News Corp.'s Q2 2009 results -- which contain Rupert Murdoch's accounts for News America Marketing Group -- seem to bear out Valassis' case that it is disadvantaged in the newspaper coupon business because its rival uses anti-competitive tactics to drive its share down.
News America -- under the "magazines and inserts segment" -- saw sales climb 7 percent to $309 million for the quarter and up 4 percent to $1.2 billion for the year. Valassis, by contrast, saw revenue tumble 8.6 percent in Q2 2009.
News gave this explanation for its success:
Operating income growth in the fourth* quarter was driven by higher revenue from free-standing inserts and custom insert publishing.News America now earns roughly the same operating income as Murdoch's entire newspaper division (revenues in newspapers are much bigger, however).
Doubtless Valassis will see this as more proof that its $300 million verdict against News America for monopolizing the coupon business was justice being done -- why else would Valassis' sales go down, and News America's go up, when they're in the same business and often share the same clients?
*News Corp. has one of those non-calendar fiscal years, so our Q2 is its Q4.
- See BNET's previous coverage of the in-store marketing wars:
- News America Marketing's Carlucci Is Touchy About The Untouchables
- Valassis Q2: "We Have Hit Bottom," Says CEO Schultz; Legal Bills 23% of Profits
- News America Exec Tells How Ahold Account Was Won; Paid Kroger $25M
- The Day After: News America CEO Carlucci Finds Options Limited
- Valassis Wins $300M Verdict in News America Monopoly Case