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News Corp posts $1.5b loss for March quarter

Business

News Corp has posted a massive $US1 billion ($A1.5 billion) loss in the March quarter after taking a $US1.1 billion ($A1.7 billion) impairment charge against its Foxtel and News America Marketing assets.

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The Rupert Murdoch-controlled company reported total revenue of $US2.27 billion, an 8 per cent decline from a year ago due to lower print-related advertising revenues and foreign currency fluctuations.

The company said the COVID-19 pandemic will have an impact on its results in the June quarter, and all of its businesses will embark on cost-cutting programs.

Chief Executive Robert Thomson said senior executives will take a pay cut with Murdoch voluntarily forgoing his entire cash bonus for the current fiscal year, and Thomson himself to forgo 75 per cent of his annual cash bonus.

News Corp announced on April 1 it would stop printing 60 community titles in SA, NSW, Victoria and Queensland from April 9 as the result of a sharp decline in advertising revenue.

The titles included Messenger Newspapers in South Australia, which have continued to publish online content.

Telstra will take a $300 million impairment charge on its 35 per cent stake in Foxtel, after majority-owner News Corp wrote down the pay-TV network’s value.

The value of Telstra’s stake in Foxtel will decline from $750 million to $450 million.

Online streaming services such as Netflix, Stan and Amazon’s Prime have made it much tougher for Foxtel to win customers in recent years.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also limited one of Foxtel’s key selling points: live sport.

Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn said the telco was likely to make a non-cash adjustment consistent with this valuation at its annual results meeting in August.

-with AAP

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