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Discovery Communications Quarterly Profit Misses Wall St. Projections

Net income declines to $224 million

Higher revenue growth and better-than-expected advertising sales at Discovery Communications Inc's cable channels could not lift its quarterly profit, which fell short of analysts' estimates.

Discovery said on Thursday that fourth quarter net income declined to $224 million, or 61 cents per share where analysts were expecting 76 cents per share, from $336 million, or 86 cents per share in the same period a year ago.

The company attributed the drop in income to higher taxes and equity-based compensation.

Still, Discovery, whose cable networks include Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet, said total revenue rose 8 percent to $1.2 billion, in line with expectations.

"Overall the top line looks great," said Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser.

He noted that advertising revenue at the company's U.S. channels, which rose 9 percent to $397 million, was strong and better than he expected. "It's a favorable number considering tepid conditions in the U.S."

At its international cable networks, advertising revenue increased 16 percent to $185 million.

In December, Discovery announced plans to buy 12 Nordic television stations from Germany's ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG for $1.7 billion.

Discovery also said it expects 2013 revenue to be in the range of $5.58 billion and $5.70 billion. Analysts are expecting revenue of $5.43 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.