posted stronger-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter results late Tuesday.
The New York media conglomerate made $852 million, or 23 cents per share, for the quarter ended June 30. That compared with earnings of $717 million, or 22 per share, for the same period last year. Revenue was up 11% to $6.8 billion
Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were looking for the company to earn 23 cents per share on $6.75 billion in revenue.
By segment, filmed entertainment, television and cable programming all performed well, exceeding the last-year period's results. Film was led by strong results for popular animated picture
Ice Age: The Meltdown
, which allowed 20th Century Fox to achieve an 83% bump in operating income during the period.
News of the strong quarter comes as the company said it will partner with
in a MySpace search-and-ad deal that will bring in at least $900 million to the company over the next three years.
"Longer term, we're intently focused on developing ways not only to monetize our acquired internet assets, but also on how to exploit our vast content libraries as broadband access proliferates," said CEO Rupert Murdoch. "Our proven ability in taking advantage of new platforms and the momentum we continue to generate at our established businesses gives us great confidence as we head into fiscal 2007."
The Google deal, which will funnel cash into the Fox Interactive Media division, calls for Google to power search for MySpace.com and other sites.
Google will make a guaranteed minimum revenue-share payment of $900 million to Fox Interactive, based on hitting certain traffic benchmarks.
Goldman analyst Anthony Noto said in a research note Tuesday that his firm believes the deal "will significantly improve the monetization of its large and growing Internet audience." The deal reinforces Goldman's view that News Corp. can leverage Internet advertising, cable network affiliate fees and Sky Italia to "drive above-average double-digit growth and overcome secular challenges" being seen in traditional media sectors such as newspaper and TV.
The company said it is forecasting operating income growth of 14% to 16% for fiscal 2007. On the conference call, Murdoch called News Corp. "a company that is built for robust and sustainable growth."
Shares fell 29 cents Tuesday to $19.90.