Disney Hits Q4 Earnings Target, Annual Profit Grows 13%

ESPN and theme parks power Disney in its fourth quarter 

ESPN and theme parks powered Disney in the fourth fiscal quarter of 2012, as the media conglomerate hit analyst expectations for earnings per share on the dot at $0.68.

Disney fell short on the revenue side, netting $10.78 billion when analysts expected $10.92 billion.

Also read: Will the Force Be With Disney’s $4B 'Star Wars' Gamble?

For the year, Disney posted year-over-year growth, earning $9.96 billion in segment operating income — 13 percent higher than last year.

Net income rose 14 percent to $1.2 billion in the quarter.

The theme parks division gained from passengers spending more time on Disney cruise ships plus a boost in attendance at theme parks in Hong Kong, California and Paris, the company said.

Disney released results shortly after its Oct. 30 announcement that it had agreed to buy filmmaker George Lucas's Lucasfilm and its "Star Wars" franchise for $4.05 billion in cash and stock. The company promised at least three new "Star Wars" films, starting with Episode 7 in 2015.

Shares of the company dropped 2 percent on Thursday in after-hours trading to $49. Earlier, shares closed at $50.04 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Morningstar analyst Michael Corty said Disney produced "another solid quarter" particularly with its cable networks business, though revenue was below what some analysts expected.

"Disney has so many good things going for it that any weakness in the stock would be a buying opportunity," he said.