News Corp posts nine-digit loss

THE Australian arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has reported a $300 million loss for the past financial year, with large write-downs in the value of its mastheads reflecting the difficulties facing the newspaper industry and the unpredictable future of digital media.

Accounts filed with the corporate regulator show that in his final full year as chairman and chief executive of News Ltd, John Hartigan oversaw a write-down in the value of the assets of its holding company in the order of $713 million.

That turned the operating profit of News Australia Holdings into a significant loss. Last year, it reported a $300 million profit.

The group includes The Australian, Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun and other newspapers, plus a quarter stake in Foxtel, half of Fox Sports and 44 per cent of the New Zealand pay TV monopoly, Sky.

It reported an operating profit of $645 million, up 1.7 per cent on the previous year, with revenues of $2.9 billion, up a comparatively marginal $46 million.