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Tax benefit lifts profit for Murdoch’s Fox

Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan, who share the title of executive chairman, welcomed “solid top-line revenue growth” at the group

New YorkUnited States, Feb 8 – Media-entertainment giant 21st Century Fox said Wednesday that profits had doubled in the past quarter, boosted by a one-time tax benefit from recently enacted US legislation.

The group led by mogul Rupert Murdoch and his family reported a net profit for shareholders of $1.83 billion in the final three months of 2017, up from $856 million a year earlier.

Revenues rose nearly five percent in the period to $8.04 billion for the company, which has struck a deal to sell a large portion of its film and television assets to Walt Disney Co.

Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan, who share the title of executive chairman, welcomed “solid top-line revenue growth” at the group, which includes the Fox studios in Hollywood, the Fox broadcast and cable operations, and other film and television operations.

“Our results also reflect increased investment behind higher volumes of global sporting events as well as film releases from our studio, which led the industry in Golden Globe awards and Oscar nominations,” the statement said.

The Murdochs said they expect to win regulatory approval in Britain to acquire full ownership in the pay TV group Sky, which would then be transferred to Disney upon approval of that tie-up.

“Looking ahead, we are focused on continuing to deliver value to our shareholders through achieving our near-term growth plans, completing our proposed acquisition of the balance of Sky, obtaining the required approvals for the successful completion of our transaction with Disney and planning for the exciting launch of the ‘new Fox.’”

The “new Fox” would be a more tightly focused group including Fox Broadcasting, local US television stations, Fox News Channel and some sports cable channels.

In the group’s fiscal first quarter, Fox reported modest changes in its film, television and cable programming units.

The results include a tax benefit of $1.34 billion, based on a reassessment of the company’s tax liability following passage of a major tax overhaul approved by Congress.

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Fox said its operating earnings were hit by lower advertising revenues from a drop in political ads at TV stations and lower ratings for National Football League games and Major League Baseball’s World Series.

The filmed entertainment segment saw a drop in earnings due to higher costs which offset increased revenues for its slate of films, which included “Murder On The Orient Express” and Oscar favorite “The Shape Of Water.”

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