News Corp. profits to lift off

Earnings will double in five years, analyst predicts

Earnings at News Corp.’s U.K. paybox BSkyB are set to double in five years’ time once the company is owned outright by Rupert Murdoch.

U.K. media analyst Toby Syfret, of Enders Analysis, predicts the satcaster’s earnings before interest and tax will rise from £845 million ($1.3 billion) in 2010 to $2.7 billion in 2015.

Revenue is forecast to increase from $9.1 billion to $13 billion, bigger than the combined revs of rivals the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.

The news comes as News Corp.’s purchase of the 61% of the paybox it doesn’t already own is expected to be greenlit by media minister Jeremy Hunt this week, subject to a short consultation period.

Syfret said that a wholly owned BSkyB could improve its bottom line through the combination of growth and freedom to cut discretionary costs in marketing and content acquisition.

“Even for a global player like News Corp., BSkyB represents a major addition to the consolidated accounts and carries great strategic significance,” Syfret said. “BSkyB is on a high-growth trajectory over the forecast period, one that is practically unique among media companies around the world.”News Corp and BSkyB declined to comment.

Murdoch bid $11 a share for BSkyB in June 2010, but independent directors nixed it, pushing for at least $12.78. BSkyB closed Friday at $13.34.

Odey Asset Management has said the satcaster is now worth $30.3 billion, which would mean that News Corp. will have to pay $18.5 billion for the stock it does not own.

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