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One-time gains boost News Corp profit to $2.85bn

Published: Updated:

News Corp said Wednesday profit in the past quarter tripled to $2.85 billion, boosted by a one-time gain from its German satellite TV operations, and improvements in cable TV and film operations.

The quarterly results from the conglomerate led by Rupert Murdoch were largely in line with expectations, with an operating profit of 36 cents a share, excluding special items.

The profit in the quarter to March 31 rose to $2.85bn from $937 million a year ago, with $2.1bn coming from a one-time gain from the inclusion of its Sky Deutschland satellite television operations.

The sale of its 44 percent stake in New Zealand-based Sky Network Television Ltd. produced a one-time gain of $321m.

Revenues in the fiscal third quarter rose 14 percent to $9.5bn.

In releasing the earnings, Murdoch said the media entertainment conglomerate was on track for its planned breakup by the end of June into two companies, one focused on publishing, the other on the fast growing entertainment operations.

"We are on target to complete the proposed separation of our businesses near the end of our fiscal year," Murdoch said in a statement.

"As we prepare to launch two new industry leaders with new News Corporation and 21st Century Fox, I am more confident than ever of the long-term value the separation will unlock for the company and its shareholders."

The company announced the restructuring last year, a move partly seen as a nod to shareholders angered by the reputational damage and costs inflicted by a phone hacking scandal in Britain, and partly because of troubles within the group's publishing arm.

Cable television delivered the lion's share of profit in the past quarter with $993m in operating earnings, a 17 percent jump from the same period a year ago.

The filmed entertainment unit including the Fox studios in Hollywood showed an operating profit of $289 million, from $272 million a year ago.

Publishing operating income, which includes the Wall Street Journal and newspapers in Britain and Australia, fell to $85m from $130m in the same period a year ago.

The results included $42m of costs related to phone-hacking scandal which led to the closure of The News of the World.