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The Globe and Mail

News Corp. posts $1.5-billion loss on restructuring charge

The News Corporation building is seen in New York, July 13, 2011.


Rupert Murdoch's News Corp posted a quarterly loss on Wednesday after taking $2.85-billion (U.S.) of restructuring and impairment charges that overshadowed growth at its cable networks, the company's only major bright spot.

All of its other main divisions performed less well than a year ago.

After adjusting for the charges related to a writedown of its publishing operating business - predominately in Australia - News Corp earned 32 cents down from 35 cents a year ago.

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The company's adjusted profit met analysts' average expectations, but its shares were off 3 per cent in after-market trading.

News Corp posted a fiscal fourth-quarter net loss of $1.55 billion, or 64 cents per share, compared with a profit of $683-million, or 26 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue fell 6.7 percent to $8.4 billion during the quarter.

Chief Financial Officer Dave Devoe said the company expects high single to low double-digit percentage growth in operating income in the current fiscal year, ending June 30, 2013.

The company said it sees double-digit growth driven by its cable networks offsetting weaker performance at such units as Sky Italia.

At its cable networks, operating profit rose 26 per cent on a 16 per cent increase in affiliate fee revenue from cable, phone and satellite TV distributors. Advertising revenue at its domestic cable channels rose 5 percent.

Operating income at the company's movie unit fell 43 per cent to $120-million.

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Fox Broadcasting also saw operating income fall 8.5 per cent.

News Corp. owns Fox Broadcasting in the United States, the FX and Fox News cable networks, and such newspapers as The Wall Street Journal and The Sun in the UK. It is also parent of the Twentieth Century Fox studios.

The company said in June it would separate its publishing and entertainment assets by next year in move to satisfy shareholders.

The publishing business reported a 48 per cent drop in operating income to $139-million due to lower advertising revenue at its UK and Australian newspapers as well as its integrated marketing business. It was also affected by the a litigation settlement charge at its Harper Collins book publisher.

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