WWE Releases 2019 Third Quarter Earnings Report

WWE released its 2019 Third Quarter Earnings Report, detailing plenty of financial notes from WWE for the last few months. 

There will be a conference call at 11 a.m. ET from WWE discussing the numbers and Fightful will have live coverage of the call.

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WWE Reports Third Quarter 2019 Results 

Third Quarter 2019 Highlights

- Revenues were $186.3 million as compared to $188.4 million in the prior year quarter

- Operating income was $6.4 million; Adjusted OIBDA1 was $25.4 million, which exceeded the Company’s guidance

- SmackDown debuted on Fox (Friday, Oct. 4) and averaged 3.9 million viewers during the premier telecast, up 221% versus the same time slot over the prior four weeks on Fox (9/6-9/27)

- Announced content distribution deal with USA Network to air NXT, expanding the reach of the new live, 2-hour show to further build WWE’s third global brand alongside Raw and SmackDown

- WWE Network averaged 1.51 million paid subscribers, consistent with the Company’s guidance

- Through the first nine months of 2019, digital video views increased 12% on a year-over-year basis to 25.6 billion and hours consumed increased 14% to 957 million hours across digital and social platforms

Business Outlook

- The Company has modified its full year 2019 guidance to an Adjusted OIBDA range of $180 million to $190 million5, which would be an all-time record. The change is attributable to the delay in completing a previously contemplated agreement in the MENA region and the impact of accelerated investment to support content creation. While the Company continues to work toward the completion of a MENA agreement, no assurances can be given in this regard. The Company expects to have clarity on this point in advance of providing guidance for 2020.

- The Company expects to provide in-depth perspective on its 2020 performance, long-term strategy and business model in mid-to-late February following the announcement of its 2019 results

STAMFORD, Conn., October 31, 2019 - WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced financial results for its third quarter ended September 30, 2019.

“During the quarter, we remained focused on expanding the reach of WWE’s brand with the successful debut of Friday Night SmackDown on Fox Broadcast and NXT on USA Network,” stated Vince McMahon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “With our flagship programming now spanning both broadcast and cable throughout the week in the U.S. and our expanding roster of international distribution partners, we remain excited about our ability to deepen the engagement with our fans around the world.”

George Barrios, Co-President, added “In the quarter, we accelerated strategic investments to support our content creation. Although we have modified our 2019 guidance of Adjusted OIBDA to a range of $180 million to $190 million, performance in this range would still be an all-time record. We continue to believe in WWE’s global growth potential and remain focused on maximizing future opportunities and shareholder value.”

Third-Quarter Consolidated Results

Revenues were $186.3 million as compared to $188.4 million from the prior year quarter as increased revenue in the Media segment, driven by the monetization of core content, was more than offset by decreased sales of live event tickets and merchandise.

Operating Income decreased to $6.4 million from $18.1 million in the prior year quarter, reflecting the decline in revenue and increases in fixed costs, including the impact of certain strategic investments, which were partially offset by a year-over-year reduction in accrued management incentive compensation. The Company’s Operating income margin declined to 3% from 10% in the prior year quarter.

Adjusted OIBDA (which excludes stock compensation) was $25.4 million as compared to $35.8 million in the prior year quarter. The Company’s Adjusted OIBDA margin was 14% as compared to 19% in the prior year quarter.

Net Income declined to $5.8 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, from $33.6 million, or $0.37 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2018, primarily reflecting a reduction in excess tax benefits related to the Company’s share-based compensation awards at vesting, lower operating performance and the impact of the finance lease related to the Company’s new headquarters.6

Effective Tax Rate increased in the current year quarter relative to that in the third quarter of 2018, primarily driven by the recognition of $8.0 million of excess tax benefits related to the Company's share-based compensation awards at vesting, as compared to $20.7 million in the prior year quarter. The decline in excess tax benefits was driven by the change in the Company’s stock price between the original grant date of the awards and their subsequent vesting date during the third quarter. Excluding discrete items (including the above mentioned excess tax benefits), the Company’s effective tax rate was 27% in the current year quarter as compared to 28% in the prior year quarter.

Cash flows generated by operating activities were $3.2 million as compared to $44.7 million in the prior year quarter driven by unfavorable timing of working capital and lower operating performance.

Free Cash Flow was a $16.4 million use of cash as compared to a $35.5 million source of cash in the third quarter of 2018 primarily driven by the change in operating cash flow and, to a lesser extent, a $10.4 million increase in capital expenditures primarily associated with the Company’s workspace plan.

Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments were $231 million as of September 30, 2019, and the Company estimates debt capacity under its revolving line of credit of approximately $200 million.

You can view the full press release by clicking here.

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