New York (CNN) Fox Corp posted a loss in the last quarter after paying A $787.5 million settlement For Dominion Voting Systems.
The company reported profits in the same quarter last year.
The company earned $719 million in fees including the cost of settlements, which was partially offset by dividends for its subsidiaries and the change in the market value of some of its investments. But the hit left Fox with a net loss of $50 million, compared to a profit of $290 million in the previous year.
The earnings release doesn’t mention Dominion Voting Systems, though it does mention fees related to Fox News Media’s legal settlement costs. On the company’s call with investors, Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch noted Tuesday that a settlement with Dominion is in the best interest of the company and its shareholders, given Delaware court decisions that he said limited its defense. He said going to trial could have resulted in two to three years of appeals.
“We are proud of our Fox News team, the exceptional quality of their journalistic work and their stewardship of the Fox News brand,” he said. “So as we look forward, we are confident in the strength of the Fox brands and the strength of our balance sheet.”
Excluding those special items, it adjusted earnings of $494 million, or 94 cents per share, up from $459 million a year earlier. That was better than the 87 cents expected by analysts polled by Refinitiv. The company has benefited from the profits and revenue gains it has received from broadcasting this year power.
Since settling down with Dominion, Fox has launched its most popular broadcaster, Tucker Carlson. Ratings have fallen on Fox News, while other right-wing networks have gained audiences since Carlson’s firing.
Fox still faces a lawsuit from another voting machine manufacturer. Smart Matic, which is seeking $2.7 billion in damages. Murdoch told investors that the case is “fundamentally different” from the Dominion case and that Fox will have greater defenses available to it than the Delaware court hearing the Dominion case.
The Dominion Settlement was reached on April 18. Dominion has accused Fox of reporting false statements about Dominion voting machines in the 2020 presidential election.
Fox had plenty of money to pay the settlement. It said it had $4.1 billion in cash and cash equivalents in the fund as of March 30, about three weeks before the settlement was reached. It also announced that it repurchased $1.8 billion of its shares in the nine months ending March 31, as part of a $7 billion buyback plan. To date, Fox has bought back $4.4 billion worth of shares as part of its plan.
The hit from the settlement was known to investors before the report was released. Better-than-expected earnings helped lift shares Fox (Fox) It rose in pre-market trading after the report.
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