Walt Disney boosted by ESPN

Media giant Walt Disney posted higher quarterly profit on Thursday, lifted by an increase in attendance at theme parks and a gain in revenue at sports juggernaut ESPN. Disney reported diluted earnings per share of 68 cents for the quarter that ended in September, in line with expectations from Wall Street analysts.

Net income rose 14 per cent to $1.2bn in the quarter. The theme parks division gained from passengers spending more time on Disney cruise ships plus a boost in attendance at theme parks in Hong Kong, California and Paris, the company said.

Disney shares dropped two per cent in after-hours trading to $49. Earlier, shares closed at $50.04 in the US. Disney last week unveiled a $4.05bn agreement to buy Lucasfilm from producer George Luca.