Time Warner’s profit and revenue top estimates

By Jessica Toonkel and Rishika Sadam

ariana-grande-side-to-side-ft-nicki-minaj-music-video-reactionFeb 8 (Reuters) – Time Warner Inc reported higher-than-expected fourth-quarter results, largely due to box office hits such as the “Harry Potter” spinoff “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.”

The New York-based media company, which AT&T Inc is in the process of buying, reported an 11.5 percent rise in quarterly revenue and said the merger remained on track to close later this year.

U.S. President Donald Trump opposed AT&T’s $85.4 billion bid for Time Warner during his election campaign.

Time Warner, which owns film studio Warner Bros as well as the CNN and HBO channels, reported net income of $317 million, or 40 cents per share, from continuing operations, down from $857 million, or $1.06 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding some items, the company earned $1.25 bblu per share, compared with the analysts’ average estimate of $1.19.

Revenue rose to $7.89 billion from $7.08 billion. Analysts on average had expected $7.72 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue from Warner Bros, the company’s biggest revenue generator, rose 17 percent to $3.87 billion.

“Fantastic Beasts” grossed more than $800 million globally as of Feb. 5, according to tracking firm Box Office Mojo. website

Revenue from HBO, home to popular shows such as “Game of Thrones” and the new breakout series “Westworld,” rose 5.6 percent to $1.49 billion.

Time Warner, which is losing its audience to streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, took a 10 percent stake in video streaming site Hulu in August as part of its efforts to keep users hooked.

The company also declared a quarterly dividend of 40.25 cents per share. (Reporting by Jessica Toonkel in New York; Rishika Sadam and Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)