Twenty-First Century Fox earnings beat: 42 cents per share, vs expected EPS of 38 cents

Twenty-First Century Fox beats the Street

Twenty-First Century Fox reported earnings and revenue that topped Wall Street expectations on Wednesday.

The stock gained more than 1 percent in extended trading.

Here's how the company did compared with what Wall Street:

  • Adjusted EPS: 42 cents vs. 38 cents expected, according to Thomson Reuters
  • Revenue: $8.04 billion vs. $7.94 billion expected, According to Thomson Reuters

In the year-ago quarter, Fox reported adjusted earnings of 53 cents a share on revenue of $7.68 billion. The company's cable networking business posted 11 percent year-over-year revenue growth, driven by higher advertising revenue.

While Fox said its filmed entertainment division saw higher box office revenue, the company said it also saw higher release costs tied to a fuller release slate. It said, however, that this was partially offset by revenue from its subscription video-on-demand business.

Here's how much each segment brought in compared with what analysts projected, according to StreetAccount consensus estimates:

  • Television: $1.81 billion vs. $1.81 billion expected
  • Filmed entertainment: $2.25 billion vs. $2.24 billion expected
  • Cable network programming: $4.41 billion vs. $4.33 billion expected

Fox's earnings report comes as investors look for updates on its pending deal for many of its assets to be acquired by Disney.

One of those assets, Fox's 30-percent stake in streaming service Hulu, lost $108 million during the fiscal second quarter. Despite the loss, Hulu said in January that it crossed 17 million subscribers in the U.S. The streaming service also said its advertising revenue crossed $1 billion in 2017.

In December, Disney said its CEO Bob Iger would stay on through the end of 2021. Fox CEO James Murdoch will help with the transition. Iger said in a Tuesday earnings call that the Fox acquisition would help Disney deliver more content, enhance its direct-to-consumer initiatives and diversify the business geographically.

Still, the proposed acquisition of Fox properties will have to pass federal anti-trust laws. Disney said Tuesday there were no updates on the regulatory front.

Fox said Wednesday that there's still a long road before the deal potentially closes. Until then, the company said it will focus on continuing to execute its growth strategies.

Investors will likely keep an eye on developments out of the Department of Justice's lawsuit against the proposed AT&T-Time Warner merger. AT&T is slated to make its case for the deal on March 19.

The Disney-Fox deal comes as tech giants like Netflix and Amazon engage traditional medias in an increasingly competitive spending race on content. CNBC reported Monday that fear of being outspent was one of the main reasons Rupert Murdoch decided to sell those Fox assets. Last month, Netflix said it plans on spending about $7.5 billion to $8 billion on content in 2018.

As more consumers choose to watch television on delay, one strategy to combat this pattern is to invest in "must see" live or event television programming.

Fox Co-Chairman Lachlan Murdoch has previously said that the company's advantage is its strength in live news and sports. In an August earnings call, he said that about half of Fox's revenue comes from this type of programming, which is more likely to be watched live.

Disney reported better-than-expected earnings on Tuesday, but revenue fell slightly below expectations.

Disclosure: Comcast, which owns CNBC parent NBCUniversal, is a co-owner of Hulu.