World Wrestling Entertainment
This first outing of the year was actually pretty good. Net sales increased 15% to $93.8 million. Operating income rose 41% to $15.8 million. Net income was $11.2 million ($0.16 per share) for the quarter versus $7.6 million ($0.11 per share) one year ago, representing a 47% jump on a dollar basis and a 45% increase on a per-share basis.
Double-digit increases -- you gotta love 'em. They're like Stone Cold Steve Austin applying the stunner to an opponent to close out a match decisively. This report was an improvement over last quarter's, which should be sweet music to the ears of stockholders.
To get the most out of its brand, the company plans to offer additional pay-per-view events as a way of increasing the number of buys it captures. This is a smart move in a time of declining domestic interest at live events. The company released five pay-per-view shows in the first quarter against four in the year-ago period, and sales increased 28% to $21.6 million. So WWE will create 16 pay-per-view programs in fiscal 2006 as opposed to the 14 produced in fiscal 2005.
In other segements, Wrestlemania21 sold more than 200,000 copies in the U.S., lifting home video revenue. In addition, the release of the Wrestlemania21 video game played a big part in driving licensing revenue from $3 million to $7.5 million. And to wrap it up, live event revenue fell even though the average attendance in the North American market increased 21% to 4,600 people per event.
Even those bearish on WWE have to admit this was a solid quarter. Hopefully, this will be indicative of a new trend. In fact, the release said that the results beat the company's own expectations, resulting in management upping guidance for the full year. Previously, WWE expected fiscal 2006 to yield revenues in the range of $355 million to $370 million and diluted earnings per share between $0.44 and $0.48. The new outlook calls for a revenue range of $360 million to $375 million, with earnings per share between $0.46 and $0.50.
Perhaps the best part of the release was the cash flow statement. Free cash flow this quarter doubled to more than $21 million. Cash is king -- like Jerry Lawler -- and WWE made a lot of it. The company currently sports a yield well over 3%, so you do get paid to invest with this one. Long holding periods may yield very fruitful results if you decide to tag-team some of your investment capital with this stock.
Say your prayers, take your vitamins, and have a look at these Foolish Takes, brother:
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