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News Corp., Fox beat Street
May 9, 2001: 9:54 a.m. ET

But weak box office performance, tough ad environment hurt results
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Media conglomerate News Corp. reported fiscal third-quarter earnings Wednesday that fell from a year ago but beat Wall Street estimates, while its subsidiary Fox Entertainment Group posted a narrower-than-expected loss.

Sydney, Australia-based News Corp., controlled by Rupert Murdoch, reported net income of $127 million, or 12 cents per U.S. share, for the quarter ended in March, down from $193 million, or 18 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average expected News Corp. to earn 9 cents a share, according to earnings tracker First Call.

Revenue for News Corp. (NWS: up $0.35 to $38.50, Research, Estimates), which owns parts of Fox Entertainment, the Los Angeles Dodgers, British Sky Broadcasting and other media properties, rose to $3.27 billion from $3.24 billion.

News Corp. is also currently in talks on buying General Motors Corp.'s satellite television service, DirecTV, from GM's Hughes Electronics Corp.

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News Corp. said revenue from its Filmed Entertainment division was more than halved, as brisk sales of DVD and video titles such as "X-Men" and "Me, Myself and Irene" and the success of "Castaway" couldn't offset the money lost on marketing some box-office bombs.

Earnings at the company's newspapers, including the New York Post, The Times of London and the Daily Telegraph of Australia, fell 4 percent due to currency fluctuations, despite advertising gains in Britain and Australia, the company said.

Fox beats estimates

Fox Entertainment (FOX: up $0.30 to $23.80, Research, Estimates) blamed a "disappointing quarter at the domestic box office and a soft advertising environment" for a third-quarter loss of $9 million, or a penny a share, compared with earnings of $19 million, or 3 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.

Wall Street analysts expected Fox to lose 3 cents a share, according to First Call.

Revenue rose to $1.97 billion from $1.88 billion.

-- from staff and wire reports graphic