21st Century Fox (FOXA) beat analyst expectations on revenue and adjusted EPS numbers for the fourth quarter of 2018. The media giant reported revenues of $7.94 billion, up 18% from the same period last year. Revenue growth reflects double-digit growth across all operating segments led by higher content revenues at Filmed Entertainment and growth in affiliate and advertising revenues at Cable Network Programming and Television.
Net income attributable to shareholders nearly doubled to $920 million or $0.49 per share compared to $476 million or $0.26 per share in the prior-year period. Adjusted EPS from continuing operations were $0.57.
Last month, the shareholders of Fox and Disney (DIS) approved the proposed acquisition of Fox’s assets by Disney for $71.3 billion. The deal is expected to close in the first half of next year. Prior to that, in June, Disney received US regulatory approval for its purchase of Fox’s assets on the condition that 22 of the latter’s regional sports networks must be divested.
Disney and Comcast (CMCSA) were locked in a battle for Fox until recently when Comcast decided to drop the pursuit and focus on its bid for British firm Sky plc (SKY). In its attempt to acquire Sky, Comcast is facing off against Fox. Currently, Comcast holds the higher offer compared to Fox for Sky.
The Disney deal led to a growth in Fox’s stock price of about 75% during the fiscal year 2018, creating massive value for shareholders. 20th Century Fox’s films won several awards and nominations, and the studio ended the year with the strong success of Deadpool 2, which grossed more than $730 million to date.
In Cable Network Programming, domestic affiliate revenues rose 11% and international affiliate revenues grew 12% during the quarter, reflecting higher pricing across domestic cable brands and subscriber growth at FNG International and STAR.