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Box office weighs on 21st Century Fox results

NEW YORK, Aug 10, 2017 (BSS/AFP) - Media-entertainment giant 21st Century Fox on Wednesday reported a drop in profit in the past quarter as weaker box office revenues hurt performance for the Murdoch family-controlled group.

Fox reported a net profit of $476 million in the fiscal fourth quarter to June 30, a drop of 16 percent from last year.

Revenues managed a gain of 1.5 percent to $6.75 billion.

Its film segment which includes the Fox Hollywood studios saw a revenue drop of 11.5 percent, stemming from an unfavorable comparison with a year ago when it released its hit action film "Deadpool."

Fox saw improvement however in its cable television operations which include the Fox News Channel. That segment saw a 10.4 percent rise in revenue from a year ago.

A statement from Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan Murdoch who share the title of executive chairman said the results showed "strong financial and operational momentum."

"The investment we have made in our video brands, and in programming that truly differentiates, is proving to be the right strategy," they said.

"It is driving the value of our brand portfolio across both established and emerging distribution platforms and reflects our deep commitment to creative excellence across all of our entertainment production businesses."

They cited "outstanding performance of our live news and sports programming" which helped boost advertising revenues.

Fox is awaiting regulatory approval in Britain over its proposed buyout of European television giant Sky, a deal which has been delayed with the country's watchdog demanding additional details on the plan.

The proposed $14.8 billion takeover would see 21st Century Fox entertainment group snap up the 61 percent of Sky it does not already own.

Fox was formed by the 2013 breakup of Murdoch's News Corp into two separate firms as part of a plan to "unlock value" for shareholders.

Murdoch, 86, began a gradual withdrawal from both companies in 2013, and now shares the title of chairman with his eldest son Lachlan at both firms.