Today WWE released their Q1 2020 financial results, reporting an surprisingly strong first quarter. The company highlighted a 60% revenue increase to $291 million over 2019’s first quarter, and a net income of $26.2 million as compared to a loss of $8.4 million in the first quarter of 2019. Both of these positive results are due largely in part to the company’s television deals.
WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon commented on the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact, or lack thereof, on the company’s first quarter financial performance.
“Our first quarter financial performance was strong and largely unimpacted by the COVID-19 outbreak,” said McMahon. “Now we are in the midst of unprecedented times, which require us to be especially nimble, creative and efficient in order to ensure the long-term value of WWE. We are taking precautions to protect the health and safety of our performers and staff as we produce content in new ways, engage fans with a much-needed diversion and operate effectively in this evolving environment.”
The number of paid WWE Network subscribers was reported at 1.46 million. WrestleMania weekend saw total subscribers reach 2.10 million as of April 6, 2020, up 5% from the day after WrestleMania last year. Which sees a loss of roughly 640,000 free subscribers in less than a month.
You can view the full financial report below.
WWE® Reports Strong First Quarter 2020 ResultsTakes Action on COVID-19 Impact
First Quarter 2020 Highlights
* Revenues increased 60% to $291.0 million as compared to the prior year quarter
* Operating income was $53.3 million as compared to a loss of $6.8 million in the prior year quarter
* Adj. OIBDA1 increased to $77.3 million from $12.4 million in the prior year quarter
* Announced multi-year distribution agreements with Sony Pictures Networks in India and DAZN in Germany to extend the reach of WWE content across television and digital platforms
* WWE Network average paid subscribers were 1.46 million, consistent with the Company’s guidance
* Digital video views increased 25% to 9.6 billion and hours consumed increased 15% to 344 million across digital and social media platforms3
WrestleMania Highlights (April 4-5, 2020)
* WWE set WrestleMania Week viewership records with more than 967 million video views across digital and social platforms4, representing a 20% increase from the prior year. A record 46 million hours of content was consumed during the week, an increase of 28% from the prior year
* WrestleMania (April 4 & 5, 2020) was the most social event in WWE history with more than 13.8 million total social media interactions on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, up 57% vs. last year’s WrestleMania5
* WWE Network’s WrestleMania weekend subscriber additions (Friday-Sunday) were the highest in its history. Total subscribers reached 2.10 million on April 6, 2020, up 5% from the day after WrestleMania last year
COVID-19 Actions and Outlook
* Due to COVID-19 and related government-mandated impacts on WWE moving forward, the Company has implemented various short-term cost reductions and cash flow improvement actions. These precautionary measures include reducing executive and board member compensation, decreasing operating expenses, cutting third-party staffing, consulting and talent costs, and reducing employee headcount by way of furlough
* To enhance liquidity, management deferred spending on the Company’s new headquarters (reducing 2020 capital expenditures by $140 million), temporarily suspended the repurchase of stock under its $500 million program, and drew $200 million from its revolving credit facility after quarter-end
* Management continues to believe the Company’s growth prospects remain strong and that WWE is well positioned to take full advantage of the changing media landscape and increasing value of live sports rights over the longer term (See COVID-19 Actions and Business Outlook, page 7)
STAMFORD, Conn., April 23, 2020 – WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2020.
“Our first quarter financial performance was strong and largely unimpacted by the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO. “Now we are in the midst of unprecedented times, which require us to be especially nimble, creative and efficient in order to ensure the long-term value of WWE. We are taking precautions to protect the health and safety of our performers and staff as we produce content in new ways, engage fans with a much-needed diversion and operate effectively in this evolving environment.”
Frank Riddick, interim Chief Financial Officer, added “In the quarter, we delivered revenue of $291 million and Adjusted OIBDA of $77.3 million exceeding our rescinded guidance as we offset the impact of canceled events by reducing production and other costs. Given the current uncertainties of the potential impacts of COVID-19 on our business, we have reduced employee, talent and other costs and delayed approximately $140 million in capital spending related to our new headquarters to strengthen our financial performance going forward and to ensure we have the resources necessary to execute our value creation strategy.”
First-Quarter Consolidated Results
Revenues increased 60% to $291.0 million as compared to the prior year quarter, primarily due to increased monetization of content in the Media segment, which was partially offset by a reduction in live event ticket revenue and lower merchandise sales.
Operating Income was $53.3 million as compared to a loss of $6.8 million in the prior year quarter, driven by increased revenues in the Media segment partially offset by increases in fixed costs, particularly to support the creation of content. The Company’s Operating income margin increased to 18% from (4%) in the prior year quarter.
Adjusted OIBDA (which excludes stock compensation) increased to $77.3 million from $12.4 million in the prior year quarter. The Company’s Adjusted OIBDA margin increased to 27% from 7%.
Net Income was $26.2 million, or $0.31 per diluted share, as compared to a loss of $8.4 million, or a loss of $0.11 per diluted share, in the first quarter 2019. Net income in the current period reflected the impact of the finance lease that commenced in July 2019 related to the Company’s new headquarters. Current period results also included $11.5 million in impairment charges related to certain equity investments. Excluding the impact of the equity investment impairment charges, Adjusted Net Income6 increased to $34.9 million, or $0.41 per diluted share, due to improved operating performance.
Effective Tax Rate declined to 25% as compared to 26% in the prior year quarter.
Cash flows generated by operating activities reached $65.9 million as compared to $6.7 million in the prior year quarter driven by improved operating performance and, to a lesser extent, a reduced payout of management incentive compensation.
Free Cash Flow totaled $57.6 million as compared to a $10.1 million use of cash in the first quarter 2019 primarily due to the change in operating cash flow and, to a lesser extent, a reduction in capital expenditures.7
Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments were $292 million as of March 31, 2020. Additionally, subsequent to quarter-end, the Company drew $200 million in cash under its revolving line of credit. The Company’s current liquidity position (cash and short-term investments) is approximately $500 million, which management believes provides adequate liquidity in this uncertain environment.
Return of Capital to Shareholders
The Company paid $9.3 million in dividends to shareholders during the first quarter. Given the economic uncertainties of the current business environment, the Company has temporarily suspended purchases of WWE stock under its $500 million share repurchase program.
Click here to view full Press Release on the WWE Corporate website.
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