×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sky Sale, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Lift 21st Century Fox Earnings

Revenues and profits climbed at 21st Century Fox during its most recent financial quarter, even as the company behind “The Simpsons,” “Avatar,” and “The Ingraham Angle” prepares to be sold off or reconstituted.

Quarterly income for the three-month period ending in December hit $10.83 billion or $5.81 per share compared to $1.84 billion or 99 cents per share, a huge jump that was attributable to the company’s sale of its investment in European pay-TV giant Sky. When the money from the Sky sale was taken out of the picture, things didn’t look as rosy. Adjusted quarterly earnings per share were 37 cents, 12% lower than the 42 cents in adjusted earnings reported in the prior-year quarter. That dip in earnings were largely due to the loss of Sky as a source of profits. So Sky giveth and it taketh away.

Revenues of $8.50 billion represented a 6% increase from the $8.04 billion reported in the prior year quarter, which the company said was due to higher advertising revenues and affiliate fees, as well as the box office success of the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Wall Street had projected earnings per-share of 33 cents, an estimate that Fox beat. Analysts had also predicted revenue of $8.50 billion, a figure that Fox matched.

Operating income at Fox’s film division climbed 47% to $193 million, which was almost entirely attributable to the popularity of the Oscar-nominated “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and the cable unit saw operating income climb 7% to $1.45 billion. Higher sports programming costs took a chunk out of the television unit’s profits, sending the division to a loss of $22 million.

The report comes as much of Fox is bracing itself to be absorbed by the Walt Disney Company in a $71.3 billion mega-deal. After the acquisition is finalized, 20th Century Fox, FX, Nat Geo, and other properties will be part of the Disney empire. That will leave Fox broadcasting, Fox News, and a few other channels to be reconfigured into a new entity that will be led by Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan Murdoch.

In September, Fox announced it would sell its stake in Sky after it lost out in a bidding war with Comcast for full ownership of the U.K.-based broadcaster.

Disney reported earnings Tuesday. The media conglomerate had a more robust financial picture than expected even though its earnings dipped and revenue remained essentially flat. In a call with analysts, Disney CEO and chairman Bob Iger predicted that the combined companies will become the “world’s premiere global entertainment company.” Due to the pending merger, Fox will not hold a conference call for investors following its earnings report.

The deal with Disney still needs final regulatory approval. Fox said it expected that the final sign-off will come in the first half of 2019, but insiders say that the sale could close at the end of February.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Felicity Huffman

    Felicity Huffman Issues Apology After Receiving Prison Sentence: 'There Are No Excuses'

    Felicity Huffman issued a long statement of apology on Friday after receiving a two-week prison sentence for paying to illegally boost her daughter’s SAT score. In the statement, Huffman, in addition to saying  she accepts the court’s decision, acknowledges and apologizes to other parents fighting to get their children into college. Along with the prison [...]

  • Actress Felicity Huffman (C-L) and her

    Felicity Huffman Sentenced to 14 Days in Prison in SAT Cheating Case

    Felicity Huffman was sentenced on Friday to 14 days in prison for the crime of paying $15,000 to boost her daughter’s SAT score. Judge Indira Talwani also ordered her to serve 250 hours of community service and a year of probation, and pay a $30,000 fine. The sentence came as a surprise, as Talwani had [...]

  • NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER

    Rihanna Sings (Briefly), Pharrell and DJ Khaled Rock the Mic at Star-Studded Diamond Ball

    In just five years, Rihanna’s Diamond Ball has become one of the music industry’s biggest events of its kind, nearly on the level of the Clive Davis Pre-Grammy Gala. While there are several dazzling charity events with equal starpower and often-unique performances, what makes the Diamond Ball different is, obviously enough, Rihanna’s supernova aura and [...]

  • Amber Heard Seeks Info on Johnny

    Amber Heard Seeks Info on Johnny Depp's Arrests and Substance Abuse

    Amber Heard is asking Johnny Depp to turn over records related to his arrests and drug treatment, as her lawyers defend her from a $50 million defamation suit. Depp filed suit in March, accusing his ex-wife of tanking his career by writing a Washington Post op/ed alluding to her domestic violence allegations against him. Heard [...]

  • David Nevins, Chief Creative Officer, CBS

    David Nevins: CBS-Viacom Merger to Create 'Virtuous Eco-System' for Content

    CBS and Viacom leaders are looking for opportunities to create a “virtuous eco-system” for content that can prosper across the various platforms of the two companies that are set to merge by year’s end. That was the sentiment shared by David Nevins, chief creative officer of CBS and chairman-CEO of Showtime Networks, during a Q&A [...]

  • 'Resident Evil' Stuntwoman Files Suit Over

    'Resident Evil' Stuntwoman Files Suit Over Horrific Motorcycle Crash

    A stuntwoman who suffered severe injuries on the set of “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” in 2015 has filed a lawsuit alleging that the film’s producers reneged on a promise to cover her medical costs. Olivia Jackson was driving a motorcycle that collided head-on with a camera rig during the shoot in South Africa. According [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content