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News Corp Makes Loss Amid Hacking Scandal

(c) Sky News 2012

News Corporation (NasdaqGS: NWS - news) has reported a £1bn loss for its final quarter and confirmed a £143m cost relating to the phone hacking scandal in Britain.

The company, which is preparing to split its publishing and broadcast divisions in the wake of the hacking allegations, said the quarterly loss was largely attributable to a writedown on the assets of its Australian newspapers business to reflect lower earnings potential.

The £143m charge, the company said, was due to "the costs of the ongoing investigations initiated upon the closure of The News of the World".

That figure included a £36.4m cost in its final three months of the year.

Shares in News Corp fell 3% in after-hours trading in New York (Frankfurt: A0DKRK - news) after the result was announced despite full-year profits rising by 11% to £700m.

Commenting on the performance, News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch said the firm was in a "strong" position which would be enhanced by plans to split the company.

The move would see the group's 39% stake in broadcasting giant BSkyB (LSE: BSY.L - news) , the owner of Sky News, separately listed from the embattled UK newspaper arm News International which publishes The Sun and The Times.

Mr Murdoch said: "We are proud of the full-year financial growth achieved over the last 12 months, led by our Cable Network Programming and Filmed Entertainment segments."

News Corp's cable TV business, which includes Fox and FX, saw its profits grow 19% to £2.1bn for the year.

Its (Euronext: ALITS.NX - news) film division - behind Twentieth Century Fox - saw profits hit by few major releases in the last quarter although there was a 22% annual rise.

Annual publishing profits fell by 31%.

On the future, Mr Murdoch said: "We find ourselves in the middle of great change, driven by shifts in technology, consumer behaviour, advertiser demands and economic uncertainty and change brings about great opportunity.

"News Corporation is in a strong operational, strategic and financial position, which should only be enhanced by the proposed separation of the media and entertainment and publishing businesses."

:: A watchdog has cleared BSkyB in a dispute involving the price it charges competitors to supply its top sports channels.

The Competition Appeal Tribunal over-ruled a judgement by the media regulator Ofcom that Sky cut the price BT Vision, Virgin Media (NasdaqGS: VMED - news) and Top Up TV must pay for showing Sky Sports 1 and 2.

It found that Ofcom had made several errors in its ruling that Sky had not fairly negotiated supply costs.