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Book publishing helps News Corp beat revenue estimates

(Reuters) - News Corp , publisher of the Wall Street Journal, reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue as growth in its book publishing business helped to make up for a decline in revenue in its bigger news and information division.

News Corp, whose shares were up marginally at $17.50 in after-market trading on Thursday, has been focusing more on book publishing as its newspaper business struggles with weak ad spending in an increasingly digital world.

The results mark the first full year since controlling shareholder Rupert Murdoch separated his publishing assets from his entertainment and cable TV businesses, which are now housed in 21st Century Fox Inc .

Apart from the Journal, News Corp's properties include the Australian newspaper, book publishers HarperCollins and Harlequin Enterprises, stakes in Australian pay-TV and digital real estate businesses, and education company Amplify.

Revenue from book publishing rose about 10 percent to $361 million in the fourth quarter ended June 30, helped by the popularity of the "Divergent" series of young-adult science fiction novels by Veronica Roth published by HarperCollins.

Book publishing accounts for about 16.5 percent of the company's total revenue.

Revenue in the company's news and information division fell 6.2 percent to $1.56 billion as both ad revenue and subscription sales dropped.

Total revenue fell 3 percent to $2.19 billion, slightly beating the average estimate of $2.17 billion.

Net income available to the company's shareholders totaled $12.0 million, or 2 cents per share, in the quarter compared with a loss of $1.12 billion, or $1.94 per share, year earlier.

The year-earlier figure reflected a writedown in the value of the company's Australian and U.S. publishing assets.

On an adjusted basis, News Corp reported a profit of 1 cent per share, falling short of the average analyst estimate of 3 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

(This story has been refiled to correct Divergent series author's name in fifth graph to Veronica Roth from Victoria Roth)

(Reporting By Lehar Maan in Bangalore and Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Ted Kerr)

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