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Fox closes fiscal year with strong quarterly earnings as acquisition by Disney nears

The 21st Century Fox logo is shown outside the media company's New York headquarters office.
The 21st Century Fox logo is shown outside the media company’s New York headquarters office.
(Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)

As it prepares for Walt Disney Co. to close the deal to acquire most of its assets, 21st Century Fox finished the fiscal year on a strong note, beating expectations for the fourth quarter with robust performances across its business segments, including cable programming and the 20th Century Fox movie studio.

Fox on Wednesday reported adjusted fiscal fourth quarter earnings of 57 cents a share, beating the estimate of 53 cents based on analysts polled by Factset. The earnings represented a large jump from the year-ago quarter, when Fox reported 36 cents per share.

For the record:

12:40 PM, Aug. 09, 2018A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to the Fox Business Network as the Fox Business Channel.

Revenue for the quarter was $7.94 billion, an 18% increase from the $6.75 billion reported in the prior year’s fourth quarter. Analysts had estimated revenue of $7.56 billion for the period.

Shares of Fox were mixed in after-hours trading Wednesday. Before the earnings were posted, the stock closed down for the day less than a tenth of a percent to $45.46.

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Fox’s filmed entertainment division swung to an operating profit during the quarter, thanks in part to titles such as “Deadpool 2” and the Oscar-winning “The Shape of Water,” which was from Fox Searchlight. The division posted an operating profit of $289 million for the quarter, compared with a loss of $22 million a year earlier.

The cable network programming division also posted gains at top-rated Fox News, and the company’s sports channels continued to perform well. The division reported operating income of $1.61 billion for the quarter, up from $1.44 billion in the year-earlier period.

Disney is in the process of acquiring most of Fox’s entertainment assets in a $71.3-billion deal. Fox shareholders ratified the acquisition during a meeting in July. The slimmed-down “new” Fox will consist of Fox News, the Fox Business Network, several sports cable channels as well as the Fox broadcast network.

david.ng@latimes.com

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@DavidNgLAT


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