Murdoch’s News Corp. Rises Most in 18 Months on Real Estate Gain

  • Rupert Murdoch-controlled company relying less on print
  • Wall Street Journal added digital subscribers in the quarter

News Corp., the Wall Street Journal publisher controlled by billionaire Rupert Murdoch, gained the most in 18 months in New York trading after digital real estate listings helped second-quarter profit beat analysts’ estimates.

Earnings excluding some items fell to 19 cents a share in the quarter ended Dec. 31, according to a statement from the New York-based company Thursday. That topped the 18-cent average of analysts’ estimates. Sales of $2.12 billion matched the average projection of analysts compiled by Bloomberg.

The results show that News Corp. is relying less on the declining print newspaper and more on new digital sources. While sales at its news unit were hurt by the continued decline in print advertising, the Journal now has 1.1 million online subscribers, compared with 828,000 in the prior year, and its online real-estate business continues to boost revenue for the company.

In 2014 News Corp. agreed to buy the owner of Realtor.com for $950 million, expanding its digital real-estate listings to compete with sites such as Zillow.com.

The shares rose as much as 7 percent on Friday, the biggest intraday gain since August 2015. Through Thursday, the sto

  • Revenue in the company’s digital real estate businesses climbed 16 percent to $242 million in the quarter.
  • Sales at the news unit, which makes up about two-thirds of sales, dropped 7 percent to $1.3 billion. Advertising sales fell 9 percent, dragged down by print. Digital revenues represented 27 percent of sales in the quarter, compared with 22 percent a year earlier.
  • Book publishing sales rose 4 percent to $466 million.
  • The company posted a loss of $219 million compared with income of $106 million last year, which includes a change in the carrying value of Foxtel, its Australian pay-TV business, and an impairment of the print assets at its Australian newspaper business.

Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, competes with News Corp. in providing news and information.

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