MGM sees the market’s skittishness about media as an opportunity to buy its own privately traded shares, which it considers undervalued. The studio told lenders and others today in a conference call that since the end of Q2 it has repurchased about 700,000 of its shares.
The studio had a relatively quiet quarter ahead of a potential windfall when it releases the latest James Bond film, Spectre, due in the U.S. in November.
In Q2 the company generated $37.0 million in net income, down 9.1% vs the period last year, on revenues of $272.3 million, down 13.1%. Overseas sales might be hurt by the strong dollar.
Still, although overseas sales might be hurt by the strong dollar, MGM raised guidance for the company’s cash flow (EBITDA) saying that it likely will grow by a mid single digit percentage this year vs a previous forecast for low single digit growth.
Theatrical revenues fell nearly 69% to $1.1 million because “we did not recognize a substantial portion of the theatrical revenue for Hot Pursuit, Poltergeist or Max.”
Home entertainment was hit especially hard by the strong dollar, contributing to a 36.9% revenue decline to $85 million. Last year’s releases included RoboCop. The studio also has a “strategic moratorium” on James Bond releases to help a promotion planned for Spectre.
Meanwhile TV licensing revenues were up 15% in the quarter to $159.6 million with Skyfall making its first appearance on U.S. broadcast TV and continued licensing of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Its 55% investment in United Artists Media Group — a joint venture with Mark Burnett, Roma Downey and Hearst Productions — netted $14.8 million in the first six months of this year.
MGM’s 19.1% stake in Epix — a JV with Paramount and Lionsgate — added $22.1 million in the six months.