News Corp Reports $1.4B Writedown As Newspaper Valuations Slide

It’s hard to say that the write-down hurt the publishing operation for the fiscal year that ended in June. The noncash charge, disclosed today in the company’s first annual report since being separated from Rupert Murdoch‘s Fox entertainment assets, is an improvement over the $2.6B charge it took last year. All told, News Corp ended the year with net income of $506M, up from a $2.1B loss last year, on revenues of $8.9B, +2.7%. The revenue figure is short of the $8.96B that analysts anticipated. Earnings at 87 cents a share beat forecasts for 57 cents. The uptick in revenues reflects News Corp’s consolidation of Fox Sports Australia and acquisition of publishing company Thomas Nelson, and includes contributions from the introduction in February 2012 of the Sunday edition of UK’s The Sun. But ad sales overall fell by 7.4% cutting the revenue contribution of the Australian newspapers by $350M, and Dow Jones — which includes The Wall Street Journal — by $76M. The slowdowns were a factor in News Corp’s impairment charge which it says reflects its diminished assessment of the prospects for the News and Information Services businesses in Australia and the U.S. News Corp share prices rose 1% in after-market trading.

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