Fox Corp. Beats Wall Street’s Q2 Estimates Despite College Football, Cable Drag

Fox Corp. beat Wall Street expectations in its second fiscal quarter, with revenue of nearly $4.1 billion improving 8% from the year-earlier period.

On an adjusted basis, earnings per share rose to 16 cents from 10 cents a year ago.

The consensus forecast from analysts called for revenue of $4 billion and a loss of 3 cents a share.

Advertising revenue rose 14% in the quarter, helped by a record haul of political advertising by Fox stations. The effects of Covid-19 on the college football season hurt results in the quarter, though, with “other” revenues dipping 14% due to games canceled by virus outbreaks.

The company’s cable networks saw a 31% rise in ad revenue as political spending reached its peak, but affiliate and other revenue declined, leading to a slim 1% increase in overall revenue in the segment. Fox News has slipped from its No. 1 ratings perch since the November 3 presidential election. The network has also been sued by voting software firm Smartmatic for $2.7 billion over on-air claims about the company by Fox hosts and guests.

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Despite headwinds from the lawsuit, which the company filed a motion to dismiss late Monday, the company’s stock climbed 5% in pre-market trading, past $34 a share. It closed Monday at its highest point in nearly a year.

Fox’s Television division, the largest in the company and the one where the stations and broadcast network are housed, posted a 13% increase in revenue. On top of ad gains, affiliate sales rose 23%, with Fox crediting higher fees from third-party Fox affiliates and higher subscriber rates for the company’s owned and operated TV stations.

An EBITDA loss in the Television unit of $185 million stemmed from higher programming rights amortization at Fox Sports, led by contractual rights increases for the NFL. The consolidation of ad-supported streaming service Tubi, which Fox acquired last year, also made a dent.

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