Wed, 20 Jan 2021

NEW YORK, New York - News Corp on Saturday reported fiscal 2020 full year total revenues of $9.01 billion.

The figure was down 11% on last year's $10.07 billion, a good result considering the impact of the coronoavirus.

The company said the decline primarily reflects an estimated $370 million, or 4%, negative impact related to the virus as well as the divestiture of News America Marketing.

The decline also reflects a $275 million, or 3%, negative impact from foreign currency fluctuations and lower subscription revenues at the Australian pay-TV distributor Foxtel. The decline was partially offset by growth in circulation and subscription revenues at the Dow Jones segment. Adjusted Revenues decreased 6%.

News Corp, chaired by Rupert Murdoch jointly with son Lachlan, owns and operates two-thirds of newspapers sold in Australia including its signature national publication The Australian, Sydney's The Daily Telegraph, and Melbourne's Herald-Sun. The group also owns and operates The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, Fox Sports, MarketWatch, Dow Jones and Harper Collins Publishers, along with The Sun and The Times, two of Britain's top-selling newspapers, and The Irish Sun newspaper. News Corp does not own Fox News, Fox Business, Fox Sports or the Fox TV stations, these assets are separately owned by Fox Corp, which is also controlled by the Murdoch family, with a circa 39% interest.

Net loss for the full year for the News Corp group was $(1.55) billion as compared to net income of $228 million in the prior year, reflecting $1.69 billion of non-cash impairment charges, primarily related to Foxtel and News America Marketing.

Total Segment EBITDA for the full year was $1.01 billion, a 19% decrease compared to $1.24 billion in the prior year, reflecting lower revenues, as discussed above, and a $45 million, or 4%, negative impact from foreign currency fluctuations. The decline was partially offset by cost savings, particularly at the News Media segment, lower sports rights and production costs at Foxtel related to the suspension of sporting events due to COVID-19 and Segment EBITDA growth at the Dow Jones segment. The negative impact from COVID-19 on Total Segment EBITDA for the year is estimated to be $55-$70 million and represents the Company's best estimate based on historical trends in operating performance and known identifiable impacts. Adjusted Total Segment EBITDA decreased 9%.

Diluted net (loss) income per share attributable to News Corporation stockholders was $(2.16) as compared to $0.26 in the prior year.

Adjusted EPS were $0.22 compared to $0.46 in the prior year.

"The resegmentation of News Corp is a particularly historic moment and a fulfillment of our pledge to make the company more transparent and its potential more obvious. The presentation of Dow Jones as a separate segment highlights what we believe are two incontrovertible facts: the substantial and growing value of that business; and its superior profit profile and prospects compared to those of our nearest competitor. In what has been a difficult year for many media companies, Dow Jones reported a 13 percent increase in Segment EBITDA, based on the strength of its Professional Information Business, digital growth and the pre-eminence of The Wall Street Journal," News Corp's Chief Executive Robert Thomson said Saturday.

"Across the Company, we have taken stringent action to reduce costs, and the benefits of those cuts will be felt in coming quarters. We have also launched a Shared Services program that we believe will transform the Company, by centralizing many of our functions. We are confident that this program should appreciably cut costs and expect it to have a materially positive impact on our bottom line."

"The closure in Australia of many of our storied print editions and the renewed emphasis on digital was evidence of our willingness to be decisive at a historic inflection point. One result of our candid approach on costs was that, despite the COVID-19 impact, our cash position strengthened to $1.5 billion from $1.3 billion as of December 31st. We also saw increased profitability at Foxtel and our campaign to reset sports rights prices was successful. Just this week, we crossed the one million OTT paying subscribers mark, setting a new record thanks to our expanded streaming strategy," Thomson said.

"The changed terms of trade with the digital platforms is having a positive impact on our earnings. For News Corp, this favorable outcome would not have been possible without the leadership of Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, and the support of a board which backed our advocacy, even when News Corp stood alone in pursuit of the principle of a premium for premium content."

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