Rupert Murdoch found a way to take investors’ minds off the $63M charge News Corp just took to cover some of the costs related to the UK phone-hacking scandal. Shares are beginning to jump in post-market trading after the company reported a huge increase in its stock repurchase plan, and stronger than expected results from its cable networks. News Corp generated $1B in net income, up 47.1% vs the same period last year, on revenues of $8.4B, up 1.8%. Analysts expected revenues to come in at $8.2B. And adjusted earnings, at 37 cents a share, beat the Street’s expectation of 31 cents.
The Cable Networks operation was the standout with revenues of $2.4B (+16.4%) and operating income of $846M (+15.1%). The company says that domestic ad sales were up 10% while pay TV payments increased 15%; results were especially strong at its regional sports channels and Fox News. Alvin And The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked and The Descendants helped Filmed Entertainment end the period with $$1.7B in revenues (+10.8%) and operating income of $272M (+9.7%). The Television division suffered, though, from the loss of the Super Bowl — which aired on Fox in 2011 — and lower ratings for American Idol. It wound up the quarter with $1.2B in revenues (-16%) and operating income of $171M (-10.9%). Publishing adjusted to life without News Of The World, the tainted tabloid that was shuttered last summer — but didn’t have the $125M litigation settlement for the integrated marketing business that weighed down last year’s results. The unit had revenues of $2B (-2.8%) with operating income of $130M (+261.1%). “Beyond the ongoing growth of our core businesses, I am very pleased with the Company’s progress as we execute upon other elements of our strategy to produce sustained, meaningful value for shareholders,” Murdoch says.