The Quiet Buying Opportunity
The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) has quietly retreated from its recent highs of $116 to sub $104 thus presenting a buying opportunity in this media juggernaut heading into earnings. We’ve all heard the endless bickering over its slumping ESPN franchise. Although ESPN makes up a disproportionate amount of the company’s revenue, all of its other franchises are posting healthy growth hence Disney will be relying less and less on its ESPN franchise over the coming years. Disney’s perpetual stock slump leading up to its recent resurgence was almost entirely attributable to the decrease in ESPN subscribers and subsequent revenue and profit declines from that franchise. The ESPN franchise within the Media Networks segment generates revenue/operating income that is disproportionate to the amount of the company’s overall revenue and operating profit. Thus, one can see why investors were spooked after consecutive significant declines in ESPN subscribers and thus financial numbers over the past three years. Excluding ESPN, Disney has been executing well and reporting record numbers throughout all of its other business segments. Disney has a deep and diversified enough entertainment portfolio that makes a compelling case that these ESPN fears are overblown. Disney offers a compelling long-term investment opportunity considering the growth, pipeline, diversity of its portfolio, share repurchase program and dividend growth in light of this recent retreat.
Long-Term Narrative and Positive Analyst Sentiment
I’ve been a long bull of Disney (DIS) stock, particularly since the post-ESPN induced sell-off throughout 2016. Since the lows of October 2016, Disney has seen a huge appreciation in stock price, breaking out to above $116 per share before this current downtrend. This upswing has been on the heels of multiple catalysts such as of reporting record annual results, breaking the all-time worldwide box-office record, witnessing a slew of analyst upgrades, Iger extending his contract as CEO, ESPN woes subsiding, Shanghai Disney opening and Disney’s movie line-up announced through 2020. This inflection point coincided with Doctor Strange, Moana and Star Wars Rouge One in calendar Q4 of 2016 followed by record openings for its live action film, Beauty and the Beast and Guardians of the Galaxy 2. The stock fell from the $120s in late 2015 to the high $80s and had been stuck in the $80-$90 range all throughout 2016. That stock slump offered investors an opportunity to purchase a high-quality company at a significant discount. [Continue reading]