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Fox Reports Higher Third-Quarter Earnings

(Image credit: Fox Corp.)

Fox reported higher net income in its fiscal third quarter, led by its cable programming operations.

Net income rose to $314 million, or 48 cents a share from $24 million. The increase reflected in part the sale of Fox’s stake in Roku and re-valuing other investments. Adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net income were down from a year ago.

Revenues were up 5% to $3.78 billion.

Affiliate revenue grew 7% to $1.4 billion and ad revenue rose 1% to $2.01 billion.

Earnings for Fox’s cable networks rose 7% to $556 million from $519 million a year ago as revenues rose 2% to $1.469 billion from $1.434 billion. Affiliate revenues rose 2% to $957 million. Ad revenues slid 5% to $337 million from $353 a year ago.

Expenses were essentially flat as higher costs at Fox News Media were offset by lower sports programming rights amortization at Fox Sports, led by the absence of Ultimate Fighting Championship content in the current quarter, the company said.

Fox’s television business had a loss of $214 million, which grew from $14 million a year ago. Revenues rose 5% to $2.266 billion from $2.149 a year ago. Affiliate revenue rose 18% to $479 million. Ad revenue rose 2% to $1.673 billion. Higher sports and entertainment ad revenue from the Fox network offset the loss of political advertising at Fox’s owned TV stations.

Expenses at the TV business rose because of higher rights and production costs at Fox Sports, with increases for NFL content and the cost of launching WWE Friday Night Smackdown. The TV unit also had higher investment in scripted programming at Fox Entertainment.

“Our results reaffirm that Fox Corporation is delivering on the operational and financial objectives that we established less than twelve months ago,” said CEO Lachlan Murdoch.

“Our brands are exhibiting strength in a competitive marketplace and delivering healthy top-line growth as we continue to invest strategically to expand the reach of our portfolio and further diversify our revenue streams. Meanwhile, we are taking a balanced approach to capital allocation, including the return of $500 million to shareholders in the form of share repurchases since our last earnings release,” Murdoch said. “Coming off an incredibly successful Super Bowl LIV and with the buildup to the November Presidential Election ahead of us, we look forward to continuing our momentum through calendar 2020.”