Another Mixed Quarter for Fox
Affiliate fee growth remains strong for the wide-moat firm.
Fox (FOX) reported a mixed fiscal third quarter as revenue came in line with the Street projection, but EBITDA fell slightly short of consensus estimates due to weakness at the studio business. As expected, management did not discuss the rumors surrounding a possible hostile bid by Comcast for its media assets but did disclose that Disney and Fox filed a preliminary proxy with the SEC three weeks ago.
We maintain our wide moat rating and our fair value estimate of $43. As a reminder, our fair value estimate is probability weighted with a 75% chance that the merger closes. We currently value the combined entity at $46 per share, which represents 0.2745 shares of Disney at our standalone Disney fair value estimate of $130, plus our estimated $10 fair value estimate for the remaining stub company. If the deal was to collapse, our standalone fair value for the firm is $35.
Quarterly revenue was down 2% versus a year ago to $7.4 billion due to a tough comp, as Fox had the Super Bowl last year. Excluding the Super Bowl, revenue grew by 4%, driven by strong improvement at cable (up 17%), which more than offset the declines at filmed entertainment (down 23%). The cable segment benefited from 10% domestic affiliate fee growth as Fox continues to drive fee growth at its core brands while expanding the sub base of its newer channels. Domestic advertising revenue improved by 3%, as the strength at Fox News more than offset the impact of fewer originals on FX. International cable continues to expand with 9% revenue growth, driven primarily by the improvement in affiliate fees (up 14%). While a large portion of revenue and profit from the domestic cable division will remain at Fox (Fox News and FS1), Disney (or Comcast) will capture all of the benefit from Fox’s large investment in expanding its international cable business. EBITDA margin for the cable segment improved by 217 basis points to 38.1% as revenue growth more than offset the increased programming and marketing costs.
Morningstar Premium Members gain exclusive access to our full analyst reports, including fair value estimates, bull and bear breakdowns, and risk analyses. Not a Premium Member? Get this and other reports immediately when you try Morningstar Premium free for 14 days.
Neil Macker does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.
Transparency is how we protect the integrity of our work and keep empowering investors to achieve their goals and dreams. And we have unwavering standards for how we keep that integrity intact, from our research and data to our policies on content and your personal data.
We’d like to share more about how we work and what drives our day-to-day business.
We sell different types of products and services to both investment professionals and individual investors. These products and services are usually sold through license agreements or subscriptions. Our investment management business generates asset-based fees, which are calculated as a percentage of assets under management. We also sell both admissions and sponsorship packages for our investment conferences and advertising on our websites and newsletters.
How we use your information depends on the product and service that you use and your relationship with us. We may use it to:
To learn more about how we handle and protect your data, visit our privacy center.
Maintaining independence and editorial freedom is essential to our mission of empowering investor success. We provide a platform for our authors to report on investments fairly, accurately, and from the investor’s point of view. We also respect individual opinions––they represent the unvarnished thinking of our people and exacting analysis of our research processes. Our authors can publish views that we may or may not agree with, but they show their work, distinguish facts from opinions, and make sure their analysis is clear and in no way misleading or deceptive.
To further protect the integrity of our editorial content, we keep a strict separation between our sales teams and authors to remove any pressure or influence on our analyses and research.
Read our editorial policy to learn more about our process.