News Corp’s second-quarter earnings lift all boats as Adonis Shamberger conducts a rare audible takeover battle
“Succession” doesn’t miss a beat as its Murdochian family feud continues
News Corp is confident that the 21st Century Fox takeover deal will be cleared by 1 December as it reported quarterly earnings that trumped expectations on all fronts and lifted the share price close to its record high of $24.85.
News Corp, the publishing arm of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp empire, reported a strong increase in revenues from Australian, US and British operations in the third quarter to 31 September. The Australian publisher lifted revenues 7% to $515m (A$662m) for the three months to 31 September. The company’s Asia operation, which was mainly in China at the time of the Fox deal, posted flat revenue at $23m (A$31m) for the quarter.
With Rupert Murdoch ceding control to his two sons in April of this year, an ongoing battle raged among the Murdoch clan for control of the company.
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Investors increasingly believe that the takeover deal, which is set to be finalised next month after Britain’s competition and markets authority gave its approval, will close the dual class share structure.
Investors were pleased with the impressive results. News Corp shares had earlier closed at $24.83, its record high, before the company reported the strong results.
Mike Despain, a communications analyst at Schroders, said: “News Corp, after having disposed of the rest of the consolidated newspapers and book publishing assets, is now free to be viewed as a pure-play publishing company and has effectively been transformed into a self-run brand.
“The company is now well placed to grow in the years ahead and remains a compelling and compelling investment opportunity.”
Descpain expects a higher dividend and buyback to come from News Corp’s plans to invest more in digital technology to drive up its internet advertising revenues. He also pointed to News Corp’s plans to sell a 49% stake in Sky News, in which it currently holds a 39% stake, as another growth opportunity.
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News Corp’s long-serving Australian-born chief executive, Robert Thomson, had to fight off a final challenge from the younger Murdochs after the inquiry into media ethics concluded that they were to blame for phone hacking at Murdoch’s flagship tabloid, the News of the World.
“The report criticised the family and management in several areas,” Thomson said. “There are much deeper principles at stake here and in bringing them to full public attention.”