Shares of media giant News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWS) (NASDAQ:NWSA) were trading much lower on Friday morning, following the release of fourth-quarter and full-year results that were slightly ahead of analyst expectations. Both of the company's tickers fell as much as 10.7%, recovering to a roughly 10% drop by 11:05 a.m. EDT.
News Corp.'s top-line revenue rose 29% year over year, landing at $2.69 billion. On the bottom line, adjusted earnings retreated from $0.11 to $0.08 per diluted share. Analysts had been looking for earnings near $0.06 on sales in the neighborhood of $2.68 billion.
Full-year revenues rose 11% to $9.02 billion, driven by strong results among the digital real estate services and book publishing segments. That boost made up for weaker ad sales in News Corp.'s printed news outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and Sunday Times. The company also consolidated its Australian media operations by forming a joint venture with Aussie cable giant Telstra (OTC:TLSY.Y) where its 50/50 stakes in Foxtel and News Corp.'s full ownership in Fox Sports Australia were combined into "new Foxtel." News Corp. holds a 65% ownership stake in that operation, which contributed strongly to the fourth-quarter growth results.
The two News Corp. stocks jumped sky high last November when the Telstra/Foxtel deal was announced. Today, investors seemed to have second thoughts about the value of that idea, given the relatively modest gains the company presented in its first earnings report since the joint venture was created.