It's that time of year again -- Foolanthropy time. Each year before Thanksgiving we kick off our annual charity drive and showcase some outstanding organizations that are doing good all over the world. This year our community members picked them. Get the lowdown, and if you're feeling inspired, make a donation. And have a great weekend.
In today's Motley Fool Take:
- Is Disney a Growth Stock?
- Wanted: Foolish Writers
- Mel's Sirius Decision
- Discussion Board of the Day: Tax Strategies
- Phil Hangs Up His Nikes
- Mattel's 'Free Plus' Dividend
- Quote of Note
- More on Fool.com Today
Is Disney a Growth Stock?
That is why it's probably more important to consider where the entertainment conglomerate will go from here, and in that sense it's encouraging to see Disney heading toward modest double-digit profit growth over the next few years. Growing revenues by 14% to hit $30.8 billion is more indicative of Disney's success, and that's pretty good for a company of its size.
While attendance at its theme parks could have been better and its studio could use another hit film or two, the company was still able to grow operating profits at each of its subsidiaries in fiscal 2004.
Generating $2.9 billion in free cash flow over the course of the year has its privileges. In Disney's case that has meant more money for share buybacks, having repurchased 14.9 million shares over the past quarter alone.
The future looks pretty good for the Mickey Mouse company. Hit shows at ABC and a heralded celebration at its theme parks to commemorate Disneyland's 50th birthday should help propel Disney's two most important operating segments. Moves like handing off operations at its 313-store Disney Store chain through a licensing agreement with Children's Place
While it's only natural to imagine where Disney's former stronghold of theatrical animation now stands relative to more successful players like DreamWorks Animation
That would just be Goofy.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been to all six of Disney's domestic theme parks this year, but he's never been caught overpaying for a churro. He owns shares in Disney and Pixar. He is a member of the Rule Breakers analytical team, seeking out tomorrow's great growth stocks today.
Wanted: Foolish Writers
Do you read the Fool's content and say to yourself, "I could have written that!" Do you post thoughtful arguments on our discussion boards? Do you have an opinion on everything from Amazon.com to Wal-Mart? Then we're looking for you. We're seeking the best and brightest minds out there to contribute to Fool.com. We're taking applications for both full-time positions and freelance Fools. Visit jobs.fool.com, and check out the listings under Editorial and Writing.
Mel's Sirius Decision
Ever since Karmazin resigned from Viacom back in June, we wondered where he would wind up. Helping guide CBS to the top of the television ratings heap looks good on any resume and he had often been mentioned as a potential successor to Michael Eisner over at Disney
Yet Sirius is a perfect fit for Karmazin. Succeeding at Sirius will mean that both XM
Having a prolific name at the helm also gives Sirius instant credibility. Karmazin's contacts should help secure more big-name broadcasting talent interested in making the migration to satellite radio. It's definitely been good for the shares of Sirius as the stock was trading at $5.60 last night after Karmazin's post was officially announced.
Last month, I proposed that Sirius was worthy of being considered for our new Rule Breakers growth stock newsletter and it has risen by better than 50% since. We can't ignore valuation. We can't dismiss the fact that the company has tacked on $2.5 billion in market cap over the past month.
Pullbacks are bound to happen. It comes with the high-flying territory. Yet with Stern and now Karmazin on board, it's hard not to like Sirius's chances in the long-term.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz thinks that satellite radio will be a huge industry in the years to come. He owns shares in Disney but not any of the other companies mentioned in this story. He is a member of the Rule Breakers analytical team, seeking out tomorrow's great growth stocks today.
Discussion Board of the Day: Tax Strategies
Do you rely on a tax pro such as H&R Block to help you file your return, or do you go it alone? Are you making the right moves to make sure you don't pay more in taxes than you have to next year? All this and more -- in the Tax Strategies discussion board. Only on Fool.com.
Phil Hangs Up His Nikes
On Thursday, Chairman and CEO Philip Knight announced he is turning over Nike's
The outgoing boss's story starts with Knight and partner Bill Bowerman developing shoes for runners, with Knight peddling them from the trunk of his car at track meets, and ends with one of the most powerful brands in the world. Knight was a masterful businessman who revolutionized how to sell sports apparel and equipment. You only need to remember Mars Blackman (played by Spike Lee), his main man money Michael Jordan (played by his Airness), and the "Just Do It" campaign to know that Nike is different from the rest.
From the press release, Perez clearly relishes the honor of getting to wear the "C" on his Nike sweater (for those unfamiliar with the Bauer Nike Hockey line, and hockey in general, the on-ice captain is signified with a "C" on his jersey). And I think shareholders should be stoked as well.
S.C. Johnson is one of the best consumer products companies in the world today. It has a very disciplined product development process, coming up with some of the most innovative and useful products. It is heralded as one of the premier places to work as a marketer. And to top it off, S.C. Johnson is known to have a very competitive culture. Just ask Procter and Gamble
So, it's nice to know that Perez rose through the ranks and touched almost every functional part of S.C. Johnson. He knows sales, marketing, brand management, and operations, and has the experience of putting it all together to lead a company. Time will certainly determine if Perez is successful or not, but I think the search committee found a great man for the job. They found someone who shares the same enthusiasm for sports (he is a marathon runner), who knows how to brainwash people into buying goods, and who knows how to lead a creative, competitive culture. What more could Nike shareholders ask for?
So farewell, Phil. Thanks for pouring your heart and soul into Nike and for helping fund my daughter's college education. And welcome aboard, William. You have some big shoes to fill.
Fool contributor David Meier owns shares of Nike and a bunch of stuff the company makes. He does not own shares in any of the other companies mentioned.
Mattel's 'Free Plus' Dividend
The company's recent dividend history has been marked by turmoil. Following the disastrous takeover of The Learning Co. in 1999, the company swung from a quarterly dividend to an annual one, and at the same time slashed the payout in an effort to save $130 million a year. Two years later, though, it boosted the dividend to $0.40 and the company has now increased it once again.
While Warren Buffet is not fond of dividends, believing the capital could be better spent reinvested in the company, Mathew Emmert recently pointed out that dividend paying companies have been solid performers over the years. They account for 42% of the market's total return since 1926 while the S&P 500's dividend payers have nudged out non-payers by 3% per year for the past 25 years. Matthew's Motley Fool Income Investor newsletter has been beating the market handily by investing in dividend-paying companies.
Master value investor John Neff also liked the dividend, noting that as investors price stocks almost solely on the basis of earnings growth, the dividend was a "free plus" -- returns over and above initial expectations.
It was one of the reasons Philip Durell chose Mattel as his first pick in the inaugural issue of Motley Fool Inside Value, noting the company now employs excellent cash managers who also instituted and expanded a share buyback program.
Without question, the toy industry has been sucking wind lately. Toys "R" Us
By raising the dividend, Mattel's management is signaling its belief in the fundamental soundness of the company in the face of sagging sales of its flagship Barbie brand. As it rights its ship, Mattel investors can enjoy the "free plus" in the meantime.
Fool contributor Rich Duprey does not own any of the stocks mentioned in this article.
Quote of Note
"A kleptomaniac is a person who helps himself because he can't help himself." -- Henry Morgan
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