Write-down contributes to 30% drop in profit

times wire services

News Corp. said its first-quarter net income fell 30% from a year earlier because of a large write-down and a drop in ad revenue at its TV stations.

Net income at the company run by billionaire Rupert Murdoch fell to $515 million, or 20 cents a share.

A year earlier, net income was $732 million, or 23 cents.

Revenue rose 6.3% to $7.5 billion.


Operating income fell 9% to $953 million, compared with $1.1 billion reported a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected first-quarter earnings per share to fall 2% to 23 cents on revenue of $7.7 billion, 8% higher than a year earlier.

Before the earnings announcement, News Corp. shares closed down $1.06 on Wednesday, or 9.6%, to $9.93. They fell a further 21 cents, or 2.1%, to $9.72 in after-hours trading.

The write-down included $447 million in investment losses from Premiere, a German pay-TV and radio service.

Movie revenue from 20th Century Fox and other studios fell 20% to $1.3 billion in the quarter, and television revenue fell 15% to $974 million. But cable network programming revenue rose 19% to $1.3 billion.

Revenue from newspapers and information services rose 37% to $1.7 billion after the acquisition of Dow Jones & Co., which owns the Wall Street Journal.