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Twenty-First Century Fox’s Strong Ad Sales Helps Beat Expectations

November 8, 2017

Twenty-First Century Fox’s quarterly revenue topped market estimates on Wednesday as higher advertising sales and revenue from traditional and online distributors boosted its cable business.

The company’s shares were up nearly 1% in extended trading.

The results come after CNBC reported on Monday that Fox had, in the last few weeks, held talks about selling most of its film and television assets to Walt Disney Co. The two sides are not currently in discussion, CNBC had reported.

Rupert Murdoch-controlled Fox did not address the report in its first-quarter report.

Revenue from Fox’s cable division, which houses the Fox News and FX channels among others, rose 10% to $4.20 billion, accounting for more than half of total revenue in the quarter.

That beat analysts average estimate of $4.12 billion, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet.

Domestic advertising revenue in the cable business rose 3%. Fox’s ad revenue can vary from quarter to quarter depending on events, but has been hit by viewer’s increasing preference for streaming services.

Revenue at Fox’s filmed entertainment division rose 3% to $1.96 billion, edging past analysts estimate of $1.95 billion, according to FactSet.

Fox said revenue rose to $7.00 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 30, higher than the $6.51 billion a year earlier and the $6.81 billion analysts were expecting, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net income attributable to shareholders increased to $855 million, or 46 cents per share, from $821 million, or 44 cents per share.

Excluding items, Fox earned 49 cents per share, inline with market estimates.

The reported talks with Disney adds another layer of uncertainty to Fox’s bid to buy the rest the nearly 61 percent of European pay-TV group Sky it does not already own in an offer worth $14.5 billion made in December.

The offer is being closely scrutinized by the British government. Murdoch has repeatedly stated that deal would be approved in the first half of 2018.

“Absent further delays, the transaction is expected to close by June 30, 2018,” Fox said on Wednesday.