Rupert Murdoch's News Corp on Wednesday posted a better-than-expected adjusted quarterly profit driven by carriage fees at its cable and Fox broadcast networks even as the company struggles with speculation about future leadership at the family-controlled media conglomerate.
Fiscal first quarter profit came in at $738 million (463 million pounds), or 28 cents a share, down from $775 million, or 30 cents a share last year.
The quarter's net income included costs related to the restructuring of its UK newspaper arm, fees spent on its failed bid for full control of BSkyB and other Sky Deutschland related costs.
After adjusting for the impact of these charges, adjusted net income was 32 cents a share. Analysts had over average expected profit to come in at 29 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose 7 percent to $7.96 billion.
These were very strong numbers beating our forecasts in every division on revenue and operating income except in publishing, said Collins Stewart analyst Thomas Eagan.
The September quarter was boosted by an 18 percent jump in operating income at its cable networks like FX Network and Fox News on the back of a 13 percent rise in revenue. The fees Fox received for carriage by cable and satellite distributors, rose by 9 percent in the U.S. and by 24 percent internationally.
News Corp's filmed entertainment unit rose by 24 percent thanks to the success of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and home entertainment sales of Rio and X-Men: First Class.
Murdoch and his family have been under intense scrutiny for the last five months in the wake of a phone-hacking scandal at News Corp's UK newspaper unit.
The scandal which has seen senior executive resignations, the arrests of several staffers and upended News Corp's largest ever corporate merger, has put Murdoch's younger son James under the most pressure. James Murdoch, once seen as a CEO successor to his father, had overseen the UK unit involved in phone hacking.
Last month around two-thirds of non-Murdoch affiliated News Corp B shareholders voted against re-electing James and his brother Lachlan on to the board.
But as the Murdoch family controls the company with a 39 percent share of the voting stock, even such a high negative vote was able to shift the Murdochs.
(Reporting by Yinka Adegoke, editing by Bernard Orr)