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News Corp sees profits surge as ad market recovery boosts paper sales

MEDIA conglomerate News Corp posted better-than-expected quarterly results yesterday thanks to a recovery in local advertising sales and the blockbuster 3-D movie “Avatar,” sending its shares up 3.5 per cent.

News Corp, which also raised its dividend by 25 per cent, said fiscal second-quarter net income was $254m (£158.9m), or 10 cents a share. That includes a $500m litigation settlement payout to Valassis Communications.

A year earlier, it posted a net loss of $6.bn, or $2.45 a share, which reflected a massive writedown for its purchase of Dow Jones, and other items.

Excluding charges in both periods, second quarter adjusted profit was 25 cents a share, up from 15 cents a year ago. Analysts were expecting the company to post earnings of 20 cents a share on average.

Revenue rose 10 per cent to $8.68bn, with sales rising in its film, local TV, cable, book publishing and, newspaper divisions. The company’s newspaper unit, which owns The Wall Street Journal in New York and The Sun in London, posted a 30 percent rise in operating income