HarperCollins sales grow 8% in fourth quarter

HarperCollins sales grow 8% in fourth quarter

Growth in global book publishing at HarperCollins has helped News Corp beat analysts’ expectations and has seen shares rise 4% in the company.

News Corp reported results for its fourth quarter and full fiscal year yesterday (12th August) to the 30th June, revealing that book sales at HarperCollins were up 8% to $390m for the fourth quarter, while EBITDA was flat at $33m.

The acquisition of Harlequin last May again boosted HarperCollins’ results for the fourth quarter. Without the Harlequin figures, HarperCollins global adjusted sales were down 9% to $328m in quarter four, with EBITDA falling 18% to $27m. Harlequin’s sales accounted for $73m in the quarter, with foreign exchange adding an $11m boost.  

For the full year, overall sales were $1.667bn at HarperCollins, up 16% from a year ago, while EBITDA was $221m, up 12%.

The strong results in publishing were achieved by strong backlist sales in the general books category, helped by Chris Kyle’s American Sniper in the fourth quarter, the publisher said. However, these sales were "partially offset by lower revenues from the Divergent series".

Lower expenses also contributed to the increased full-year EBITDA, but this was again offset by declining sales in the Divergent series in the fourth quarter, News Corp said.

Digital sales accounted for 23% of overall sales for the quarter, up marginally on the year before and accounted for 22% of HarperCollins’ sales in the year.

Overall, total revenue fell to $2.14bn from $2.19bn at News Corp, but beat analysts expectations and share in the company rose 4% in after-hours trading.

Net loss available to the company’s stockholders was $379m, in the quarter ended 30th June, compared with a profit of $12m a year earlier.