Murdoch’s News Corp. Trails Estimates as Ad Sales Drop

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News Corp., the newspaper publisher controlled by billionaire Rupert Murdoch, reported quarterly earnings that missed analysts’ estimates after print advertising continued to fall and currency swings ate into revenue.

Profit excluding some items was 5 cents a share in the fiscal third quarter ended in March, the company said in a statement Tuesday, compared with the 7 cents analysts estimated on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue fell 0.8 percent to $2.06 billion. Analysts anticipated $2.14 billion.

The majority of the sales drop comes from the negative impact of foreign exchange and lower advertising revenue in the news unit, which publishes the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal, News Corp. said.

The company has been focused on increasing digital revenue to compensate for print declines. Industrywide ad spending on newspapers is expected to drop almost 11 percent to $14.4 billion this year, which will bring the decline over the past 10 years to about 71 percent, according to MagnaGlobal.

Sales at the news division, the largest, fell 9 percent to $1.35 billion, dragged down by a 12 percent decline in advertising and 6 percent drop in circulation and subscription revenue.

At the book division, which own HarperCollins, sales jumped 14 percent to $402 million, helped the acquisition of romance publisher Harlequin Enterprises, part of News Corp.’s effort to boost sales in international markets.

News Corp.’s digital real estate services also benefited from an acquisition, of Move Inc. last year. The deal helped boost the division sales by 67 percent to $170 million.

The shares were unchanged at $16.02 after the market closed. Murdoch split his company in two in June 2013, separating 21st Century Fox Inc. News Corp.’s shares have increased 3.5 percent since the split, while Fox gained 15 percent. Both underperformed the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, which rose 30 percent in the period.

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