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News Corp. (NWS, NWSA, NWS.AU) will likely consider a new share-repurchase plan aimed at boosting a "woefully undervalued" share price, Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey said Tuesday.
"If things look like they do today, we expect another buyback to make sense," Carey said at an investor conference, echoing comments he made on the company's earnings call earlier this month.
Carey said Tuesday that the decision would be made by News Corp.'s board following the completion of its current $5 billion repurchase program. It had acquired $2.7 billion of its own class A shares through Feb. 7.
News Corp. Class A shares were up 2 cents Tuesday at $19.51; the shares have gained 12.3% over the past 12 months. News Corp. owns this newswire and The Wall Street Journal.
News Corp. last year initiated the $5 billion repurchase plan following its thwarted bid to acquire an outstanding stake in British Sky Broadcasting Group PLC (BSYBY, BSY.LN.). Carey said News Corp. also could use some of its excess cash to acquire smaller companies, although News Corp. is focused on organic growth.
Within News Corp.'s operating business, Fox's television network remains on track to book a $1 billion operating profit in its television segment for the 2013 fiscal year, Carey said.
He conceded that Fox hit "American Idol," which has seen its ratings slide of late because of new competition from programs like NBC Universal's "The Voice," required additional attention in its 11th season.
"It's a show where we think we can and should provide some fresh energy. We probably haven't found that yet this season," Carey said.
Meanwhile, the advertising market remains "solid" during the quarter, as cash-rich corporations deploy more advertising dollars to grow their businesses.
Carey predicted rising competition in the new market for streaming digital content and said digital distributors ranging from Netflix Inc. (NFLX) to Hulu, which is owned in part by News Corp., will help drive demand for News Corp.'s content.
"The digital arena is going to open up new areas of growth. I don't think its bad for our core business," Carey said.
-By William Launder, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3412; firstname.lastname@example.org