LOS ANGELES – Media conglomerate News Corp. (NWS) on Wednesday posted a 67-percent increase in fourth-quarter profit, beating analysts' forecasts, as subscriber gains at Sky Italia and newspapers helped offset weaker television operations.
The owner of the 20th Century Fox (search) film studio and the New York Post posted a net profit of $717 million, or 22 cents per share, up from $429 million, or 15 cents per share, in the year-ago period.
Revenues rose 12 percent to $6.1 billion from $5.5 billion over the same period.
News Corp also said it increased its dividend for fiscal 2005 to 12 cents per Class A common stock and 10 cents per Class B common stock.
Analysts, on average, had forecast fourth-quarter earnings of 17 cents per share on revenue of $5.8 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.
On a full-year basis, net income rose to $2.1 billion, or 69 cents per diluted share, from $1.5 billion, or 54 cents per diluted share.
For the full year, operating income rose 22 percent to $3.6 billion from $2.9 billion in fiscal 2004.
The company's filmed entertainment segment said fourth-quarter operating income rose to $109 million from $95 million. Its television operating income fell to $344 million from $351 million, reflecting softness in advertising.
Cable Network Programming showed operating income of $137 million, up $17 million from the year-ago fourth quarter.
News Corp also extended the expiration date of its stockholder rights plan for an additional two-year period. It was originally scheduled to expire on Nov. 8, 2005.
News Corp shares rose 25 cents, or 1.45 percent, to close at $17.44 on the New York Stock Exchange (search).
New York-based News Corp. is the parent of numerous media enterprises, including Fox News Channel (search), FX Networks, HarperCollins Publishers (search), Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., DirecTV and British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC.