News Corp. 2Q Earnings Double: Will Company Sell MySpace?

News Corp. (NWS) on Wednesday posted fiscal second-quarter earnings that more than doubled from a year ago. Most of that gain comes from increased income from its cable network and television divisions and a year-earlier litigation charge at its publishing unit. The company also said it may sell its MySpace social-networking site.

Net income for the quarter, which ended Dec. 31, jumped to $642 million, or 24 cents a share, from $254 million, or 10 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose only about 1% to $8.76 billion.

News Corp. benefited from a jump in advertising revenue at both its Fox Television stations and cable networks, which more than offset lower filmed-entertainment earnings. Current theatrical and home-video releases have failed to keep pace with the year-earlier DVD success of "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs." Profit from the second quarter of 2010 also had been reduced by a $500 million settlement charge at News Corp.'s publishing division.

"I am also pleased with the continued recovery of our U.S. broadcasting business, including our local TV stations and the Fox Broadcasting Company, which posted its best quarterly profit in two and a half years," News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch said in a statement.

On a conference call Wednesday, the company added that it would explore "strategic options" for its MySpace division, including a possible sale, The Wall Street Journal reported. News Corp.'s digital-media business took a $275 million pre-tax charge, partly because of restructuring at MySpace, which trails closely held Facebook in popularity.

Earlier Wednesday, News Corp. unveiled The Daily, the first newspaper designed exclusively for tablet computers like the Apple iPad. The newspaper plans to publish as many as 100 pages each day in its news, sports, gossip, opinion and arts sections.

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