Walt Disney Co. (DIS) made investors very happy last week when it beat estimates for the fourth quarter and full-year earnings, but announcements about future projects put smiles on the faces of Mickey Mouse lovers around the world.
The revenue and profit beats come after years of savvy acquisitions — including recent gems Marvel and Lucasfilm — with which it continues to build out it multimedia and entertainment empire. For the full fiscal year, Disney beat profit estimates with earnings that rose 8% to a record $6.1 billion; earnings per share climbed 8% from a year earlier to $3.38. For the full year, Disney’s revenue increased 7% to $45 billion
Among the company’s biggest revenue boosters for the year was its parks and resorts division; Disney set attendance records last year at its theme parks, which helped boost the division’s sales by 15%. Disney’s consumer products division saw sales up 14%.
Disney’s cable-network division, led by ESPN, was the only segment that didn’t beat analyst estimates; its ABC division’s expenses ate into profits. In its studio division, “The Lone Ranger” with Johnny Depp failed miserably; the top-performing film of 2013 was “Iron Man 3” with $1.22 billion in box-office sales; and “Thor: The Dark World” opened Nov. 8 to an $86 million weekend.
Crowd-pleasers from Iron Fist to the Seven Dwarfs
For some it’s all about the big numbers, but for Disney fans, who ultimately make or break the company’s success, it’s all about the upcoming previews:
- Disney and Netflix (NFLX) are teaming up to put together an original TV series featuring four of Marvel’s most popular characters in 2015. We’re talking about at least four, 13-episode series with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage. Very cool.
- Even though Disney is going to delay the release of its next Pixar film, “The Good Dinosaur,” to November 2015 and “Finding Dory” to June 2016, fans will happily anticipate both. Like most Pixar movies—this summer’s “Monster University” grossed over $730 million worldwide—they will draw huge audiences.
- Disney acquired the rights to the Star Wars franchise last year, and as hardcore Star Wars fans know, the studio plans to release “Star Wars VII” on Dec. 18, 2015.
- And then there’s the Magic Kingdom’s new Fantasyland, including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train; Under the Sea—Journey of the Little Mermaid; and the Festival of Fantasy Parade; and the Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow Experience at Hollywood Studios, among others.
Blockbuster acquisitions, steady performance
You get the picture. Disney is a company that never stops dreaming, innovating and entertaining. While continuing to build its legacy businesses and maintain its golden brand, it has capitalized on blockbuster acquisitions from Miramax and Pixar to Lucasfilm and Marvel.
That’s why Disney stock has always been a steady performer. From Nov. 12, 1957 when it first went public at $13.88 per share to $68.34 today, it has delivered solid returns to believers.
We’re talking about a 77,226% return if you go way back 52 years when records were first kept or 224% over 5 years, 86% over 2, 44% over 1 or 33% year-to-date.
It’s the kind of stock that can be used to save for a college tuition or retirement; it allow you to sleep at night knowing it will be there the next day, and the next.