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Fox Meets Q1 Earnings Estimates Ahead of Disney Merger

But company misses on revenue forecasts as box office declines battle TV gains

Fox released its Summer 2018 earnings on Wednesday, when TV did its very best to make up for what the studio’s films lacked.

In what may be 21st Century Fox’s second-to-last quarter as a standalone corporation due to the pending Disney deal, Wall Street expected to see earnings per share (EPS) of 52 cents on $7.22 billion in revenue, according to a consensus compiled by Yahoo Finance. Fox reported exactly that 52 cents of EPS for the company’s first quarter if fiscal 2019, but it was on $7.18 billion in revenue.

While one is a hit and one is a miss, those actual numbers are up 6 percent and 2 percent, respectively, from fiscal Q1 2018.

Let’s start at the top line: Fox’s television revenues grew year over year, though its filmed entertainment segment’s sales declined. That latter point can be attributed to the box office, which could not live up to Summer 2017: Ticket sales slipped 7 percent year over year.

Broadcast bailed the company out as best as it could, with revenues soaring 38 percent from the comparable quarter last year. That was due to Fox’s FIFA World Cup rights and a few extra NFL games — both which come with big costs, of course. Fox recognized ad sales growth of +22 percent, which was mostly thanks to futbol and football, though higher political advertising for the midterm elections also pitched in.

Cable helped on a much smaller scale, as Fox News Channel’s advertising was a factor for good.

“We continue to deliver against our growth plan even as we make important strides toward completing our Disney transaction and launching Fox in the first half of 2019,” Executive Chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement accompanying the financials. “We have assembled a stellar leadership team for Fox, giving us further confidence in the new company’s ability to capture opportunities in live programming while delivering long-term value for shareholders. Our quarterly performance builds on the operational and financial achievements of last year and sets up our businesses for continued momentum under both the enlarged Disney and the future Fox.”

Due to the pending acquisition by Disney, Fox executives are not hosting a conference call for investors this quarter. Disney’s takeover of Fox, which excludes some assets like the broadcast network, Fox Sports and Fox News, is expected to close in early calendar 2019.

Charlie Collier joined the company last month to run the entertainment end of what will be left after Disney is done ransacking the place. Those Fox remnants are being called “New Fox.”

Shares of FOXA stock closed Tuesday at $47.16, up 29 cents. The U.S. stock markets reopen at 9:30 a.m. ET.