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News Corp's 3Q Profit Rises 47% On Cable Growth, One-Time Gains

By William Launder Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK (DOW JONES)--News Corp. (NWS, NWSA) on Wednesday reported a 47% jump in its fiscal third-quarter profit, helped by one-time gains and continued growth at the company's cable networks and film divisions. In addition, News Corp.--which owns Dow Jones & Co., publisher of this newswire and The Wall Street Journal--also increased its stock-repurchase program by $5 billion, bringing the total to $10 billion. "I believe we are better situated than ever to capitalize on the increasing global demand for our superior content," Chairman and Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch said in a press release. Net income was $937 million, or 38 cents a share, for the quarter ended March 31, up from $639 million, or 24 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time charges, per-share earnings rose to 37 cents from 26 cents. Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 31 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters. Revenue increased to $8.4 billion from $8.26 billion, beating the average analyst prediction of $8.24 billion. The fiscal third-quarter profit comes as News Corp. continues to deal with the fallout from a phone-hacking scandal at its U.K. newspaper division, which has led to it closing the News of the World tabloid and abandoning efforts to buy the remainder of British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC (BSYBY, BSY.LN). News Corp. said the quarterly results were burdened by $63 million in costs tied to ongoing investigations following the closure of News of the World. Last week, Murdoch was rebuked by a U.K. parliamentary committee, who said he was "not a fit person" to lead an international media company. News Corp. unveiled an initial $5 billion share-repurchase agreement last year, as it sought to deploy excess cash it had intended to use to pay for the remainder of BSkyB. The company has since bought back $3.9 billion of Class A shares under the program, at an average price of $17.51. One-time gains booked during the quarter included $111 million in gains from BSkyB's share-repurchase program and $27 million tied primarily to the sale of a stake in Hathway Cable. By William Launder, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3412; [email protected]

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