News Corp.'s sale of Myspace to Specific Media in June resulted in a $254 million loss, the company revealed in its fourth quarter earnings report Wednesday. News Corp.'s net income last quarter was $683 million, down from $875 million last year, which the Associated Press says was "mainly because" of the MySpace sale.
Still, with earnings of $0.35 per share on revenue of $8.98 billion, the report still beat Wall Street expectations, according to Peter Kafka, who says investors were "looking for $0.30 a share and $8.44 billion" in revenue. Other notable details revealed in the report included:
- Chairman Rupert Murdoch's characterization of the News of the World hacking scandal as "challenges in recent weeks involving our London tabloid" with "no material impact on our other operations." He also praised the company for "acting decisively in the matter" and stressed his willingness to do "whatever is neccessary to prevent something like this from ever happening again."
- Cable channels were the big moneymakers, with yearly income up 22 percent from 2010. Ad revenue increased 17 percent on U.S. channels, and 22 percent internationally.
- Publishing income increased 2 percent on the year and only paid $125 million in "litigation settlement charges," down from $500 million last year. That figure seems likely to go back up once the News of the World-related lawsuits start coming in.
- Satellite earnings were "in line" with the 2010 results.
- Income from movies--or "filmed entertainment"-- dropped 31 percent for the year, which the company attributed to "prior year contributions" from Avatar pumping up the 2010 figures.
- NPR reports that on a conference call with investors, Murdoch stressed his desire to continue as chairman, while also noting that he and COO Chase Carey "run this company as a team."
- CFO David Devoe struggled to find a silver lining to the MySpace sale, writes Forbes's Jeff Bercovici. He told reporters, that while getting rid of the social media company would save News Corp. $230 million in operating losses, those gains are likely to be "offset by closure of News of the World and softness at Australian newspapers."