DISCA - Discovery, Inc.

NasdaqGS - NasdaqGS Real Time Price. Currency in USD
32.43
-0.34 (-1.04%)
At close: 4:00PM EST
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Previous Close32.77
Open32.79
Bid32.55 x 4000
Ask32.85 x 1000
Day's Range32.36 - 32.89
52 Week Range25.08 - 33.66
Volume3,296,405
Avg. Volume3,789,969
Market Cap16.287B
Beta (5Y Monthly)1.62
PE Ratio (TTM)14.58
EPS (TTM)N/A
Earnings DateN/A
Forward Dividend & YieldN/A (N/A)
Ex-Dividend DateN/A
1y Target EstN/A
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    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Say what you like about outspoken activist hedge fund investors such as Carl Icahn, Bill Ackman, Paul Singer or Dan Loeb but at least you know where they stand. Nowadays it’s more fashionable for activist funds to refrain from public criticism and work constructively behind the scenes to help managers turn around a business.This is fine, but it becomes a problem when one of the “kindly” investor types resigns abruptly from a board seat they’d pushed to obtain, without providing much explanation. Shares in Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc tumbled as much as 5% on Tuesday when Bradley Singer, a representative of Jeffrey Ubben’s ValueAct Capital, said he has stepped down as a director. ValueAct is the British aircraft engine maker’s largest shareholder.After serving almost four years on the board, Singer said the company was now on a “solid path forward.” His praise rang a little hollow, however, because Rolls-Royce’s shares are close to three-year lows. ValueAct didn’t help matters by failing to clarify whether it plans to keep its stake of about 9%.Singer’s departure may in fact signal that there are limits to what activist investors can achieve, even the ones who ask politely.In fairness, Rolls-Royce is a different company to the one ValueAct bought into. Under chief executive Warren East, it has cut costs, slashed jobs and overhauled a famously bureaucratic culture. The company has ramped up production and reduced upfront losses on engine sales (engine makers typically make money in servicing, not selling the equipment). Its struggling commercial marine business has been sold. Mission accomplished? Hardly. Because of engineering problems involving the Trent engines it supplies for Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliner, Rolls-Royce is a long way from being “fixed.” The company will have spent 2.4 billion pounds ($3.2 billion) between 2017 and 2023 dealing with the early deterioration of engine blades, a cash outflow the debt-laden manufacturer can ill afford. Standard & Poors cut its long-term credit rating last month to BBB-, one notch above junk.Fixing the Trent engines is partly a logistics issue — making sure customers are inconvenienced as little as possible while their planes are grounded for repairs. But it’s also an engineering challenge: Rolls-Royce designed a new high-pressure turbine blade for the Trent 1000 TEN engine variant only to discover that it didn’t provide the necessary durability.Getting this right is something Singer, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker and finance director of Discovery Communications Inc., would have had relatively little influence over. Yet after attending scores of board meetings, he should at least have been well-versed in what is ailing Rolls-Royce. His decision to step away isn’t reassuring.To contact the author of this story: Chris Bryant at cbryant32@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at jboxell@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Bryant is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies. He previously worked for the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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  • Disney’s Legacy Businesses Are Still an Issue for DIS Stock
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    I've been mostly skeptical toward Disney (NYSE:DIS), and so far, mostly wrong. Optimism toward the company's Disney+ streaming service sent Disney stock soaring in April. More recently, solid fourth-quarter results and a fast start to the streaming launch have sent the the stock's price to new all-time highs.Source: James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com To be sure, I understand the bull case for Disney stock, and the streaming opportunity is real. Disney+ is beating rivals AT&T (NYSE:T) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) to market. Its nearly full ownership of Hulu and its massive library make Disney the strongest competitor to Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) on a global basis.And given that Netflix has a market capitalization of $130 billion, more than half that of Disney, a streaming business that rivals or exceeds that of Netflix obviously can have a material impact on the price of DIS stock.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading TipsThat said, there long have been concerns about the rest of Disney's business. ESPN revenue and profits have stalled out amid cord-cutting pressure. Other networks like ABC are feeling the same pinch. The licensing business has softened, and Disney's parks business faces cyclical risk in year eleven of an economic expansion. * 10 Cheap Stocks to Buy Under $10 The concern with Disney stock since the Disney+ launch has been that investors have forgotten about those issues. That's particularly dangerous given that Disney+ itself is likely to exacerbate the weakness in the legacy business.In that context, I'm still skeptical toward the company's stock. Yes, streaming is a big deal for DIS, but investors need to focus on the rest of the business as well. Q4 Earnings Were Better Than You ThinkDisney's fourth-quarter report, which beat consensus estimates, was well received. But expectations aside, the quarter at first glance looks close to disastrous. The company's non-GAAP earnings per share declined 28% year over year, and fell 19% in fiscal 2019 as a whole. Free cash flow in FY19 was just $1.1 billion -- down dramatically from $9.8 billion the year before.Of course, there are a number of moving parts affecting earnings and cash flow. The deal with Comcast that brought Hulu under Disney's control also brought Hulu's operating losses onto Disney's balance sheet in full. Twenty-First Century Fox's movie studio posted losses in both the third and fourth quarters. Those two factors alone reduced adjusted EPS by 47 cents, per commentary on the Q4 conference call. Spending behind the Disney+ launch took off another 18 cents or so, based on operating income discussion.Given that adjusted EPS declined by just 41 cents -- 10 cents better than the average Wall Street estimate -- upon closer inspection, Q4 looks reasonably strong. Hulu's losses will reverse over time. Fox simply had a bad quarter. Aside from these relatively one-time impacts, Disney is still growing earnings. And that seems to set the company, and the stock, up well now that Disney+ has officially launched. …But Concerns PersistThat said, looking closer, the old worries persist. Per the call, ESPN profits declined. Cable Networks profits actually declined in the quarter, as the drop in ESPN earnings more than offset the benefit of FX and National Geographic, acquired in the Fox deal. Broadcasting profits, too, declined due largely to weakness at ABC.Bear in mind that the Media Networks group, even adjusting for restructuring and acquisition costs, accounted for over 40% of total earnings in fiscal 2019. (The exact figure is difficult to calculate until Disney files its annual report.) That significant contribution to overall earnings is the key reason why Disney stock traded sideways for almost four years before the Disney+ launch.Problems in Media Networks aren't going away. ESPN+ has been a point of focus, but closed the quarter with just 3.5 million subscribers. The ESPN network may well have lost that many subscribers just in fiscal 2019 (here, too, the actual figure hasn't yet been disclosed), and at significantly higher monthly revenue than the $5 the company charges for ESPN+.TV weakness is a significant headwind for Disney earnings. And it's likely that Disney+ itself will accelerate cord-cutting, and add to that headwind. Cable stocks like AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX) and Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA, NASDAQ:DISCB) trade well off their highs because of precisely that trend.Meanwhile, Fox is off to a difficult start under Disney ownership. The film studio in Q3 reverted to a $170 million loss from an estimated $180 million profit the year before. According to the Q4 call, it lost $100 million more in the fourth quarter than it had in Q4 2018. Ad Astra and Dark Phoenix both flopped.Streaming is important to Disney. It's likely the most important business for Disney stock, as I wrote in a detailed piece this summer. But the other businesses matter too. And they have not performed well in recent quarters, or in Q4. The Case For and Against DIS StockAgain, investors have shrugged off those concerns for some seven months now, and continue to do so. And, again, to some extent, I understand why. If Disney+ really is a Netflix competitor, let alone a Netflix killer, it could well be worth over $100 billion. That suggests the rest of Disney is "only" valued at roughly $160 billion.Those non-streaming businesses in fiscal 2019 probably generated around $13 billion in adjusted net income in fiscal 2019. Again, between impairments, purchase accounting for the Fox deal and spending behind not just Disney+ but Hulu and ESPN+, it's difficult to pin down a precise figure. But it seems likely that adjusted EPS would have come in nicely above $7, and closer to $8. The latter figure would imply over $14 billion in profits. Assign a reasonable 15x multiple to that number and Disney as a whole would be worth over $300 billion. * 7 Inexpensive, High-Dividend ETFs to Buy That in turn implies a stock price above $170 for DIS against the current $148. And investors may well see the strength in Parks, the dominance of the studio business and the intellectual property as supporting an even higher non-streaming multiple, and thus a higher Disney stock price. Meanwhile, Disney's first-day haul of 10 million Disney+ subscribers is another piece of evidence to suggest that the service can be a juggernaut and a real threat to Netflix.But there's a lot that needs to go right there. Bear in mind that Disney+ has a five-year target of 90 million subscribers, at which point Netflix should be nearing 300 million. Disney still generates significant profit from home video, some of which will be cannibalized by Disney+ subscribers who no longer buy individual movies. It's foregoing licensing revenue from Netflix in bringing back its content.Even if Disney+ is worth $100 billion-plus, and the rest of the business declines, I'm skeptical that Disney stock should be valued at much more than the current price, if that. And from that standpoint, Q4 appears less encouraging that investors seem to believe.Again, I've been wrong before, and long-term investors betting on Disney and CEO Bob Iger haven't been disappointed. But there are concerns here, and I remain skeptical that streaming alone can fix them.As of this writing, Vince Martin did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Cheap Stocks to Buy Under $10 * These 10 Stocks to Buy Make the Perfect 'Retirement' Portfolio * 5 Streaming Stocks to Buy for Huge Upside Over the Next Decade The post Disney's Legacy Businesses Are Still an Issue for DIS Stock appeared first on InvestorPlace.