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‘Gravity’ helps Time Warner beat forecasts

Time Warner Inc reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue, helped by the success of the space thriller movie “Gravity” released by its Warner Bros movie studio.

Time Warner’s shares rose about 6 percent in light trading before the bell on Wednesday.

The company said it was on track to make Time Inc, the company created from the spinoff of its publishing assets, a separate publicly traded company in the second quarter.

Time Warner, which also benefited from growth in its Home Box Office (HBO) premium TV service in the fourth quarter, forecast a 2014 profit of $3.51 per share, excluding Time Inc.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of $4.25 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. However, that forecast did not fully take into account the Time Inc spinoff.

Time Warner’s net income fell to $983 million, or $1.06 per share, in the fourth quarter ended December 31, from $1.11 billion, or $1.15 per share a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.17 per share.

Revenue rose to $8.56 billion from $8.16 billion.

Analysts had expected earnings of $1.15 per share on revenue of $8.39 billion.

Revenue at Time Inc, the publisher of Time magazine, People and Fortune, was flat at $966 million as subscription revenue fell 6 percent.

Time Warner said it had authorized a new $5 billion share repurchase program that began on January 1.

The company’s shares closed at $62.40 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday. The stock has risen 13 percent since the company announced the Time Inc spinoff last March.

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