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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Twenty-First Century Fox posts 49 pct drop in fiscal 2nd-quarter profit on acquisition costs

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Twenty-First Century Fox said Thursday that its fiscal second-quarter net income dropped 49 per cent, largely as a result of acquisition costs, but still matched Wall Street predictions.

The media entertainment giant controlled by Rupert Murdoch also posted significantly higher-than-expected revenue, helped by its acquisition of a controlling stake in German satellite TV operator Sky Deutschland AG in January 2013.

As a result of that acquisition, revenue at the company's direct broadcast satellite TV division jumped 66 per cent to $1.52 billion. Meanwhile, revenue from its cable network programming increased 14 per cent to $2.96 billion, helped by other acquisitions and higher rates at TV stations in the U.S.

Revenue at the company's film division increased 7 per cent to $2.48 billion on better TV production results that stemmed from the syndication of the comedy series "Modern Family" and higher revenue from the drama "Homeland." But the division wasn't as profitable as it was a year ago, when its results were boosted by the theatrical and home viewing releases of popular movies.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. earned $1.21 billion, or 53 cents per share, down from $2.38 billion, or $1.01 per share, in the same quarter the year before.

The recent quarter's results included expenses related to the company's acquisition of a controlling stake in Sky Deutschland AG in January 2013. Excluding one-time items, the company posted an adjusted profit of 33 cents per share.

Revenue rose 15 per cent, to $8.16 billion from $7.11 billion.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 33 cents per share on $7.87 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

The results marked Twenty-First Century Fox's second quarter as a separate entity from publishing company News Corp., which was spun off at the end of June 2013. Both entities remain controlled by Rupert Murdoch, who is CEO of 21st Century Fox and executive chairman of News Corp.

Shares of the New York-based company rose 87 cents, or 2.8 per cent, to $32.02 in morning trading.

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