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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 May, 2005, 05:45 GMT 06:45 UK
News Corp's quarterly profits dip
Players from the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots in the 2005 Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is the biggest event on the US sporting calendar
News Corp, the media company controlled by billionaire Rupert Murdoch, has seen quarterly profits drop by 8%.

The firm blamed costs relating to its sports television operations and its broadcasting of the Super Bowl - the American football championship game.

Profit in the quarter to 31 March was $400m (210m) from $434m a year ago.

Looking to calm fears of a takeover tussle, Mr Murdoch said he wanted to buy all or part of an 18% stake Liberty Media had built up in News Corp.

News Corp, which has moved its listing from Sydney to New York, said it has about $6bn in cash.

Goggle box

Despite the dip in profit during the fiscal third quarter, sales growth continued and the company reiterated its full year targets.

Sales in the quarter rose 17% to $6bn.

Two of the crown jewels, cable networks and filmed entertainment, performed better than expected
Christopher Marangi, Gabelli & Co

"The quarter was in line, but not high quality," said Jeffrey Bray of Babson Capital Management. "Expectations have been drifting downward for a month."

Profit from television operations slid 15% to $221m, mainly due to charges from the unwinding of a partnership with Cablevision Systems and higher programming costs during the Super Bowl.

The Fox Entertainment Group again was the firm's best-performing division, buoyed by the performance of its films "Alien vs. Predator" and "I, Robot".

Cable television, which includes Fox News and National Geographic, also performed well.

"Two of the crown jewels, cable networks and filmed entertainment, performed better than expected," said Christopher Marangi, an analyst at Gabelli & Co.

Loss-making Sky Italia, the Italian arm of the firm's satellite broadcasting business, is expected to turn a profit in the current quarter after it narrowed its three-month shortfall to $21m.

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