Is The Walt Disney Company (DIS) a Buy?

Page 1 of 2

The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS)The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) shareholders were surely feeling the magic when the media giant posted a 32% increase in earnings.

Net income for the quarter ending Mar. 30 was $1.51 billion, or $0.83 a share, compared with $1.14 billion, or $0.63 per share in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue jumped 10% to $10.55 billion.

Driving the strong numbers were significant growth at its theme parks, continued strength from its ESPN cable network and solid gains from its film studios.

Crediting a steadily improving economy in which individuals felt better enough to take vacations, CEO Bob Iger told CNBC, “Obviously, our parks and resorts had a great quarter that was helped a lot by some of our new investments, notably at Disney Land and in Florida, but also our new cruise ship and investments in Hong Kong.”

Strong performance

The park and resort division did indeed look like the happiest place on earth. Total revenue for the segment rose 14% to $3.3 billion, and operating income swelled 73% to $383 million.

Film studio revenue also provided action,  jumping 13% to $1.34 billion. Operating income swung from an $83 million loss a year ago to a $118 thanks to films such as “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” and “Wreck-It Ralph.”

Underscoring The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS)’s newly-recovered prowess as a film studio, the recently-released “Iron Man 3” from the The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS)-owned Marvel Studios raked in over $680 million in global box office receipts over a mere 12 days. This has drawn comparisons to Marvel Studios’ previous offering, “The Avengers,” which went on to become the third top-grossing movie of all time.

“Not only does it validate a strategy of big franchise films that we leverage across our businesses, but it bodes very well for Marvel,” Iger added. The The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) chief says he hopes to bring “Iron Man” back again.

Once again a bright spot, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS)’s cable network businesses continue to be a resolute pillar. Cable revenue rose 9% to $3.46 billion, while operating income was up 15% to $1.72 billion. Credit goes in large part to the company’s hugely successful sport network ESPN.

Industry revival

Rival Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX) also recently reported robust first quarter results and provided rosy guidance. The company’s earnings-per-share rose 22% and operating income grew 7% to $1.4 billion. In a nod of confidence, the company repurchased 16 million shares, worth some $868 million, year-to-date through Apr. 26.

Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX) Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes said, ‘We’re off to a strong start in 2013, making us even more confident in our full year outlook.”

Bewkes cited its cable network for solid growth. The NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball tournament was the most watched March Madness in almost two decades. In addition, its TBS channel was the No. 1 ad-supported cable network in prime-time.

New shows such as “Revolution” and “The Following” were hits. Meanwhile, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” is on track to become the most watched series on HBO since “The Sopranos.”

Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX) will spin off its publishing arm, Time, by the end of the year. The move is aimed at unlocking value in both companies.

Page 1 of 2