Lionsgate topped Wall Street estimates with strong results for its fiscal third quarter, as execs got set to field multiple questions from analysts on the quarterly earnings call about the company’s future in a consolidating media environment.
Total revenue reached $1.14 billion, up 52% from $752 million in the same period a year ago. Adjusted earnings per share of 48 cents breezed past analysts’ consensus estimate of 41 cents. Operating income came in at $80 million, while operating income before depreciation and amortization hit $178 million. The company reported free cash flow of $140 million in the quarter, and said it paid down $113 million of corporate debt.
The company has been mentioned in — and has not denied — scenarios concerning possible combinations with a re-unified CBS and Viacom or potentially related or unrelated rollups by Verizon or Amazon.
“Despite a disruptive operating environment, the quarter shows our success in creating premium content that cuts through the clutter of a crowded marketplace and our ability to supply it to a diverse array of media companies,” CEO Jon Feltheimer said in the press release announcing the numbers.
For now, Feltheimer and his team are focusing on ongoing operations and integrating Starz. The earnings release noted that the earnings for the quarter ending December 31 are being compared on a pro forma basis given the timing of the Starz close. Feltheimer and other execs will discuss the results with Wall Street analysts on a conference call at the top of the hour.
The Media Networks unit saw revenues increase 6% to $382.9 million, driven by higher OTT revenue growth and revenues from worldwide digital media licensing arrangements, offset in part by subscriber losses at “certain MVPDs.” (Starz and Altice’s Optimum cable system remain at an impasse — another likely topic on the conference call.) Profits in the unit rose 6% to $128.3 million.
Motion Picture revenues increased 14% to $539.1 million on strong box office from Wonder, which has brought in $131 million domestically. Profits on the movie side still drifted down to $54.3 million compared with $55.9 million in the year-ago quarter.
Television revenue also sagged slightly, to $227.3 million compared with $231 million a year ago, with decreased syndication licensing action getting the blame. Profits also dipped to $22.7 million compared to $27.5 million in the prior-year period.
The company reported a one-time benefit of $165 million from the new U.S. tax law enacted in December.