WWE Stock Plummets to $40 Per Share

It’s been as high as $100 in the past year


WWE stock sunk sub-$40 per share in premarket trading Thursday, following the pro-wrestling company’s release of Q4 and full-year 2019 financials. When the U.S. market opened at 9:30 a.m. ET, WWE stock was at $40.24 per share.

That’s down 18% from the $49 per share the company’s stock closed at Wednesday afternoon, which had been up $1.64 from where it opened that morning.

It’s been a rough week for WWE stock, which has gone as high as $100 per share in the past year.

Last Thursday, the company parted ways with co-presidents George Barrios and Michelle Wilson and shareholders panicked, with stock plummeting 20% in after-hours trading. At that time, shares were selling for less than $50 apiece — just four days after WWE’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view event.

Before the stock market opened this morning, WWE reported it beat fourth-quarter 2019 earnings estimates but missed on revenue expectations, despite reaching a record high thanks to its big “SmackDown” on Fox deal.

Wall Street forecast earnings per share (EPS) of 73 cents on $333.28 million in revenue, according to a consensus estimate compiled by Yahoo Finance. WWE actually reported EPS of 78 cents on $322.8 million in revenue for Q4 — an 18% increase in revenue over the prior year’s comparable quarter — which is the highest quarterly revenue in the company’s history.

During Q4, WWE Network’s average paid subscribers dropped 10% to 1.42 million. That’s slightly lower than the company’s 1.43 million subscriber projection.

Fewer live events led to a decline in North American ticket sales, though there was a slight bump in international sales, primarily due to the increased average ticket price for those events. Consumer products also declined as video game “WWE 2K20” was very poorly received.

“During the fourth quarter, we expanded the reach of WWE’s live programming and further engaged with diverse audiences across platforms and formats,” WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon said in a statement Thursday. “We believe the value of live sports will continue to increase, particularly in today’s evolving media landscape, and we are well positioned to take advantage of this trend to maximize the value of our content.”

Frank Riddick, WWE’s interim chief financial officer, added: “For the year, we achieved record revenue and Adjusted OIBDA. However, with the delay in completing a Middle East distribution agreement as well as lower business performance than anticipated, our results were at the low-end of guidance. As we work to strengthen engagement in 2020, we are pursuing several strategic initiatives that could increase the monetization of our content, including the distribution of content in the Middle East and India as well as strategic alternatives for our direct-to-consumer service, WWE Network. Excluding the potential impact of these initiatives, we expect significant revenue growth based on the full year impact of our new content distribution agreements in the U.S. and anticipate Adjusted OIBDA of $250 to $300 million. Management believes it has the potential to exceed this range, but is unable to provide additional guidance at this time.”

McMahon and other WWE executives will host a conference call at 11 a.m. ET to discuss the quarter and full year in greater detail.