NEW YORK, May 9, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. ("21st Century Fox" or the "Company" -- (NASDAQ: FOXA, FOX) today reported financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2018.
The Company reported quarterly income from continuing operations attributable to 21st Century Fox stockholders of $876 million ($0.47 per share), an 8% increase compared to $811 million ($0.44 per share) reported in the prior year quarter. Excluding the net income effects of Impairment and restructuring charges, Other, net, and adjustments to Equity losses of affiliates1 adjusted quarterly earnings per share from continuing operations attributable to 21st Century Fox stockholders2 was $0.49 compared to the adjusted result of $0.54 for the same quarter of the prior year. The current quarter's segment operating income before depreciation and amortization ("OIBDA")3 reflects an approximate $60 million charge from higher compensation expense due to the modification of equity awards resulting from the proposed Disney and New Fox transactions4 which negatively impacted adjusted earnings per share by $0.02 per share.
The Company reported total quarterly revenues of $7.42 billion, a 2% decrease from the $7.56 billion of revenues reported in the prior year quarter. This decrease principally reflects the absence of advertising revenues generated by Super Bowl LI in the prior year at the Television segment partially offset by higher affiliate, syndication and advertising revenues at the Cable Network Programming segment.
Quarterly income from continuing operations before income tax expense of $1.33 billion increased 6% from the $1.25 billion reported in the prior year quarter. Quarterly OIBDA of $1.89 billion was 2% lower than the amount reported in the prior year quarter as higher contributions from the Cable Network Programming segment were more than offset by lower contributions from the Company's Television and Filmed Entertainment segments as well as the higher compensation expense related to the Disney and New Fox transactions included in the Other, Corporate and Eliminations segment.
Commenting on the results, Executive Chairmen Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch said:
"We continue to make operational and financial progress against near-term objectives as we also work to close our strategic transactions. Our cable segment delivered its highest earnings ever in our fiscal third quarter, propelled by sustained double-digit gains in domestic affiliate revenues. Creatively, we are firing on all cylinders. Our stand-out programming continues to drive up the value of our video brands to distributors, as well as build our direct relationship with consumers, as we're demonstrating with the successful inaugural season of Indian Premiere League on STAR Sports and Hotstar platforms. Our film studio delivered box-office and awards momentum that we expect to continue with the upcoming release of Deadpool 2."
REVIEW OF SEGMENT OPERATING RESULTS
CABLE NETWORK PROGRAMMING
Cable Network Programming quarterly segment OIBDA increased 16% compared to the prior year quarter to $1.68 billion, driven by a 10% revenue increase on higher affiliate, syndication and advertising revenues partially offset by a 6% increase in expenses. The increase in expenses was primarily due to the first year of sublicensed Big Ten rights and higher sports and entertainment programming costs at Fox Networks Group International ("FNG International"), partially offset by lower sports programming costs at STAR India ("STAR") due to a shift in timing of cricket matches.
Domestic affiliate revenue increased 10% driven by contractual rate increases across all of our domestic brands and domestic advertising revenue increased 3% from the prior year period due to higher pricing at Fox News. Domestic OIBDA contributions increased 15% over the prior year quarter reflecting strong growth across all of our domestic brands.
International affiliate revenue increased 14% driven by rate and subscriber growth at both FNG International and STAR. International advertising revenue declined 1% as strong growth at FNG International was offset by the negative impact of a shift in timing of cricket matches at STAR. International OIBDA contributions were 23% higher than the prior year quarter as STAR's contributions more than doubled but were partially offset by lower contributions at FNG International, where higher costs more than offset the higher reported revenues.
Television reported quarterly segment OIBDA of $78 million, a decrease of $112 million compared to the prior year quarter. The decline principally reflects the absence of advertising revenue and OIBDA generated from the broadcast of the Super Bowl in the prior year quarter. Additionally, this quarter's results reflect revenue and OIBDA declines from lower National Football League ("NFL") postseason ratings and three fewer NFL broadcasts in the current quarter versus the prior year quarter that more than offset double-digit retransmission consent revenue growth and improved entertainment OIBDA contributions.
Filmed Entertainment generated quarterly segment OIBDA of $286 million, a 23% decrease from the $373 million reported in the prior year quarter. The OIBDA decline reflects lower contributions from the television production business due to higher deficits related to more new drama series delivered during the quarter and the absence of revenues from the prior year subscription-video-on-demand licensing of The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Additionally, during the quarter, the Company incurred costs supporting FoxNext Games's successful inaugural mobile game release, Marvel Strike Force. Quarterly segment revenues of $2.24 billion were similar to a year-ago as higher theatrical revenues at the film studio reflecting the successful worldwide theatrical performances of The Greatest Showman, The Shape of Water and Maze Runner: The Death Cure were offset by lower worldwide syndication revenues at the television production business. 20th Century Fox's films led the industry in awards season, both in terms of nominations and wins. Our films earned an industry-leading 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture for The Shape of Water, and 7 Golden Globe Awards, following 27 nominations in both instances, the most of any studio.
REVIEW OF EQUITY LOSSES OF AFFILIATES' RESULTS
The Company's share of equity losses of affiliates is as follows:
Quarterly equity losses of affiliates were $86 million as compared to $51 million reported in the same period a year-ago. The $35 million increase in losses primarily reflects higher equity losses at Hulu partially offset by improved results reported at Endemol Shine Group and Sky.
On May 9, 2018, the Company announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. ("Sinclair") and Tribune Media Company ("Tribune") to acquire seven television stations from Tribune for approximately $910 million, subject to certain purchase price adjustments. The transaction will grow Fox Television Stations' coverage to nearly half of all U.S. households, and its market presence to 19 of the top 20 DMAs. As part of the transaction, the Company entered into new network affiliation agreements with Sinclair and will grant to Sinclair options to acquire two of the Company's stations. Completion of the stations acquisition, which is anticipated to close in the first half of fiscal 2019, is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected to be coordinated with the closing of Sinclair's proposed acquisition of Tribune.
Acquisition by Disney and Creation of New "Fox"
On December 14, 2017, the Company announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement for The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) to acquire the Company, including the Twentieth Century Fox Film and Television studios, along with cable and international TV businesses, for approximately $52.4 billion in stock (subject to adjustment). Prior to the acquisition, the Company will separate the Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Television Stations, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FS1, FS2, Big Ten Network and certain other assets into a newly listed company that will be spun off to its shareholders. The transaction is subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, including regulatory and shareholder approval, the receipt of a tax ruling from the Australian Taxation Office and certain tax opinions with respect to the treatment of the transaction under U.S. and Australian tax laws, and other customary closing conditions. On April 18, 2018 the preliminary joint proxy statement/prospectus was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with the transaction. The transaction is expected to be completed approximately 12 to 18 months from December 13, 2017.
Pending Acquisition of the Remaining Shares of Sky
The Company's pending acquisition of the public shares of Sky has been cleared on public interest and plurality grounds in all of the markets in which Sky operates except the UK, including Austria, Germany, Italy and the Republic of Ireland. The transaction has also received unconditional clearance by all relevant competition authorities. The transaction is subject to certain other customary closing conditions and the requisite approval of Sky shareholders unaffiliated with the Company. On September 20, 2017, the U.K. Secretary of State referred the proposed transaction to the Competition and Market Authority (CMA) for a second phase review on grounds of media plurality and broadcasting standards. The CMA provided its report on the transaction to the Secretary of State on May 1, 2018 and the Secretary of State is required to publish the report and make a final decision by no later than June 13, 2018. The Company anticipates regulatory approval of the transaction by early summer 2018. On April 25, 2018, Comcast Corporation announced a pre-conditional cash offer for the fully diluted share capital of Sky, which is subject to regulatory pre-conditions as well as additional closing conditions. The Company remains committed to its pre-conditional cash offer for the shares of Sky which the Company does not already own and is currently considering its options.
To access a copy of this press release through the Internet, access 21st Century Fox's corporate Web site located at http://www.21cf.com .
Audio from 21st Century Fox's conference call with analysts on the third quarter results can be heard live on the Internet at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time today. To listen to the call, visit https://www.21cf.com/investor-relations .
Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
This document contains certain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on management's views and assumptions regarding future events and business performance as of the time the statements are made. Actual results may differ materially from these expectations due to changes in global economic, business, competitive market and regulatory factors, and the proposed Disney transaction may not be consummated in a timely manner or at all. More detailed information about these and other factors that could affect future results is contained in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and more detailed information about these and other factors and risks associated with the proposed Disney transaction are more fully discussed in the preliminary joint proxy statement/prospectus that was included in the registration statement on Form S-4 that was filed with the SEC on April 18, 2018 in connection with the proposed Disney transaction, as well as in the registration statement filed with respect to New Fox. Investors and shareholders of the Company are urged to read the preliminary joint proxy statement/prospectus (and the final joint proxy statement/prospectus once filed) and other relevant documents filed or to be filed with the SEC carefully when they become available because they will contain important information about the proposed Disney transaction. The final joint proxy statement/prospectus will be mailed to stockholders of the Company as of the record date, which has not been set at this time. The "forward-looking statements" included in this document are made only as of the date of this document and we do not have any obligation to publicly update any "forward-looking statements" to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as required by law.
NOTE 1 – TOTAL SEGMENT OPERATING INCOME BEFORE DEPRECIATION AND AMORTIZATION
The Company evaluates the performance of its operating segments based on segment operating income before depreciation and amortization ("OIBDA"), and management uses total segment OIBDA as a measure of the performance of operating businesses separate from non-operating factors. Total segment OIBDA may be considered a non-GAAP measure and should be considered in addition to, not as a substitute for, net income, cash flow and other measures of financial performance reported in accordance with GAAP. In addition, this measure does not reflect cash available to fund requirements. This measure excludes items, such as depreciation and amortization as well as impairment charges, that are significant components in assessing the Company's financial performance.
Management believes that total segment OIBDA is an appropriate measure for evaluating the operating performance of the Company's business and provides investors and equity analysts a measure to analyze operating performance of the Company's business and enterprise value against historical data and competitors' data. Segment OIBDA is the primary measure used by our chief operating decision maker to evaluate the performance of and allocate resources to the Company's business segments.
Segment OIBDA does not include depreciation and amortization and the amortization of cable distribution investments and eliminates the variable effect across all business segments of depreciation and amortization. Depreciation and amortization expense includes the depreciation of property and equipment, as well as amortization of finite-lived intangible assets. Amortization of cable distribution investments represents a reduction against revenues over the term of a carriage arrangement and, as such, it is excluded from segment operating income before depreciation and amortization.
In addition, total segment OIBDA does not include: Loss from discontinued operations, net of tax, Impairment and restructuring charges, Equity losses of affiliates, Interest expense, net, Interest income, Other, net, Income tax (expense) benefit and Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests.
The following table reconciles income from continuing operations before income tax (expense) benefit to total segment OIBDA:
NOTE 2 – ADJUSTED NET INCOME AND ADJUSTED EPS FROM CONTINUING OPERATIONS
The calculation of income and earnings per share ("EPS") from continuing operations attributable to 21st Century Fox stockholders excluding net income effects of Impairment and restructuring charges, Equity affiliate adjustments, Other, net, and tax provision adjustments ("adjusted income and diluted EPS from continuing operations attributable to 21st Century Fox stockholders") may not be comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies. Adjusted income and diluted EPS from continuing operations attributable to 21st Century Fox stockholders are not measures of performance under generally accepted accounting principles and should not be construed as substitutes for consolidated net income and EPS as determined under GAAP as a measure of performance. However, management uses these measures in comparing the Company's historical performance and believes that they provide meaningful and comparable information to investors to assist in their analysis of our performance relative to prior periods and our competitors.
The Company uses adjusted income and diluted EPS from continuing operations attributable to 21st Century Fox stockholders to evaluate the performance of the Company's operations exclusive of certain items that impact the comparability of results from period to period.
The following table reconciles reported income and reported diluted EPS from continuing operations attributable to 21st Century Fox stockholders to adjusted income and diluted EPS from continuing operations attributable to 21st Century Fox stockholders for the three months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017.
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SOURCE Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc.