- Associated Press - Monday, August 2, 2010

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Media conglomerate News Corp. reports its fiscal fourth-quarter results on Wednesday after the market closes.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Advertising growth, fueled by an economic recovery, helping News Corp.’s businesses around the world. Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne expects advertising revenue to grow 15 percent, with local TV stations in the U.S. seeing a 30 percent boost.

Also, watch out for commentary from CEO Rupert Murdoch about the company’s proposed purchase of the 61 percent stake of British Sky Broadcasting that it doesn’t own already.

The offer for the profitable company, whose chairman is Murdoch’s son James, would use up much of News’ $8.2 billion in cash. A deal also would prevent Murdoch from spending those resources on a different acquisition.

BSkyB has rejected the offer for 700 pence ($11.13) per share as too low, and shares are trading slightly above that level. Murdoch may update investors on how he sees the deal coming to fruition.

WHY IT MATTERS: As one of the nation’s largest media companies, News provides a glimpse at the health of the economy and the advertising market. Murdoch’s experiments with paid newspaper websites also puts News front and center in the debate over the future of the media business.

WHAT’S EXPECTED: Analysts, on average, are expecting earnings to hit 20 cents per share when adjusted for one-time items, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters. Revenue is seen rising about 5 percent to $8.09 billion.

LAST YEAR’S QUARTER: The New York-based company posted adjusted earnings of 19 cents per share on revenue of $7.67 billion.

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