WWE released the following today:
WWE® Reports Record 2021 Results and 2022 Business Outlook
Fourth Quarter 2021 Highlights
– Revenue increased 30% to $310.3 million
– Operating profit increased 131% to $83.6 million
– Adjusted OIBDA1 increased 90% to $97.2 million
– Capital returned to shareholders totaling $59.0 million, including share buybacks and dividends paid
Highlights of the year 2021
– Revenue increased 12% to $1.095 billion, the highest in company history
– Operating profit increased 24% to $259.0 million
– Adjusted OIBDA1 increased 14% to a record $327.1 million
– Launched WWE Network content on Peacock, NBCU’s streaming service in the United States, delivering wider audiences and increasing viewership for premium live shows, original series and the extensive WWE library
– Announcing a new strategy for premium live events, which focuses on hosting these events in stadiums rather than arenas, and uses targeted dates to maximize WWE’s live viewership potential
– Concluding consumer product deals, including partnerships with Blockchain Creative Labs (Fox) to launch an NFT marketplace and with Panini to be the exclusive supplier of WWE trading cards
– Created the Next in Line program to recruit the next generation of WWE Superstars, which launched with 16 college athletes, including Olympic Gold Medalist Gable Steveson
– Capital returned to shareholders totaling $202.0 million, including share buybacks and dividends paid
2022 Business Outlook
The company outlines its 2022 expectations, which assume paid audiences at the company’s live events throughout the year, and target record revenues and an adjusted OIBDA range of $360-375 million, which would be an absolute record. This expected performance range reflects the continued ramp-up of live events, including large-scale international events, and increased monetization of content, partially offset by increased production, content spend and other expenses.
Management believes that WWE is well positioned to capitalize on significant future opportunities. In 2022, key initiatives that could have significant implications for long-term growth include licensing of WWE Network in international markets, monetization of new original series, licensing of Raw second window rights , further progress in sponsorship sales and continued execution of WWE’s stadium strategy for premium live events.
STAMFORD, Conn., February 3, 2022 – WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2021.
“In 2021, we reached a significant milestone of over $1 billion in revenue, for the first time in the company’s history. We ended the year with strong performances in each of our business segments. activity that reflect broader audience engagement with distribution on new digital platforms, including Peacock, and fan feedback at our live events,” said Vince McMahon, President and CEO of WWE. . “We expect the execution of key initiatives over the coming year, such as the licensing of network content in international markets, the monetization of new original series and the continued shift to a stadium strategy for WWE’s premium live events, will further expand the reach of our brands and add value to our content.
Frank Riddick, WWE Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, added: “For the year, we achieved record revenues and an adjusted OIBDA, which exceeded the top of our guidance. Adjusted OIBDA increased 14%, reflecting higher revenues and profits from network programming distribution on Peacock, contractually increased rights fees for our flagship shows, Raw and SmackDown, and audiences returning paying at our live events. In 2022, we forecast an adjusted OIBDA of $360 million to $375 million, reflecting the full year performance of our paid live events as well as increased content production and monetization.
Consolidated fourth quarter results
Income increased 30% to $310.3 million, primarily due to the impact of a large-scale international event as well as higher ticket and merchandise sales resulting from the return to paid live events, which began in July 2021.
Operating result increased by 131%, or $47.4 million, to $83.6 million, due to the impact of the Company’s large-scale international event and, to a lesser extent, the return to other paid live events, which was partially offset by an increase in incentive compensation for management compensation costs associated with improved operational performance of the Company. The company’s operating profit margin increased from 15% to 27%.
Adjusted OIBDA (which excludes stock-based compensation) increased by 90%, or $46.0 million, to $97.2 million. The company’s adjusted OIBDA margin increased from 21% to 31%.
Net revenue was $63.9 million, or $0.76 per diluted share, an increase from $13.6 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, primarily reflecting higher operating performance. The results for the fourth quarter of 2021 also reflect a $5.2 million after-tax gain from the reduction of leased space as part of a lease amendment for the company’s new headquarters in Stamford. Results for the fourth quarter of 2020 reflect a $5.8 million after-tax loss related to certain equity investments and $1.0 million in after-tax severance benefits resulting from reduced force due to COVID -19. Excluding these items, adjusted net income3 was $58.7 million, or $0.70 per diluted share, compared to $20.4 million, or $0.24 per diluted share.
Cash flow generated by operating activities were $42.3 million, a decrease from $62.4 million, as higher net earnings were more than offset by lower non-cash adjustments, as well as the timing of recoveries associated with events large-scale international ones.
Free movement of capital was $27.5 million, a decrease from $56.2 million, primarily due to the change in cash flow from operations and, to a lesser extent, an increase in capital expenditures4.
Return of capital to shareholders
The Company returned $59.0 million to shareholders in the fourth quarter of 2021, including $50.0 million in share buybacks and $9.0 million in dividends paid. Under the Company’s existing share buyback program, approximately 1.0 million shares were repurchased at an average price of $50.73 per share.
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