Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, The Undertaker – I’m sure you would have heard of these names before, even if you don’t watch wrestling. I can still remember following them back in the 90s when Singapore’s local TV was still airing their shows every Saturday (back then it was known as WWF, or World Wrestling Federation), and even bought VCDs of their special events like Wrestlemania and Royal Rumble.

So, the US-listed World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (NYSE:WWE) needs no further introduction – they have been involved in the sports entertainment business for over 4 decades and are currently one of the most popular brands in the global entertainment industry.

In today’s post about the sports entertainment company, you’ll read about the company’s business operations, and how it generates its revenue, its financial performance, debt profile, and dividend payouts between FY2015 and FY2020, its current year performance so far (compared against the same time period last year), and finally, my outlook for the company ahead.

Let’s begin…

World Wrestling Entertainment’s Business Operations

World Wrestling Entertainment’s (or WWE in short) business operations can be centred around 3 business segments:

(i) Media – which comprises of WWE Network, broadcast and pay TV, digital and social media, as well as filmed entertainment. Revenues from this business segment comes from contents rights fee, subscriptions to the WWE Network, as well as from advertising and sponsorships. This business segment is also the largest contributor towards the company’s total revenue at 89% in FY2020;

(ii) Live Events – some examples include their Monday Night Raw, Friday Night Smackdown, Wrestlemania, Royal Rumble, etc., with revenue coming from ticket sales, along with sale of travel packages associated with the company’s global live events;

(iii) Consumer Products – Revenue from this business segment comes from WWE-branded products such as video games, toys and apparel, through licensing agreements and direct-to-consumer sales, as well as from royalties and license fees related to WWE-branded products.

Financial Performance between FY2015 and FY2020

To begin, the company has a financial year ending every 31 December. And in this section, let us take a look at WWE’s financial performance between FY2015 and FY2020 (a period of 6 financial years):

Total Revenue & Net Profit (USD’mil):

FY2015FY2016FY2017FY2018FY2019
Total Revenue
(USD’mil)
$659m$729m$801m$930m$960m
Net Profit
(USD’mil)
$24m$34m$33m$100m$77m
FY2020
Total Revenue
(USD’mil)
$974m
Net Profit
(USD’mil)
$132m

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.'s Total Revenue and Net Profit between FY2015 and FY2020

WWE’s total revenue went up from $659m in FY2015 to $974m in FY2020, with improvements recorded every single year – in a span of 6 years, its total revenue grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.7%.

Net profit, on the other hand, saw year-on-year (y-o-y) growth in 4 out of 6 years – the 2 years which saw its net profit decline were in FY2017 (due to a one-time charge totalling $11.3m that arose from the enactment of the new tax law – excluding the impact of these charges, net profit would have increased to $43.9m), as well as in FY2019 (due to the impact of the finance lease related to the company’s new HQ, as well as higher effective tax rate for the year.) Over a period of 6 years, its net profit grew at a CAGR or 32.9%.

Net Profit Margin (%):

The following is the company’s net profit margin which I have computed:

FY2015FY2016FY2017FY2018FY2019
Net Profit
Margin (%)
3.6%4.7%4.1%10.8%8.0%
FY2020
Net Profit
Margin (%)
13.6%

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.'s Net Profit Margin between FY2015 and FY2020

In-line with a y-o-y decline in its net profit in FY2017 and FY2019, its net profit margin also fell.

Return on Equity (%):

In layman terms, Return on Equity (or RoE) is a measure of profitability (in percentage terms) the company is able to generate for every dollar of shareholders’ money it uses in its business/es.

The table below is WWE’s RoE which I’ve computed over the past 6 financial years:

FY2015FY2016FY2017FY2018FY2019
Return on
Equity (%)
11.5%14.2%13.0%31.6%28.0%
FY2020
Return on
Equity (%)
33.9%

In-line with a decline in its net profit in FY2017 and FY2019, its RoE also fell for those year. Apart from that, all the other 4 years saw this financial ratio recording an improvement on a y-o-y basis – where it improved from a mere 11.5% in FY2015 to a high of 33.9% in FY2020 (which coincidentally is also the highest in the 6 years I have looked at.)

Debt Profile between FY2015 and FY2020

Apart from a company’s financial performance, another area I focus my attention on is its debt profile – where my preference is towards companies with minimal or no debt (the latter preferred), as well as one that’s in a net cash position.

The following table is WWE’s debt profile between FY2015 and FY2020:

FY2015FY2016FY2017FY2018FY2019
Cash & Cash
Equivalent
(USD’mil)
$38m$212m$138m$167m$90m
Total
Borrowings
(USD’mil)
$21m$42m$36m$31m$26m
Net Cash/
Debt
(USD’mil)
+$170m+$102m+$136m+$64m+$340m
Free Cash
Flow/Share
(USD/share)
$0.94$0.83$1.69$3.55$1.15
FY2020
Cash & Cash
Equivalent
(USD’mil)
$462m
Total
Borrowings
(USD’mil)
$122m
Net Cash/
Debt
(USD’mil)
+$40m
Free Cash
Flow/Share
(USD/share)
$6.25

Apart from in the most recent financial year 2020 where its total borrowings spiked up, all the other years saw the company having minimal borrowings. The company is also in a net cash position in the 6 years I have looked at. Also, apart from in FY2019, its free cash flow have also improved for the remaining 5 financial years – which is good to note as well.

Dividend Payout to Shareholders between FY2015 and FY2020

The management of WWE pays out a dividend to its shareholders on a quarterly basis.

With that, let us take a look at its dividend payout to its shareholders over the last 6 years, along with its payout ratio which I’ve computed:

FY2015FY2016FY2017FY2018FY2019
Dividend Per
Share

(USD’cents)
48.0
cents
48.0
cents
48.0
cents
48.0
cents
48.0
cents
Dividend
Payout Ratio
(%)
150.0%109.1%114.3%42.9%56.5%
FY2020
Dividend Per
Share

(USD’cents)
48.0
cents
Dividend
Payout Ratio
(%)
30.8%

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.'s Dividend Per Share between FY2015 and FY2020

While its revenue and net profit have grown over the years, its dividend payout have not – it remained at 48.0 cents in all of the 6 years I have looked at.

Comparison of WWE’s 1H FY2020 Results vs. its 1H FY2021 Results

WWE have reported its results for the first half of the financial year 2021 on 29 July 2021. In this section, let us take a look at how its results fared when compared against the same time period last year (i.e. 1H FY2020):

1H FY20201H FY2021% Variance
Total Revenue
(USD’mil)
$514m$530m+3.1%
Net Profit
(USD’mil)
$70m$73m+4.3%
Net Profit
Margin (%)
13.6%13.8%+0.2pp
Cash & Cash
Equivalent
(USD’mil)
$425m$323m-24.0%
Total
Borrowings
(USD’mil)
$223m$21m-90.6%
Net Cash/
Debt
(USD’mil)
+$202m+$302m+49.5%
Dividend Per
Share
(USD’cents)
24.0
cents
24.0
cents

On the whole, the company’s latest set of financial results compared against last year was a better one – in terms of its financial performance (helped by an improvement in revenue in its media business, offset by weakness from its live events business due to the ongoing pandemic where international events were cancelled), as well as in its debt profile (where a huge fall in its total borrowings saw the company’s net cash position improving significantly.)

The only slight negative is that its cash and cash equivalent suffered a dip compared to last year, along with its dividend payout remaining the same as last year (where it paid out 12.0 cents in the first, as well as in the second quarters of FY2019 and FY2020.)

Closing Thoughts

What I like about WWE is its simple-to-understand business, its growing financial performance, and also the fact that the company is in a net cash position in all of the 6 years I have studied. On the other hand, for those of you who would prefer companies that are able to increase its dividend payout to shareholders over the years may not find this company ideal (as its dividend payout have remained stagnant at 48.0 cents/share over the years.)

Looking ahead, I am of the opinion that its media segment (which contributes a lion’s share towards the company’s overall revenue) should continue to remain stable. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, its live events business may be affected in the near- to mid-term due to border restrictions, along with a caps on the number of audiences allowed in live events currently (which differs from country to country). As to when the contribution from its live events business could return to pre-Covid levels, it will very much depend on the speed at which the virus is being contained, and also when border restrictions (as well as that surrounding the holding of live events) are being relaxed.

With that, I have come to the end of my review of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. I hope you’ve found the contents above useful, and before I end, a gentle reminder that everything that you’ve just read above are purely for educational purposes only. Please do your own due diligence before you engage in any investment decisions.

Disclaimer: At the time of writing, I am not a shareholder of World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.

Get Your Daily Dose of the Latest on US & SG-listed Companies (Updated Every Weekday)

Get Daily Updates on Companies Listed in the US and Singapore Stock Markets on The Singaporean Investor's Substack Page

Stay updated on the latest trends and developments for companies listed on the Singapore and US stock markets by visiting The Singaporean Investor's Substack page for daily updates. Check it out here...

 

Are You Worried about Not Having Enough Money for Retirement?

You're not alone. According to the OCBC Financial Wellness Index, only 62% of people in their 20s and 56% of people in their 30s are confident that they will have enough money to retire.

But there is still time to take action. One way to ensure that you have a comfortable retirement is to invest in real estate investment trusts (REITs).

In 'Building Your REIT-irement Portfolio' which I've authored, you will learn everything you need to know to build a successful REIT investment portfolio, including a list of 9 things to look at to determine whether a REIT is worthy of your investment, 1 simple method to help you maximise your returns from your REIT investment, 4 signs of 'red flags' to look out for and what you can do as a shareholder, and more!

Get Your Copy of building Your REIT-irement Portfolio Here

You can find out more about the book, and grab your copy (ebook or physical book) here...