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Analyst: 'Significant Opportunities' For WWE Beyond TV Deals

Wayne Duggan

After a huge year in 2018, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: WWE) stock is off to another hot start in 2019. One Wall Street analyst said the best may be yet to come.

The Analyst

Guggenheim analyst Curry Baker reiterated his Buy rating and $105 price target for WWE.

The Thesis

After meeting with WWE management this week, Baker is convinced there are additional bullish catalysts beyond TV deals in the U.K. and India that are not yet priced into the stock. Baker has high hopes for WWE’s upcoming international content deals, particularly those in India, Latin America, the Middle East and China. He's expecting even more bullish news from WWE in coming quarters.

“Additionally, we see incremental content deals ('third hour' of SmackDown), sponsorship growth, and the WWE Network re-launch as significant opportunities not currently reflected in our estimates,” Curry wrote in a note.

Curry said WWE investors should be focusing on three main focus areas looking ahead.

First, the all-important international TV deals in the U.K. and India will need to live up to expectations. Guggenheim is projecting a “flattish” U.K. deal, but a fivefold increase in the India deal size.

Second, Curry said WWE should improve its monetization of the third hour of taping at “SmackDown” live events. He said adding a third hour to the weekly “SmackDown” show on FOX could add an additional $75 million in OIBDA.

Finally, Curry said WWE’s sponsorship deals are under-earning given market demand for its TV content. He said WWE can add $50 million to $100 million in OIBDA over the next three years if it negotiates better sponsorship deals.

While analysts like Curry are counting the positive catalysts ahead, short sellers are taking note of a stock that’s up 391 percent in the past three years. WWE has an extremely high short percent of float of 17 percent. That large short position suggests WWE investors could be in for a wild ride one way or the other in 2019.

Price Action

WWE's stock traded around $84.48 per share Thursday.

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Photo credit: Miguel Discart, Flickr

Latest Ratings for WWE

Date Firm Action From To
Mar 2019 MKM Partners Maintains Buy Buy
Dec 2018 Loop Capital Initiates Coverage On Hold
Nov 2018 JP Morgan Upgrades Neutral Overweight

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