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Discovery (DISCA) Lags Q2 Earnings, To Buy Scripps Networks

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Silver Spring, MD-based Discovery Communications, Inc. (DISCA - Free Report) posted a disappointing performance in the second quarter of 2017, missing earnings and revenue estimates. The company’s earnings (on an adjusted basis) of 68 cents per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 71 cents. Also, the bottom line contracted 4.23% on a year-over-year basis.

Discovery’s second-quarter revenues of $1,745 million improved 2.17% on a year-over-year basis, despite the adverse impact of foreign currency movement. However, revenues missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,764.4 million.

The increase in revenues witnessed in the U.S. Networks and International Networks units was somewhat mitigated by the dismal show of the Education and Other division. However, quarterly adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) increased 2% year over year.

Quarterly Performance

Revenues in the US Networks division rose 2% to $890 million. Segmental growth was driven by a 13% rise in Other revenues to $18 million. While Distribution revenues increased 4% to $400 million, revenues from Advertising sources were flat at $472 million. Also, adjusted OIBDA was up 4% year over year for the segment. Plus, adjusted OIBDA margin was 64% in the reported quarter compared with 62% a year ago.

In addition, International Networks revenues rose 3% to $811 million.  While Distribution revenues in the segment improved 7% to $457 million, Advertising revenues declined 3% to $333 million.  Revenues from Other sources were flat on a year-over-year basis at $21 million. Also, adjusted OIBDA decreased 4% on a year-over-year basis. Adjusted OIBDA margin slid to 29% compared with 31% a year ago.

However, revenues from the Education and Other division fell 4% to $44 million. This decline was primarily due to the impact of sale of the Raw and Betty production studios of the company.

Discovery Communications, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise


Discovery Communications, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Discovery Communications, Inc. Quote


The company exited the second quarter of 2017 with cash and cash equivalents of $206 million and $8,158 million of debt (non-current portion) compared with $300 million and $7, 841 million, respectively, at the end of 2016. During the quarter under review, the company shelled out $301 million on share buybacks.

Other Development

Apart from disclosing financial results, Discovery announced that it will buy Scripps Networks in a cash and stock deal worth $14.6 billion (inclusive of the assumption of Scripps’ net debt of approximately $2.7 billion). The deal is projected to close early next year, expecting savings worth $350 million.

The merged entity will cater to nearly 20% of the ad-supported pay-TV audiences in the U.S. The acquisition on completion is likely to substantially expand Discovery’s product portfolio, plus boost its earnings (adjusted) as well as free cash flow in the first year following closure. Besides, the shareholders of Discovery and Scripps will own 80% and 20% of the combined entity.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Discovery currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the broader Consumer Discretionary sector are Sky plc (SKYAY - Free Report) and Gray Television, Inc. (GTN - Free Report) , each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Shares of Sky and Gray Television have gained over 3% and 37%, respectively, on a year-to-date basis.

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