Proactiveinvestors Australia 21st Century Fox Proactiveinvestors Australia 21st Century Fox RSS feed en Sun, 21 Jul 2019 08:18:08 +1000 Genera CMS (Proactiveinvestors) (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[News - Disney ups the ante as it bids US$71bn for 21st Century Fox ]]> The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) is in pole position to win a frenetic bidding war for 21st Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOXA) after upping its offer for the maker of Modern Family and Family Guy by US$10 a share to US$71.3bn.

This trumps the US$65bn deal tabled by Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCA) – and looks like it was pitched as a knock-out bid.

Fox shareholders can opt for cash or take their payment in Disney stock.

READ: Clash of the media titans (and how the bidding war unfolded)

It’s reported that Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch and Disney boss Bob Iger met Tuesday night before this new bid was submitted.

Shares of Fox jumped 5% in premarket, while shares of Disney was up 1%.

In a statement Murdoch said: "We are extremely proud of the businesses we have built at 21st Century Fox, and firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders as the new Disney continues to set the pace at a dynamic time for our industry.

"We remain convinced that the combination of [Fox's] iconic assets, brands and franchises with Disney's will create one of the greatest, most innovative companies in the world."

Here's what's on the block

Disney and Comcast are vying for assets including the Twentieth Century Fox film and TV studio as well the U.S. cable networks and regional sports channels.

Outside the US, operations including Sky and Star India are in play along with Fox’s one-third stake in the streaming service Hulu.

Not on the auction block are Fox News, Fox Sports 1, the Fox broadcast network or its television stations.

Irrespective of who eventually wins, the assets would be spun off into a new company, for the moment, dubbed New Fox.

Wed, 20 Jun 2018 08:21:00 +1000
<![CDATA[News - 21st Century Fox bid battle could kick-off after key US court ruling approved another mega-takeover ]]> The bid battle for 21st Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOX) could kick off in earnest on Wednesday after a key US court ruling approved another mega-takeover.

On Tuesday, a US Federal judge ruled that telecoms giant AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T.) can proceed with its near US$85bn acquisition of Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX), which traders believe will give a greenlight to other big deals.

A battle to ensue?

Fox has agreed a US$52.4bn all-stock deal with Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) to sell it some of its key TV and movie assets, including its majority holding in UK-based satellite broadcaster Sky PLC (LON:SKY) for which Fox recently got UK approval for a mop-up bid.

However, traders think, cable TV giant Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ:CMCSA) – which has already made a rival bid for Sky - is now likely to formally submit a rival US$60bn all-cash bid for Fox as soon as Wednesday.

The US Justice Department may still object to a Comcast acquisition of Fox assets, but commentators think it would have a much harder time blocking the deal following the AT&T/Time Warner ruling.

If Comcast does formalise its Fox bid, Disney is expected to sweeten its own offer for the TV and movie assets and a battle will ensue.

In pre-market New York trading, Fox shares were 7% higher at US$42.33, while after hours, while Disney shares shed 1.7% to US$102.55, and Comcast shares fell 3.4% to US$31.29.

In London, Sky shares were down 1.1% at 1,342.5p as investors await the next twist in the long-running takeover saga which began back in December 2016.

Wed, 13 Jun 2018 07:03:00 +1000
<![CDATA[News - Twenty-First Century Fox misses on fiscal 3Q earnings, beats on revenue helped by cable TV segment ]]> Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (NASDAQ:FOXA) posted fiscal third-quarter earnings late Wednesday that widely missed Wall Street estimates.

The media conglomerate attributed part of that miss to a US$60mln charge to account for higher compensation expenses as a result of its proposed sale of assets to The Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS).

On an adjusted basis, 21st-Century Fox booked earnings of US$0.49 per share, well below the US$0.54 per share consensus of analysts.

Revenue in the quarter ended March 31 came in at US$7.42bn vs. estimates of US$7.41bn.

Executive Chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch said in a release that the company's cable segment “delivered its highest earnings ever in our fiscal third quarter, propelled by sustained double-digit gains in domestic affiliate revenues.”

READ: Comcast reportedly seeking support from banks to start a bidding war over 21st Century Fox assets

The company is in the process of selling off many of its assets in a deal with The Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) valued at US$60bn. Meanwhile, the company is engaged in a bidding war with Comcast Corp (NASDAQ:CMCSA) to take over British satellite broadcaster Sky.

Share were unchanged in extended trading.

Wed, 09 May 2018 16:38:00 +1000
<![CDATA[News - 21st Century Fox's London offices raided by the European Commission ]]> The London offices of 21st Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOX) have been raided by officials from the European Commission (EC).

Hard copy documents and computer files were taken by officials who were investigating a potential abuse of the broadcaster's dominant position in the broadcasting of major sports events.

READ: Here’s the news: Sky gets surprise £22.1bn cash bid from Comcast, trumping Rupert Murdoch's Fox offer​

A spokesman for the commission confirmed that Fox's offices in Hammersmith, London, were among those in several EU countries to receive “unannounced inspections”.

A spokesman for media mogul Rupert Murdoch's Fox said the company is cooperating fully with the commission's inspection.

European Commission announces raids in several countries over potential price-fixing of sports rights.

The Daily Telegraph reports investigators are currently at the London HQ of 21st Century Fox’s channels distribution unit Fox Networks:

— Nick Stylianou (@nmsonline) April 10, 2018

“The fact that the commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself,” a spokesperson for the European Commission said.

21st Century Fox is currently embroiled in a controversial takeover battle for pay-TV firm Sky PLC (LON:SKY).

READ: Sky News could be sold to Disney in bid to gain CMA approval for Fox-Sky takeover​

For decades, British governments lived in fear of the once Australian, once British, now American media mogul Murdoch and his empire, but of late, the man known as “the Dirty Digger” has not had it all his own way, with the UK's competition and markets authority provisionally indicating that should Fox be successful in its takeover of Sky, the Murdoch family would have too much control over the provision of news in the UK.

The abandonment of Leveson 2 confirmed our Government’s abject fear of Rupert Murdoch. Today, the European Commission raided his London offices.

— James O'Brien (@mrjamesob) April 11, 2018

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority aided the European Commission officials in their raid of Fox's Hammersmith offices.

The “A” shares of Twenty First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOXA) were down 1.6% at US$35.69 in pre-market trading.

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 07:39:00 +1000
<![CDATA[News - 21st Century Fox brings in Citibank to help finance Sky takeover ]]> 21st century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOXA) has removed Bank of America from the  group of banks lined up to help finance its proposed US$15.5bn (£10.75bn) takeover of UK pay-TV giant Sky PLC (LON:SKY).

The Rupert Murdoch-owned company has drafted in Citibank in BoA’s place.

Fox requested the change because Merrill Lynch – which is part of the BoA group – is an advisor to US cable firm Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA), which has rivalled Fox’s offer with a bid of its own.

Fox, Disney and now Comcast all interested in Sky

Fox – which already owns 39% of Sky’s stock – first launched its bid of £10.75 per Sky share back in December 2016.

Sky’s board has recommended that shareholders accept the offer, but the two parties are still awaiting approval from competition regulators in the UK.

To add to the drama, at the end of last year Fox agreed to sell a string of assets to The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) – including the stake in Sky – once the takeover has closed.

More recently, Comcast – which owns NBC and Universal Pictures – threw its hat into the ring with a possible US$31bn (£22.1bn) all-cash offer, which values each share at £12.50.

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 10:03:00 +1100
<![CDATA[News - Fox vows to keep Sky News running for 10 years under renewed takeover offer ]]> 21st Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOXA) has improved its offer of concessions to gain regulatory clearance for its £11.7bn takeover of Sky PLC (LON:SKY).

Fox, owned by Rupert Murdoch, is now willing to keep running Sky News for at least 10 years, double the amount it previously promised the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The CMA last month said the takeover bid raised media plurality concerns because it would give the Murdoch family too much power over the UK media.

READ: Murdoch's Sky bid against public interest, competition authority rules provisionally

Fox’s sweetened offer brings it closer in line with a 10-year funding commitment made in 2011 in a failed attempt to buy the 61% of Sky that it does not already own.

But the deal is weaker than in 2011 because Fox said Sky News would be guaranteed funding at the current level for five years and then at least five more years of money “at a level to be determined at the time”.

Fox has also strengthened its offer to shield Sky News against any Murdoch influence.

It had already said it will create an independent board for Sky News but the new offer promises to give annual updates on editorial independence.

The revised offer also gives the board the right to nominate a candidate for head of Sky News when the time comes to replace the incumbent John Ryley.

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 15:42:00 +1100
<![CDATA[News - Fox stock seen higher on rumours Comcast may return with new approach ]]> Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOX) stock was moving higher in Monday’s premarket dealing as reports emerged suggesting that Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is considering a fresh takeover approach.

Comcast had been rejected in a previous tilt, even though the approach was pitched considerably higher than the rival The Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) bid.

READ: Walt Disney confirms deal to buy most of 21st Century Fox's assets

The cable and communications group’s offer was at around the low US$60mln range, according to a Wall Street Journal report, whereas Disney’s bid was at US$52.4bn, but, was declined due to the potential for anti-trust complications.

The WSJ claimed that whilst the takeover by Disney is still to close, Comcast has not decided whether or not it will make a new approach.

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 08:18:00 +1100
<![CDATA[News - 21st Century Fox beats estimates with Q4 earnings; expects Sky takeover to get UK approval ]]> 21st Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOX) said it still expects the UK competition authorities to approve its £11.7bn takeover of UK broadcaster Sky PLC (LON:SKY), despite a provisional finding that the deal would not be in the public interest.

In an earnings calls with analysts, Fox boss James Murdoch said his firm was still working with regulators to resolve their concerns and that the company still expects the takeover to be approved by the end of June.

READ: Murdoch's Sky bid 'against public interest'

The UK competition watchdog’s provisional finding was that the deal should not get the green light because it would give Rupert Murdoch and his family – who have significant stakes in several UK media businesses – too much control over the UK media landscape.

The deal between Fox and Sky was originally reached over a year ago but it has been with the regulators ever since.

Adding to the complication is Fox’s deal to sell some of its assets, including its stake in Sky, to The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS). That deal is also with competition authorities in the US.

Cable networks boost Q4 revenues

Murdoch’s comments came as Fox reported a 5% rise in revenues to US$8.04bn in the three months ended December 31, driven by a better than expected performance from its cable networks, including its flagship Fox News channel, which offset declines in broadcast television and film.

Profits more than doubled to US$1.83bn, or 99 US cents a share, thanks to a one-time gain from the tax reforms recently brought in by President Trump.

Excluding that US$1.34bn tax benefit and some other items, earnings fell to 42 US cents a share but came in ahead of analysts’ estimates of 38 US cents a share.

‘Solid growth’

“We delivered another quarter of solid top-line revenue growth including the further acceleration of gains in global affiliate revenues and despite challenging revenue comparisons for our TV segment,” said executive chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch.

“Looking ahead, we are focused on continuing to deliver value to our shareholders through achieving our near-term growth plans, completing our proposed acquisition of the balance of Sky, obtaining the required approvals for the successful completion of our transaction with Disney and planning for the exciting launch of the new ‘Fox’.

Fox shares inched 0.2% higher to US$36.12 in premarket trading.

Thu, 08 Feb 2018 09:15:00 +1100
<![CDATA[News - Walt Disney confirms deal to buy most of 21st Century Fox's assets ]]> Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) has confirmed that it will buy a large chunk of 21st Century Fox Inc.’s (NASDAQ:FOX) assets for US$52.4bn in stock.

The takeover includes Fox’s stakes in British broadcaster Sky PLC (LON:SKY) and video streaming service Hulu as well as its film studio, Asian pay-TV operator Star TV and regional sports networks.

READ: Disney closes in on deal with Fox as estimated US$425mln debut of Star Wars looms

Rupert Murdoch’s company will retain its Fox News and Sports channels.

The news comes just as Disney's 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' looks set for an estimated US$425mln opening weekend, providing a further uplift for the company over the Christmas period. 

Under the deal, the Murdoch family will take a 42.5% stake in Disney.

“We are extremely proud of all that we have built at 21st Century Fox, and I firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders as the new Disney continues to set the pace in what is an exciting and dynamic industry,” said Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox.

Disney chief executive Bob Iger will continue to run the business until 2021.

James Murdoch, the chief executive of 21st Century Fox, was reportedly mooted for a senior role at Disney’s enlarged group but he was not named in the new corporate structure. However, he is expected to leave Fox to pursue other business interests once the deal is completed.

Disney readies launch of video streaming service

“The acquisition of this stellar collection of businesses from 21st Century Fox reflects the increasing consumer demand for a rich diversity of entertainment experiences that are more compelling, accessible and convenient than ever before,”Iger said.

The acquisition comes as Disney prepares to launch its own video streaming service to rival Netflix in 2019. The deal will boost its catalogue of films, which includes the Star Wars franchise, Avatar and Deadpool.

Given that a Disney-Fox combination would see it control almost 40% of the US$11bn US box office, it could struggle to receive regulatory approval.

The US government has been tightening the reins on such deals, blocking AT&T’s US$85bn bid for Time Warner unless it offloads CNN.

What it means for Fox's Sky takeover bid

Fox’s pursuit to buy the remaining 61% of Sky it does not already own is being investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority for media plurality and broadcasting standards. The regulator was to publish provisional findings in January.

The BBC reported that the Disney deal would not alter the CMA’s investigation of the £11.7bn takeover bid for Sky.

If Disney inherits Fox’s existing 39% stake in Sky stake after the CMA has blocked the deal, it could launch a fresh bid for the broadcaster. 

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 13:44:00 +1100
<![CDATA[News - Disney closes in on deal with Fox as estimated US$425mln debut of Star Wars looms ]]> Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) is expected to announce a deal to buy most of 21st Century Fox as early as Thursday, adding to the Christmas cheer that the new Star Wars film promises to bring this season.

Disney’s ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is set to be one of the biggest opening weekends of the year with an estimated US$425mln global debut.  

READ: Walt Disney and Altice reach tentative deal to keep ESPN, ABC on air in New York

The film will be officially released in the UK on Thursday, a day ahead of the US launch.

The franchise will play a key role in Disney’s efforts to rival Netflix in its plans to launch its own video streaming service.

An acquisition of Fox’s assets, including its film studio, cable channels and stakes in Hulu and Sky, would bolster Disney’s content offering before rolling out the new service in 2019.

The deal values the assets at about US$60bn, including debt.  

Fox, currently home to the Avatar and X-Men film franchises, would be left with its broadcast network and Fox News Channel.

The remaining assets will be spun off into a new company worth about US$10 per share, the Financial Times reported, citing sources.

Fox and Disney were on Tuesday still said to be in talks about the details for a deal, including the total price to be paid for the assets and the future of Fox chief executive James Murdoch.

READ: Lucasfilm calls in JJ Abrams to oversee delayed episode 9 of Star Wars saga

James Murdoch is understood to be in line for a senior role at the combined group, which would end 20 years working for his father Rupert.

The companies were also said to be discussing what measures need to be taken to be approved by US regulators.

US President Donald Trump’s administration has been tightening regulation on such deals, having recently blocked AT&T’s US$85.4bn acquisition of Time Warner unless it sells off some of its broadcast networks.

The merger of the two movie studios and Disney’s dominant position in sport could be raised as a possible competition concern.  

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 11:34:00 +1100
<![CDATA[News - Disney becomes sole suitor to buy Fox assets after Comcast bows out of bid ]]> Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ:CMCSA) has bowed out of the race to buy most of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA), leaving Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) in pole position for a takeover.

Disney is expected to announce it will acquire Fox’s assets as soon as this week, following reports that the two companies have been in advanced discussions. An offer of up to US$60bn is reportedly on the table.

READ: Walt Disney said to be nearing deal to buy 21st Century Fox assets

The assets include Fox’s cable channels, film studio, a stake in the Hulu streaming service and its holding in British broadcaster Sky PLC (LON:SKY).

With Comcast announcing on Monday that it has abandoned its bid for Fox, Disney has become the sole suitor in its quest for an acquisition.

Comcast’s interest in buying the assets first emerged early last month when talks between Fox and Disney were believed to have ended.

Since then, it is understood Fox and Disney have revived talks, with many analysts seeing it as the most likely coupling.

On its decision to exit the bidding process, Comcast said: “When a set of assets like 21st Century Fox’s becomes available, it’s our responsibility to evaluate if there’s a strategic fit that could benefit our company and our shareholders.

"That’s what we tried to do and we are no longer engaged in the review of those assets. We never got the level of engagement needed to make a definitive offer."

Last week the Murdoch family tried to ease employee concerns about a possible sale of Fox’s assets in a memo, which read: “While we can’t comment on market speculation, we do want to address the impact we know this is having on all of you. Uncertainty always breeds unease. In every way, our focus is on our businesses and on the welfare of all our colleagues.”

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 13:26:00 +1100
<![CDATA[News - Walt Disney said to be nearing deal to buy 21st Century Fox assets ]]> Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) is said to be nearing a deal to buy most of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) with an announcement expected as soon as next week.

Disney is reportedly in advanced talks with Fox to buy its film studio, cable channels, a stake in the Hulu streaming service and international assets, including the Star cable and media company in India and British broadcaster Sky plc (LON:SKY).

Comcast is also believed to be in negotiations with Fox but the talks with Disney are moving faster, the New York Times reported, citing sources.

The sources told the newspaper that an agreement between Fox and Disney could be announced next week.

A potential deal would leave Fox with the Fox News Channel, Fox broadcast network and its sports rights.

It would also end Fox’s pursuit to buy the rest of the stake in Sky that it does not already own for £11.7bn.

The UK’s Competition Markets Authority is reviewing the deal after a referral by culture secretary, Karen Bradley, in September over worries about the level of influence it would give media companies controlled by the Murdoch family as well as its possible impact on Fox’s commitment to broadcasting standards.

A deal with Fox would boost Disney’s content ahead of its plans to launch its own video streaming service in 2019, preparing the company to go head-to-head with competitors Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX).

 Disney announced in August that it will end its distribution deal with Netflix in order to roll-out its streaming service.


Wed, 06 Dec 2017 12:59:00 +1100
<![CDATA[News - 21st Century Fox 'restarts talks' with Walt Disney to sell most of business, including Sky ]]> Rupert Mudorch’s 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) has reportedly restarted talks to sell most of the company, including its stake in UK broadcaster Sky PLC (LON:SKY), to Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS).

Fox is said to be in talks with Disney to sell its film studio, cable channels and international businesses, including India’s Star network, and Sky.

Negotiations between the two were believed to have ended in November but have now resumed, according to reports, including The Wall Street Journal, a division of Murdoch’s News Corp.

A potential deal would leave Fox with the Fox News Channel, Fox broadcast network and its sports rights.

It would also end Fox’s pursuit to buy the rest of the stake in Sky that it does not already own for £11.7bn.

The UK’s Competition Markets Authority is reviewing the deal after a referral by culture secretary, Karen Bradley, in September over worries about the level of influence it would give media companies controlled by the Murdoch family as well as its possible impact on Fox’s commitment to broadcasting standards.

UK watchdog, Ofcom, has raised concerns over media plurality issues.

A deal with Fox would boost Disney’s content ahead of its plans to launch its own streaming service in 2019.

Competition for streaming has been growing as more consumers turn to online viewing and as Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Netflix Inc (NASDAQ:NFLX) invest heavily in sourcing and creating their own content. In November, CNBC reported that Fox's managers decided to sell most of the business as they believed the company could not gain the size needed to compete with Amazon, Netflix and other major competitors.

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 14:41:00 +1100
<![CDATA[News - Twenty-First Century Fox stock seen higher on Sky stake sale talk ]]> The big-media consolidation story has seemingly become a little more complicated as Comcast and Verizon are reportedly in the market for Twenty-First Century Fox Inc’s (NASDAQ:FOX) stake in Sky PLC (LON:SKY).

It is almost a year since Fox moved to acquire all the shares in Sky, though as Rupert Murdoch buy-out is in gridlock – with the British government kicking the deal into regulatory review with the UK competition watchdog – other possibilities are apparently on the table.

READ: Sky says it could shut down Sky News if it gets in the way of takeover by Murdoch's Fox

Murdoch has had early stage talks with the two American telecoms and media groups, according to a Wall Street Journal report, though the claims were neither confirmed nor denied by the companies.

Fox stock rose just over 8% in Friday’s premarket dealing, changing hands at US$30.90.

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 07:30:00 +1100
<![CDATA[News - 21st Century Fox Inc edge lower premarket after better than expected first quarter results ]]> Media giant, Twenty-first Century Fox Inc (NYSE:FOXA) saw its edge lower in premarket trade after it released better than expected first quarter results.

Its adjusted earnings from continuing operations came in at 49 US cents, beating market consensus for 48 US cents.

READ: 21st Century Fox in talks with Walt Disney to sell most of the business - report

Earnings however fell by 4% year-on-year.

Including one-time items, earnings came in at 45 US cents a share compared with 44 US cents a year ago.

Top line rose 7.6% year-on-year to US$7.0bn, and also beat market consensus for $6.868bn, largely due to the robust affiliate revenues at the Cable Network Programming and Television segments, as well as content revenues at the Filmed Entertainment segment.

Cable Network Programming saw its revenues rise 10.1% to US$4.196bn, boosted by affiliate as well as advertising revenue growth, offsetting the 11% hike in costs.

READ: Twenty-First Century Fox counting the cost of USA's World Cup elimination

Film Entertainment also saw revenues rise, up 2.9% to US$1.963bn while the Television division saw net revenues grow by 2.6% to US$1.065bn.

In premarket, its shares were down 2.10% at US$27.50.

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 09:19:00 +1100
<![CDATA[News - 21st Century Fox in talks with Walt Disney to sell most of the business - report ]]> 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOX) has reportedly held talks with Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) about selling a large chunk of its assets.  

Rupert Murdoch recently held discussions with Disney about selling Fox’s movie and TV production studio studios, cable networks FX and National Geographic and international assets such as the Star network in India and its stake in Sky, CNBC reported.

READ: Twenty-First Century Fox counting the cost of USA's World Cup elimination

The deal would leave Fox a media company focused on news and sport while boosting Disney’s content offering as it prepares to launch its own direct-to-consumer streaming services in 2019.

Disney recently announced that it would pull its movies from Netflix and create its two streaming services – one for sport and another for its key franchises such as Star Wars - in 2019 as more consumers turn to digital video content.

Disney and Fox declined to comment. 

READ: Walt Disney and Altice reach tentative deal to keep ESPN, ABC on air in New York

The news comes as Britain’s competition watchdog investigates Fox's proposed £11.7bn bid to buy the rest of the shares in Sky PLC (LON:SKY) that it does not already own.

Tue, 07 Nov 2017 13:10:00 +1100
<![CDATA[News - Twenty-First Century Fox counting the cost of USA's World Cup elimination ]]> While the USA team is undoubtedly distraught at failing to qualify for next year's football World Cup, so are Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOXA) shareholders.

The world's favourite team sport is growing in popularity in the US, but it is doubtful that interest in next year's tournament Stateside will be that high without the US men's team's involvement, making Fox's investment in securing the English language rights for coverage a dubious one.

The network paid US$425mln for the broadcasting rights for the 2018 tournament in Russia and the 2022 tournament in Qatar – and there are doubts the latter will even go ahead.

It always helps viewing figures at a major tournament when the national team qualifies, but team USA blew its chance last night in a crunch match with Trinidad & Tobago, losing 1-2 to the team that was placed last in the six-nation qualifying group and which had nothing to play for except pride.

It did not help matters that a succession of other results went against the USA, including wins for Honduras and Panama.

It is the first time since 1986 that the USA has failed to qualify for the World Cup. Only elite footballing nations Brazil and Germany can match that.

In three of the last four tournaments the team has made it past the group stage in the World Cup tournament, which is no mean achievement, albeit not anywhere near the level of success achieved by the USA's women's team.

This is Aaron Johansson. Played for Iceland U-21 then switched to ???????? in 2013 to have a chance of playing in World Cup.

Don't be like Aaron.

— Wael Jabir (@waeljabir) October 11, 2017

While the result was a disaster for Fox, spare a thought for Aaron Johansson, who played for Iceland at under-21 level but then switched his allegiance to the USA to have a better chance of playing in a World Cup.

Iceland, with a population of around 335,000 has qualified for the 2018 World Cup; the USA, population 325mln, has not.

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 08:39:00 +1100
<![CDATA[News - Twenty-first Century Fox Inc shares rise as Murdoch family sounds confident outlook ]]> Twenty-first Century Fox Inc (NYSE:FOXA) has reported disappointing quarterly revenue but analysts appeared to accept the company’s explanation that its results were stacked against strong box office results in the year-ago period.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned firm said total revenue increased almost 5% to US$7.5bn in the third quarter ended 31 March, supported by ad revenue for the Super Bowl in its TV division. However, revenue fell short of analysts’ expectations of US$7.6bn.

Its film division saw sales drop nearly 3% to US$2.26bn as releases like Logan grossed less than hit Deadpool did in same quarter a year ago.

The lack of a box office hit, combined with the absence of cricket broadcasts in India and flat advertising at its US cable networks, saw profits fall 5% to US$799mln.

Shares rise as analysts weigh Fox results

Some analysts seemed to swallow the group’s reason for the decline. Tuna Amobi at CFRA Research agreed that the results "were mainly constrained by tough film comparisons".

Shares edged up 2.15% to US$28.45 in US pre-market trading.

Advertising revenue was hit after many clients abandoned the Fox News channel this year amid claims of sexual harassment and mismanagement, which saw the departure of presenter Bill O’Reilly and former chairman Roger Ailes.

Fox spent about US$45mln related to the sexual harassment litigation in the nine months to March, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company said settlements or future claims related to the lawsuits were not expected to have a material impact on its finances.

James Murdoch sounded a confident note on an investor call, saying the Fox News would continue to dominate ratings.

Sky takeover deal to close this year...

Executive chairmen Lachlan and Rupert Murdoch also expressed optimism on the company's bid to take full ownership of Sky plc (LON:SKY). They said the deal should close this year.

“We remain confident the proposed transaction will be approved by the end of the calendar year following a thorough review process," they said in a joint-statement.

Fox already owns about 39% of Sky and its £11.6bn bid to take over full control is being reviewed by UK regulators.

Thu, 11 May 2017 14:22:00 +1000