News Corp. Won’t Meet Profit Targets

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(AP) News Corp., Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate that owns the Fox television network and TV stations, warned Tuesday that it would not meet earlier targets for profit growth, saying the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks had worsened an already weak advertising market.

News Corp. said it now expects operating income for its 2002 fiscal year, which began July 1, to grow in the high single-digit to low double-digit range, compared to earlier estimates of about 20% growth.

That would put News Corp. on track to earn about $1.8 billion to $1.85 billion in operating earnings, compared to $1.67 billion for the 12-month period ending June 2001. Earlier estimates pegged fiscal 2002 operating earnings at $2 billion to $2.1 billion.

Numerous other media companies including Viacom Inc. and AOL Time Warner Inc. have also warned that the terrorist attacks would worsen an advertising slowdown that had already been hurting earnings.

News Corp. would feel the effects of the advertising slump in its numerous U.S. television stations and the Fox television network. Murdoch said in a statement that the slowdown would also effect the British and Australian markets, where News Corp. has extensive newspaper holdings.

News Corp. did not provide a revised estimate for earnings per U.S.-listed share. Those shares were up 58 cents to $25.47 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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