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JPMorgan Sees 20% Upside For WWE, Multiple 2019 Catalysts

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JPMorgan Sees 20% Upside For WWE, Multiple 2019 Catalysts
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Analyst: WWE's Big Run Will Continue

For the second time in a week, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: WWE) received some major love from Wall Street.

The Analyst

JPMorgan analyst Dan Karnovsky upgraded WWE from Neutral to Overweight and raised his price target from $84 to $87.

The Thesis

Karnovsky said the roughly 26-percent pullback from all-time highs in recent weeks was an excellent buying opportunity for long-term WWE investors. He said after a huge run this year, the stock is still trading at a modest valuation premium to its historical levels, but there's a fundamental explanation for that premium.

“WWE has greater visibility into multi-year OIBDA growth and capital returns, driven by step-ups and escalators on US TV contracts, with upside from international agreements, mainly in India,” he wrote.

India renewals were the primary reason Guggenheim analyst Curry Baker reiterated his Buy rating for WWE earlier this week and raised his price target from $100 to $105.

Karnovsky said declines in live attendance and merchandise sales may be driving some of WWE’s recent weakness, but he says the upcoming shift of "Smackdown Live" to Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ: FOX) (NASDAQ: FOXA) will likely be a bullish catalyst for the stock.

Near-term positive catalysts in 2019 include the India renewal, re-tiering of the WWE Network, updated long-term guidance, and potential capital return increases. In the longer term, Karnovsky said higher returns on the WWE Network, the addition of new sponsors and any new partnership contents will also help drive revenue growth.

Price Action

WWE traded higher by 5.4 percent Friday to $76.05 per share and is now up 148.5 percent year-to-date.

Related Links:

Guggenheim Raises WWE Price Target Ahead Of India Deal

Guggenheim: WWE's 'Mixed Match Challenge' Partnership With Facebook Is Paying Off

Photo credit: Miguel Discart, Flickr

Latest Ratings for WWE

DateFirmActionFromTo
Dec 2018Loop CapitalInitiates Coverage OnHold
Nov 2018JP MorganUpgradesNeutralOverweight
Oct 2018Morgan StanleyMaintainsOverweightOverweight

View More Analyst Ratings for WWE
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Posted-In: Dan Karnovsky India JPMorgan Smackdown LiveAnalyst Color Upgrades Price Target Analyst Ratings Best of Benzinga

 

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