Rupert Murdoch credits “X-Men,” “Rio” sequel and “Fault in Our Stars” for strong fiscal year
Twenty-First Century Fox's fiscal year ended with Q4 earnings per share (EPS) of $0.43 on $8.42 billion in revenue, topping analyst estimates. The media giant was expected to report earnings per share of $0.38 on revenue of $8 billion.
For the fiscal year, EPS was anticipated to be $1.53 on $31.4 billion in revenue; 21st Century Fox posted earnings of $1.67 on revenue of $31.87 billion, besting those forecasts too.
“The Fault in Our Stars,” for example, cost $12 million and brought in $263 million worldwide.
“As we close the fiscal year, I continue to have confidence in our ability to execute our growth plan and drive value for our shareholders,” Murdoch said in a press release. “Our new $6 billion share buyback program, to be executed over the next twelve months, further underscores our disciplined approach to increasing shareholder value.”
On the TV side, a decline in advertising revenue was partly attributed to decreased ratings for “American Idol.” On the subsequent earnings call, Fox executives predicted that the TV numbers will be stronger in fiscal 2015, despite not having the Super Bowl.
The earnings report and call follow Twenty-First Century Fox's recent attempt tried to purchase Time Warner, which was blocked by the latter company's board
On Tuesday, the day before earnings were announced, Rupert Murdoch withdrew his offer, stating: ”Our proposal had significant strategic merit and compelling financial rationale and our approach had always been friendly. However, Time Warner management and its Board refused to engage with us to explore an offer which was highly compelling.”
A day later, earlier on Wednesday, Jeff Bewkes’ company reported strong second quarter earnings, including a three percent raise in revenue to $6.8 billion and a 17 percent jump in adjusted operating income to $1.6 billion. Time Warner earned 98 cents per share, far surpassing analysts’ estimates of 84 cents.
Time Warner's board initially rejected Murdoch's offer of roughly $80 billion — or $85 per share — split around 40 percent cash and 60 percent stock, on the grounds that no offer that Fox can generate will match the value that Time Warner can provide its shareholders.
The Fox offer was about 25 percent higher than the current stock value, which drove prices up on the market.
In a swift response to the takeover attempt, Time Warner's board removed a special meeting provision, which would have otherwise given shareholders an opportunity to approve the sale to Murdoch's company.