its gains fell and revenue remained virtually stable. In a teleconference with analysts, Disney CEO and President Bob Iger predicted that the combined companies will become the "first global entertainment company." Due to the pending merger, Fox will not hold a conference call with investors after its earnings report.
The agreement with Disney still needs final regulatory approval. Fox said it expected final approval to occur in the first half of 2019, but experts say the sale may close at the end of February.