Amid ample drama, with a potential new bid by Comcast for a number of its businesses, 21st Century Fox posted slightly lower revenue results for its most recent reporting period -- with overall declines in advertising but higher affiliate fees.
The company had a 2% drop in revenue to $7.42 billion. But the results were a bit better than analysts estimated. Net income grew 7% to $858 million from $799 million.
Fox’s advertising revenue sank 25% to $1.6 billion, while affiliate revenue grew 11%.
Advertising results were affected by its broadcasting business' unfavorable comparisons to a year ago, when it had the Super Bowl, as well as three fewer NFL telecasts in the period.
Overall broadcasting revenue fell 32% to $1.7 billion.
Fox’s main revenue driver was cable network programming -- including its FX Networks, Fox News Channel and Fox Business -- which grew 9.8% to $4.4 billion in revenue.
Fox’s cable advertising was up 3%, says Brian Wieser, senior research analyst at Pivotal Research Group, with Fox News Channel benefitting from higher pricing.
Its film entertainment business was down 0.6% to $2.24 billion.
During a financial results call, 21st Century Fox senior executives would not comment on a potential hostile bid from Comcast to buy up the assets Fox had pledged to Disney for $52.4 billion.
Analysts believe a bidding war between Comcast and Disney could start for those business, which includes TV/film production, FX cable networks, Hulu, its regional sports networks and Fox’s interest in Sky.
Fox released its latest quarterly earnings after the close of the markets on Wednedsay; mid-morning Thurday trading of Fox’s stock was up 1% to 38.10.