News Corp. earnings jump on cable business

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. reported higher earnings in its latest quarter, one week after the media conglomerate wrapped up a three-month campaign to buy Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report quoted Murdoch, speaking on a conference call with analysts and reporters, as saying he had high hopes for Dow Jones' potential, saying there was no company better positioned to exploit the growing demand for financial information.

At the same time, Murdoch also took aim at the $5 billion deal's critics, several of whom said the quality and independence of the paper could suffer under Murdoch.

For its latest quarter, News Corp.'s net earnings rose 4% rise as higher cable network results outweighed weakness in movies and television, the report said.

The report said News Corp. earned $890 million in the three months ended in June, the fourth quarter of its fiscal year, versus $852 million in the year-ago period.

Excluding discontinued operations in the year-ago period, however, profit rose 2%.

The results were in line with the estimates of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial. Last year the company sold a radio station group in Europe as well as the Times Education Supplement in Britain, the report said.

Revenue rose 9% to $7.37 billion.

Driving the results higher were more gains in cable networks, a division that includes Fox News Channel, FX and a series of regional sports networks. Operating income in that unit rose 46%.

The report further said the company's satellite television business, which had been through a rough patch, reported an 85% jump in profit as SKY Italia signed up 368,000 new customers, bringing its base to 4.2 million.