News Corp Sales Rise on Real Estate, Book Publishing, Media Gains

News Corp

NWS 0.54%

reported a 13% increase in its quarterly revenue, boosted by growth in its digital real-estate services, Dow Jones and book-publishing divisions.

The New York-based media company, whose holdings include The Wall Street Journal, HarperCollins Publishers and news organizations in the U.K. and Australia, reported a profit of $235 million, or 40 cents a share, for the December quarter, up from $231 million, or 39 cents a share, a year earlier. Adjusted earnings, which excludes certain costs, were 44 cents a share.

Revenue increased to $2.72 billion for the fiscal second quarter from $2.41 billion a year earlier. Analysts polled by FactSet expected revenue of $2.64 billion and adjusted earnings of 28 cents a share.

Shares of News Corp rose 5.9% to $23.77 in after-hours trading following the results. The stock was up 13% over the past year through the close Thursday.

The company’s digital real-estate services division logged a 35% rise in revenue to $456 million and a 25% increase in segment earnings to $178 million. The division includes a majority stake in

REA Group Ltd.

REA -1.67%

, a publicly traded digital real-estate company based in Australia, and an 80% stake in Move Inc., an online real-estate business based in Santa Clara, Calif., that primarily operates the website Realtor.com.

Dow Jones & Co., the publisher of the Journal, Barron’s and MarketWatch, reported a 14% increase in revenue to $508 million, and a 32% increase in segment earnings to $144 million. The increase was primarily due to higher advertising and subscription revenue and circulation growth. The acquisition of Investor’s Business Daily brought in $18 million in revenue during the quarter, the company said.

News Corp calculates segment earnings as revenue less operating and administrative expenses. Segment earnings exclude expenses such as interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, impairment and restructuring charges, and other items.

The Journal averaged more than 2.9 million digital subscribers in the quarter, up 19% over the previous year. Including the print edition, the Journal averaged more than 3.6 million subscribers for the period. Dow Jones’s consumer-facing products, which include readers of Barron’s, MarketWatch, Financial News and Investor’s Business Daily, had an average of 4.7 million subscribers in the three-month period.

News Corp’s news-media segment, which includes the Sun, the New York Post and the Times in the U.K., increased 11% in revenue to $638 million. The unit had a profit of $111 million, compared with $66 million a year earlier.

News Corp said its news-media businesses saw a continued uptick in advertising revenue as marketers increased their spending with the easing of the pandemic.

The New York Times on Wednesday said it surpassed its goal of 10 million subscriptions, adding 375,000 new online subscribers, 171,000 of which were for its core news offering and 204,000 were for lower-cost products such as Wirecutter, its product-review site.

News Corp’s Dow Jones unit has moved to increase its subscription products aimed at professionals and investors. In December, the company agreed to acquire the Base Chemicals business from

IHS Markit Ltd.

INFO -2.27%

, as part of that company’s merger with

S&P Global Inc.

News Corp agreed to buy IHS Markit’s Oil Price Information Service, or OPIS, for $1.15 billion earlier in 2021. The company said Thursday that both deals are expected to close in the first half of the calendar year.

News Corp’s book-publishing division, which includes HarperCollins, recorded revenue of $617 million, up 13% from a year earlier. Segment earnings were $107 million, compared with $104 million a year earlier.

Revenue at News Corp’s video-subscription unit, home to the company’s majority interest in the Foxtel pay-TV service in Australia, slipped 3% to $498 million. Segment earnings in the unit declined by 31% to $86 million. The company said it had fewer residential broadcast subscribers than the prior year’s period and lower commercial subscription revenue because of pandemic-related restrictions.

Write to Kimberly Chin at [email protected]

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Appeared in the February 4, 2022, print edition as ‘News Corp Reports Higher Results.’

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