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Superheroes and the latest J.K. Rowling film helped Time Warner handily beat market expectations for its fourth quarter sales and profits.

The media giant, which is in the midst of being acquired by AT&T, notched a 11 per cent jump in revenue to $7.89bn for the three months to end of December as it reported gains at each of its three divisions – Turner, HBO and Warner Bros.

The sales increase came despite headwinds from the stronger dollar and was ahead of analysts forecast of $7.72bn.

Net income for the period tumbled from $875m to $293m, largely as a result of costs related to debt purchases. Excluding this and other charges, adjusted net income came in at $1.25 per share, also topping estimates for $1.19.

Warner Bros, the company’s film production unit, powered the strong quarterly performance. The business saw revenue jump 17 per cent to $3.9bn during the quarter thanks to the box office success of J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as well as Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

At Turner, its cable division which owns CNN, TBS and TNT, revenue rose 7 per cent to $2.8bn during the quarter as higher rates helped offset the drop in subscribers.

At HBO, sales were up 6 per cent to $1.5bn on the back of higher rates and subscription.

Shares in Time Warner rose 1.3 per cent in pre-market trading.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.

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