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Fox Studios Australia losing money, value

Entertainment areas performing below expectations

SYDNEY — Despite its soundstages hosting high-profile films like “Mission: Impossible 2,” “The Matrix,” “Moulin Rouge” and upcoming “Star Wars” prequels and “Matrix” sequels, Rupert Murdoch’s year-old Fox Studios Australia is losing both money and value.

While the complex cost News Corp. and joint venture partner Lend Lease A$430 million ($253 million),Lend Lease’s latest independent valuation says it’s now worth just $120 million.

Lend Lease has already written down the value of its investment by nearly $24 million while News Corp. has written down its share by $39 million; trading losses for the year are thought to be about $14 million.

While the studio’s soundstages are busy, Fox reps always warned that the complex would rely on public entertainment activities, including cinemas, eateries and studio tours, to generate profits. But according to Lend Lease, the complex’s public entertainment areas are performing “well below expectations.”

“I think it’s an excellent facility,” Murdoch told reporters. “We’re aware of the shortcomings, and we’re spending a lot to put it right.”

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