News Corps Fox network sold $250 million (E170m) in advertising revenue on the strength of the most-watched Super Bowl ever â€“ a performance that chief executive Rupert Murdoch called “the biggest day in our company's history”. He was speaking as News Corp announced that its second quarter profits edged up 1.2 per cent to $832 million.
The group announced its earnings amid speculation that it might enter the fray for Yahoo, which is trying to fend off a $44.6 billion bid from Microsoft. The two companies discussed a possible merger last year. However, Murdoch dismissed any interest in playing the role of white knight, saying: “We are definitely not going to make a bid for Yahoo at this time.”
For the quarter, News Corp's revenue increased 9.5 per cent to $8.6 billion. Among the strongest performers was its television business where Sky Italia recorded a $74 million turnround from a year ago (see below).
News Corp's decision to hand Google the contract to sell search advertising around websites such as MySpace appears to be paying off, with the Fox Interative Media (FIM) division posting a sharp rise in pre-tax profits to $23 million, a $22 million improvement against the same period in 2006.The growth was driven by higher search revenues, primarily from the Google agreement that took effect in January 2007, under which Google is the exclusive provider of search services on FIM properties.