Dow Jones boosted by favourable tax ruling

Dow Jones on Wednesday reported a 57 per cent gain in third-quarter earnings, and also said that it would pay $160m to take full ownership from Reuters of the Factiva news database.

Dow Jones, which publishes the Wall Street Journal newspaper and owns the MarketWatch website, was helped by a favourable tax ruling from the government.

Excluding that benefit and a special severance charge, its earnings slipped to $9.4m from $10.2m during the same period a year ago. Revenues grew 4 per cent from a year ago to $412.4m.

Like other US newspaper groups, Dow Jones offered further evidence for the sluggish print advertising market.

At the US edition of the Wall Street Journal, print ad revenues grew a mere 0.3 per cent from the previous year. For September, they dropped 5.9 per cent, amid sharp declines in the technology and classified categories.

Dow is planning to spend $30m over the next three years to refit printing presses to increase the availability of colour advertising. It is also planning to cut costs and to focus resources on non-print parts of the business, such as Factiva.

“We have many initiatives under way to diversify our reliance on print advertising revenues, strengthen our portfolio, improve our businesses and tightly manage costs,” said Rich Zannino, Dow’s chief executive.

Dow, which already owns 50 per cent of Factiva, is planning to fund its acquisition of Reuters’ interest by selling six newspapers from its Ottaway chain of regional papers.

Factiva has 1.6m subscribers, and offers news articles and information from more than 10,000 sources.

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