Revenue grew 6% to $9.08 billion. Earnings clocked in at $0.49 a share, ahead of last year's $0.48-a-share showing. Let's not get lazy and call this an increase in profitability. Net income actually slipped 1% during the quarter, bailed out by Disney's share-shrinking buybacks over the past year for the save on a per-share basis.
Analysts were banking on a profit of $0.56 a share on $9.13 billion in revenue. This is only the fourth time that Iger's missed on the bottom line since taking the helm six years ago.
Don't panic, fellow Mouseketeers. The culprit here is Disney's lumpy studio entertainment division. There will always be wild swings on a quarterly basis. Disney had Alice in Wonderland heating up the corner multiplex a year ago. Popcorn munchers had to put up with Mars Needs Moms -- alien speak for Mouse Needs Film Costs Write-Downs -- this time around. There was also a healthier slate of Blu-ray and DVD titles at the retail level. We see this routinely at DreamWorks Animation
Back out Disney's studio performance and revenue and segment operating income climbed 10% and 11%, respectively.
Not bad. Life is good when Disney Store comps are climbing and turnstile clicks are humming along nicely outside of the earthquake-shuttered resort in Tokyo.
Is this enough, though?
Microsoft surprised the market yesterday with its $8.5 billion purchase of Skype, but the world's largest software company needed a spark to kick it out of its organic slump.
Even if we back out Disney's sluggish studio entertainment division, the Mickey Mouse company is due for an infusion.
Disney is no stranger when it comes to needle-moving acquisitions. There was Capital Cities/ABC in 1996, Pixar in 2006, and Marvel in 2009. There have been several smaller deals along the way. These deals help pad growth in the near term, ideally unlocking synergies and incremental opportunities in the long run.
What can Disney buy? DreamWorks Animation would look good on its arm, and antitrust regulators would likely sign off on the deal given the successful emergence of upstart animators elsewhere. Six Flags
There are also intriguing possibilities in media networks and broadcasting, but we're living in cord-cutting times. It may be best to steer clear of too heavy a concentration in this space, just in case the digital future isn't the promised panacea some have played it out to be.
Either way, Disney's due for another shopping trip.
What should Disney buy next? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz can usually be found at Walt Disney World. Not today, though. He does own shares in Disney. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.