Biz Briefs

May 19, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. swung to a fiscal third-quarter profit of $275 million, or 9 cents per American depository receipt, as revenue for the company rose, in part on the strength of Fox Entertainment Group.
The company reported last week that revenue rose 14 percent to $4.39 billion, as the company’s movie, television and cable units all reported sizable jumps in revenue for the quarter.
A year earlier, the company reported red ink of $3.99 billion, or $3.16 per ADR, driven largely by a $4.1 billion write-down of News Corp.’s investment in the troubled Gemstar-TV Guide International.
The company’s Fox Entertainment unit delivered a 39 percent increase in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to $542 million, while revenue climbed 9 percent to $2.7 billion and operating income soared 129 percent to $464 million. Company officials attributed the gains to the strength of the filmed entertainment operation, which had strong box office results for such films as Daredevil and Just Married, and to robust performance at the Fox broadcast network, which saw a 32 percent ratings jump due in part to Joe Millionaire and American Idol.
Narrowed First-Quarter Loss for Paxson
Paxson Communications last week reported a narrowed first-quarter loss of $23.3 million, or 35 cents a share, from year-earlier red ink of $199.5 million, as the company that owns and operates TV stations and the Pax TV Network sold off assets and generated positive free cash flow for the period.
Revenue climbed 2 percent to $70.6 million from a year-earlier figure of nearly $69.1 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose sharply to $17.9 million from just over $7.5 million a year ago. Free cash flow turned positive, hitting $2.4 million vs. a negative free cash flow figure of $32.7 million in 2002.