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News Corp Performed Well This Quarter: Murdoch

News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch said on Tuesday the company had had a strong start to the second-quarter and had not been affected so far by the global credit market squeeze.

News Corporation
Bebeto Matthews
News Corporation

"So far this quarter, and we are only halfway through, we are going very well and very strongly," the 76-year-old media mogul told a shareholder meeting in Australia.

Murdoch, meeting shareholders in the Australian city where the global media group was founded, said News Corp would focus this year on developing its online business and acquisition of the Wall Street Journal.

"Digital is the great revolution we are facing," he said, adding he expected to make the Wall Street Journal's Web site free and attract 10-15 million subscribers.

He also reiterated that News Corp's Internet division was expected to reap $1 billion in revenues this year.

News Corp last week reaffirmed forecasts for low-teens percentage growth in fiscal 2008 operating profit growth despite a solid first-quarter, saying it could face a tough economic climate next year.

"We are running ahead of that but it is too early to change the guidance," Murdoch told the meeting.

News Corp, which owns the 20th Century Fox movie studio and MySpace Internet social network, expects to close a deal to buy Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co for $5.6 billion next month.

Murdoch, who owns about 30 percent of News Corp, said the firm's recently launched Fox Business Network hoped to attract 45 million subscribers next year, up from 40 million forecast previously.

Aiming to repeat the success of the Fox News Channel, which unseated CNN as the top cable news network four years after its launch, Fox Business is part of Murdoch's ambitions to build a global financial media powerhouse in print, the Internet and TV.