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Fox Quarterly Earnings Climb as Disney Deal Looms

Earnings at 21st Century Fox were in line with expectations on Wednesday, even as the media conglomerate’s revenues for its most recent financial quarter fell short of projections. The company’s television and cable assets delivered strong results, but a lack of major film releases meant that big screen contributions were minimal. The midterm elections, combined with more NFL games and World Cup matches, goosed advertising revenues across Fox’s small screen operations.

The report was something of a formality. Fox, or at least Fox as it is currently conceived, will cease to exist within a matter of months. The Walt Disney Company is shelling out $71.3 billion to buy the bulk of the Murdoch clan’s media empire. That deal passed an important milestone earlier this week after European antitrust regulators approved the pact.

Fox reported quarterly income of $1.29 billion, a 54% increase from the prior year quarter, and total quarterly revenues of $7.18 billion, a 2% increase from the same quarter in 2017. Analysts expected Fox to post revenues of $7.22 billion. The company’s adjusted earnings of 52 cents per share mirrored Wall Street’s projections.

Disney will buy Fox’s film studio, as well as FX Networks, National Geographic, Star India, and the company’s take in Hulu. After the sale to Disney is completed, Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan will relaunch the company around Fox Broadcasting Company, the network behind “The Simpsons” and “Empire,” Fox Sports, and the conservative news networks Fox Business News and Fox News. Last month, the new company tapped AMC’s Charlie Collier to run its entertainment operations.

“We have assembled a stellar leadership team for Fox, giving us further confidence in the new company’s ability to capture opportunities in live programming while delivering long-term value for shareholders,” Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch said in a joint statement. “Our quarterly performance builds on the operational and financial achievements of last year and sets up our businesses for continued momentum under both the enlarged Disney and the future Fox.”

Fox will not host a call for analysts, with the company citing the pending sale to Disney. It projects the deal with Disney will close in the first half of 2019.

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