Cable powers 21st Century Fox earnings

Lachlan Murdoch added: "Historically we have always been asset builders". "We're pretty confident it gets done", he said, and aimed at the middle of next year to complete the deal.

The company said it expects its $15-billion takeover of the stake in European TV service Sky it does not own will close by June 2018. After 21st Century Fox failed to buy Time Warner in 2014, some analysts have been skeptical that it is big enough to compete with giants like Comcast and AT&T - thus necessitating a sale.

Mr Murdoch would not address that possibility directly but he said the firm is well-positioned now. "Let me be very clear". "We delivered top-line growth at all of our businesses, backed by stand-out storytelling, sports and news, as well as a product focus that will drive greater consumption and compelling opportunities for financial returns on our content investment".

For the three months ending September 30, 21st Century Fox reported income from continuing operations attributable to stockholders of $839 million, or 45 cents a share, compared with $827 million, or 44 cents, a year earlier. Disney stock is trading at $101.63 and is down 5.07% for the year.

Net income attributable to shareholders increased to $855 million, or 46 cents per share, from $821 million, or 44 cents per share. Revenue came in at $7 billion, 8 percent better than previous year.

An 11% gain in cable affiliate revenue drove 21st Century Fox's bottom line for the quarter ended September 30 even as the filmed entertainment and broadcast TV segments posted year-over-year profit declines. Domestic advertising revenue in the division, which includes the Fox News and National Geographic channels, rose by 3 per cent as overall revenue rose to $4.2 billion, from $3.8 billion a year ago, ahead of analysts' estimates.

But the company's two other units struggled.

Lachlan Murdoch and his brother James, chief executive of 21st Century Fox, said they would not comment on reports that it had engaged in discussions with Disney about selling its film and TV programming assets. The company's studio had one major release in the quarter, "War for the Planet of the Apes", which took in $489.6 million worldwide - 30 percent less than its predecessor, "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes", collected in 2014.

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