News Corp. posted a sharp rise in quarterly net profit Wednesday as strong television and film growth offset declines in publishing and an $87 million charge related to the phone-hacking scandal in Britain.
News Corp., which owns the Fox television networks and 20th Century Fox movie studio in addition to newspapers in Australia, Britain and the United States, said net profit rose 65 percent in the second quarter of its fiscal year to $1.06 billion.
Revenue at Rupert Murdoch's media and entertainment empire was up two percent in the quarter over the same quarter a year ago to $8.98 billion.
Earnings per share of 39 cents were better than the 34 cents per share expected by Wall Street analysts.
"I am particularly pleased with the success of our business strategies in spite of the uncertain economic conditions that we continue to face," Murdoch, News Corp.'s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.
"News Corporation's commitment to delivering value to our stockholders is unwavering and we will continue to focus on generating superior shareholder returns," Murdoch said.
News Corp. said its second-quarter results included an $87 million charge related to the costs of the ongoing investigations stemming from phone-hacking at the now-shuttered News of the World.
News Corp. executives said on a conference call with financial analysts and reporters that most of the charge was related to legal fees and not settlements with phone-hacking victims.
"In our publishing segment this is clearly a tough year as we're seeking significant year-over-year declines in the UK papers (and) the Australian papers," News Corp. chief operating officer Chase Carey said.
Carey said he expected the British publishing segment to be down more than $150 million for the full fiscal year, mostly as a result of lost revenue from the closure of The News of the World.
"In the UK, the impact from the closure of The News of the World has been exacerbated by a very tough economy but as we've said many times we're committed to making things right in the UK," Carey said.
"In Australia, the economy has also severely impacted our business," he added.
News Corp. said operating income at its cable network programming division rose to $882 million in the quarter from $735 million a year ago.
Operating income for the film division grew to $393 from $189 million a year ago.
Operating income from publishing fell to $218 million from $380 million a year ago.
News Corp. shares were down 1.89 percent at $19.25 in after-hours electronic trading.