World Wrestling Entertainment
But to the Foolish investor, WWE is a well-run company, with a management team that has created generous returns for its shareholders, and has a growing customer base across not only America, but the world.
How many CEOs do you know would be willing to step in a wrestling match with men three times their size, all in the name of shareholder returns? I would say not many, and while Vince McMahon may not really be getting hit over the head with a chair, it probably doesn't feel good.
Not only has McMahon agreed to get a smackdown in the ring, but he and other family insiders also took a cut in their dividend payments in May 2009, to maintain the stated payout to other shareholders. The McMahons took a payout of just $0.24 instead of $0.36, showing their dedication to protecting shareholder value. I don't know of many other CEOs or insiders willing to take pay cuts on behalf of their shareholders.
Now yielding about 10%, some have questioned the sustainability of such a high payout for the stock, but as the McMahon family has shown, they will do whatever necessary to sustain it. In addition, the company's most recent balance sheet shows a $98 million cash cushion, with only $2 million in long-term debt. Finally, 63% of the shares are held by insiders, and an additional 23% are owned by institutions, which also points to a stable payout.
Power of partnerships
WWE management has been extremely successful in creating valuable partnerships with some very strong brands in order to draw revenue for the company outside the ring. ConAgra's
The company has upgraded its action figure line, recently ending its partnership with Jakks Pacific
China and beyond
Perhaps the company's most important partnership has been with Google's
This network has helped the company make even great headway in its path to overseas growth. In 2009, 74 of WWE's 300 live events were held outside of America. The company has been successful in the Asia-Pacific market, especially in Australia and India, but the company had never held an event in China until this past August. The company's first event in China was very successful, with 8,000 tickets selling out in less than an hour, some to purchasers who drove more than 700 miles just to buy them. WWE's Chinese operations are already profitable, and as the company continues to hold more live events in China, the growth engine should accelerate substantially.
Foolish bottom line
It may be easy for Wall Street to look past this unsophisticated entertainment. However, Fools know better than to not pay attention to a company with a strong management, strong business, and tremendous growth potential.
Interested in reading more about World Wrestling Entertainment? Add it to My Watchlist, which will find all of our Foolish analysis on this stock.
Andrew Bond owns no shares in the companies listed. Google is a Motley Fool Inside Value choice. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. The Fool owns shares of Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.