Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has reported to have earned more than double the profits in its latest quarter over the same period previous year, largely attributed to the acquisition of stakes in cable networks in Australia and Asia. The media empire’s net income for the three months to December came in at $2.38bn (£1.52bn) compared to $1.1bn (£0.70bn) in the same period a year earlier, on sales up 5% to $9.4bn (£6bn).
Most of the increased profits were related to the acquisition of the 50% stakes in Fox Sports Australia and Fox Star Sports Asia that News Corp didn’t already own. Rupert Murdoch attributed the increase in profits to “double-digit gains” in News Corp’s cable TV businesses and “improvements” to its publishing operations, which includes the Sun, the Times, the Sunday Times and the Wall Street Journal.
News Corporation reported that its publishing division, which recorded a $16m (£10.2m) increase in profits to $234m (£149m), benefited from the launch of the Sun on Sunday in February 2012. News International, the division which owns the UK newspapers, is making concerted efforts to put a lid on the phone hacking scandal the total payout of which has reached $340m (£217m).
On Wednesday, Virgin Media was acquired by Liberty Global to take on News Corp. When quizzed about it, James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s son and News Corp’s deputy chief operating officer, said he did not expect Liberty Global’s $23.3bn (£14.8bn) takeover of Virgin Media would effect the competitiveness of the cable TV market.
Rupert Murdoch had announced last year that the $54bn (£34bn) global empire would be split into two separate publicly listed companies – a newspaper, book publishing and education division and a media and entertainment company. Work on splitting up News Corp cost the company $23m (£14.6m) in the latest quarter.