LOS ANGELES — The Walt Disney Company will report fiscal first-quarter results after the bell Wednesday as its board battles again with activist investor Nelson Peltz and Blackwells Capital.
The media behemoth will also post earnings a day after it announced its sports network ESPN would partner with Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery to launch a joint sports streaming service later this year.
In the past few months, the House of Mouse has been steadily addressing investor concerns over streaming losses and its slumping share price. The company has started to crack down on password sharing for its streaming services, like Netflix has done, increased its cost-cutting measures by $2 billion to a target of $7.5 billion and unveiled plans to invest roughly $60 billion in its already lucrative parks business.
Disney stock has climbed nearly 9% this year.
Here is what analysts expect from Disney’s fiscal first-quarter report, according to LSEG, formerly known as Refinitiv:
- Earnings per share: 99 cents expected
- Revenue: $23.64 billion expected
While Peltz ended a previous proxy battle against Disney a year ago after the company committed to numerous cost-cutting initiatives, he revived his fight last fall, looking to shake up the board and earn himself and former Disney Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo a seat.
Peltz has cited the company’s stock plunge, a drop in consensus earnings estimates and disappointing studio content as he has pushed for a board shake-up.
CEO Bob Iger has publicly addressed Disney’s theatrical release woes and vowed to rely less on sequels and more on fresh, quality films. Of course, production timelines are often in the ballpark of 18 months, so Disney’s box office haul likely will not change until 2025 or 2026. At that point, Disney is slated to release four mega blockbusters: an Avatar film, two Star Wars features and an Avengers team-up flick.
Also of note to investors is this is the second quarter that Disney is using its new financial reporting structure, which segmented the company into three divisions: entertainment, sports and experiences. Entertainment contains all of Disney’s streaming and media operations, sports includes ESPN and experiences includes the company’s theme parks, hotels, cruise line and merchandising efforts.
Tune in: CNBC’s Julia Boorstin is set to interview Disney CEO Bob Iger at 4:05 p.m. ET on “Closing Bell: Overtime.”