Murdoch plans Sydney film studio

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RUPERT MURDOCH'S 20th Century Fox is planning a Adollars 20m film studio in Sydney. It will be built with financial assistance from the Australian government.

Mr Murdoch said yesterday that Fox intended to produce at least three international films a year at the studio. It will also be used to generate material for Star TV, News Corporation's Hong Kong-based Asian broadcaster.

Mr Murdoch disclosed his plans at News Corporation's annual meeting in Adelaide. At the same time he predicted that while revenues at his global media group would rise by a quarter over the next few years, profit would be up by half. This is despite expected losses of up to USdollars 20m at Star in the year to June 1995 and little prospect of the station breaking even in the near term.

Mr Murdoch said News International, News Corporation's British subsidiary which publishes the Times and the Sun, would see a healthy profit rise in 1994-95 despite price cuts.

'We are achieving a great deal of increase, both in volume and in rates, on the Times and in all our other papers,' he said. 'We expect that News International this year will indeed return a very healthy profit.'

Mr Murdoch said he expected News Corporation would get around dollars 1bn from the flotation of 20 per cent of BSkyB, the satellite broadcaster in which it has a half stake, implying a valuation of around pounds 5bn, plus debt, for the broadcaster.

BSkyB's shareholders, which include the media groups Pearson, Chargeurs and Granada, plan to float 20 per cent of the company on the London and New York stock markets before Christmas. That would mean News Corporation reducing its holding to around 40 per cent.

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