(Reuters) - Shares in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp touched a more than five-year high on Thursday, even as a massive $2.85 billion non-cash restructuring charge related to its Australian publishing unit hurt the media conglomerate’s fourth-quarter results.
News Corp posted a fiscal fourth-quarter net loss of $1.55 billion, or 64 cents per share, compared with a profit of $683 million, or 26 cents per share, a year earlier.
The operating income in its publishing unit fell 48 percent in the quarter due to lower advertising revenue at its UK and Australian newspapers. A litigation settlement charge at its Harper Collins book publisher also hit the company.
However, Wall Street remained optimistic on News Corp’s prospects going forward.
Brokerages Susquehanna Financial Group and UBS raised their price targets on the stock, saying growth from domestic news and entertainment channels will drive profit at the company. They also expect cable networks and the television segment to be the main profit drivers in 2013.
Operating profit at its cable networks rose 26 percent, in the fourth quarter, on a 16 percent increase in affiliate fee revenue from cable, phone and satellite TV distributors.
Barclays Capital said it expects News Corp to benefit from upfront repricing, affiliate fee renewals, the political advertising cycle, capital returns, and reasonable valuation.
For a summary of ratings price target changes, click
Shares of the New York-based company, which in June said it would separate its publishing and entertainment assets, were down about 1 percent at $23.51 on Thursday morning on the Nasdaq.
They had touched a more than five-year high of $24.05 earlier in the session. The stock has risen more than 14 percent since the plan for the split was revealed.
Reporting by Siddharth Cavale; Editing by Supriya Kurane