Bob Iger Responds to Nelson Peltz on Activist Campaign – The Hollywood Reporter

Bob Iger Responds to Nelson Peltz on Activist Campaign – The Hollywood Reporter

The Walt Disney Company reiterated that its streaming business will be profitable this summer (fiscal fourth quarter), as losses at the division narrow thanks to higher revenue per user and efforts to control costs.

In a critical quarter for the company, which faces proxy battles with a pair of activist investors (Nelson Peltz’s Trian Partners and Blackwells’ Jason Aintabi), Disney said its streaming business lost $216 million in the quarter, including sports, down From $387 million last quarter, and from more than $1 billion last year.

The company said core Disney+ subscribers fell slightly by 1.3 million, adjusting for price hikes in the quarter (it also told analysts their fall forecasts). However, it expects the number of subscribers next quarter to rise to 5.5 million to 6 million. The company saw its average revenue per user (ARPU) improve thanks to higher pricing and better performance from its ad-supported Disney+ tier. Hulu saw its subscriber base rise by 1.2 million.

On the earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Iger, in what will likely be his biggest platform to send a message to Wall Street before the company’s annual meeting in April, announced a slew of projects and deals, including a $1.5 billion partnership and investment in Epic. Games that will bring the Disney IP franchise to the world fortnite being; a surprise Moana The sequel, which will hit theaters this year; Deal to bring Taylor Swift’s Era’s Tour to Disney+ next month; and a fall 2025 launch date for ESPN’s flagship direct-to-consumer service.

Total revenue was $23.5 billion, even compared to last year, but with Wall Street outperforming, diluted earnings per share rose to $1.22, and operating income to $3.9 billion.

In the entertainment division, revenue was $10 billion, with operating income of $874 million. In sports, revenue was $4.8 billion with an operating loss of $103 million. In the trials, revenue was US$9.1 billion and operating income was US$3.1 billion.

The company also announced a significant increase in its dividend and a $3 billion stock buyback program. It provided guidance, telling investors that 2024 earnings per share would improve by 20 percent, and that free cash flow would be $8 billion for the year.

“Just one year ago, we outlined an ambitious plan to return The Walt Disney Company to a period of sustainable growth and shareholder value creation,” Iger said in a statement. “Our strong performance last quarter shows that we have turned the corner and entered a new era for our company, with a focus on future-proofing ESPN, building streaming into a profitable growth business, revitalizing our film studios, and rapidly growing our parks and experience.”

More is coming.

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