WWE reports fourth quarter 2022 and record full year financial results
WWE announced the following…
Fourth Quarter 2022 Highlights
Revenue was $325.3 million, an increase of 5%; Operating income was $62.7 million, a decrease of 22%; and Adjusted OIBDA1 was $90.2 million, a decrease of 4%
Returned $8.9 million of capital to shareholders through dividend payments
Crown Jewel was the most viewed international event in WWE’s history. Domestic unique viewership on Peacock increased 70% over the prior year event
Each WWE domestic premium live event (Extreme Rules and Survivor Series) was the most viewed event in its history with year-over-year increases of 36% and 46%, respectively, in domestic unique viewership
WWE announced a multi-year extension of its partnership with MultiChoice to expand the distribution of the Company’s content in Sub-Saharan Africa
In January 2023, WWE held Royal Rumble at the Alamodome in San Antonio, TX. The event was the most viewed Royal Rumble in WWE’s history, with a 52% year-over-year increase in domestic unique viewership, and generated the highest gate in the event’s history
Full Year 2022 Highlights
Revenue increased 18% to $1.3 billion, the highest in the Company’s history
Operating income increased 11% to a record $283.3 million
Adjusted OIBDA increased 19% to a record $384.6 million
Returned $75.7 million of capital to shareholders, including share repurchases and dividends paid
2023 Business Outlook
The Company is targeting Adjusted OIBDA of $395 to $410 million for the full year 2023, which would be an all-time record. The Company also expects to generate an all-time record for revenue in 2023.
STAMFORD, Conn., February 2, 2023 – WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced financial results for its fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2022.
“2022 was another strong year for WWE. We generated record financial results and our business continued to perform well due to the strength of our content and brand, which drove audience engagement and monetization across multiple platforms,” said Nick Khan, WWE Chief Executive Officer. “In 2023, we’re focused on continuing to execute on our key operational initiatives, such as the domestic licensing of our flagship programs, Raw and SmackDown, as well as the international licensing of our content in key markets. At the same time, we’re focused on the review of strategic alternatives that we announced earlier this year, with the goal of maximizing value for all shareholders.”
Frank Riddick, WWE President & Chief Financial Officer, added “For the year, we achieved record revenue and Adjusted OIBDA, which was at the very high end of our upwardly revised guidance range. In 2022, Adjusted OIBDA increased 19% reflecting 18% revenue growth. Our financial performance was primarily driven by the return to a full year of ticketed live events, including the staging of two large-scale international events, as well as the contractual escalation of rights fees for our flagship weekly programming and premium live events. In 2023, we anticipate Adjusted OIBDA of $395 to $410 million, reflecting continued revenue growth and relatively flat operating expenses.”
Fourth-Quarter Consolidated Results
Revenue increased 5% to $325.3 million, primarily due to an increase in network revenues related to the timing of premium live events as well as higher monetization of third-party original programming. These increases were partially offset by a decline in consumer products licensing and eCommerce revenue. Results also included the staging of a large-scale international event in both the current and prior year periods.
Operating Income decreased 22%, or $17.9 million, to $62.7 million, as the increase in revenue was offset by an increase in operating expenses. The increase in operating expenses was primarily driven by higher costs to support the creation of content. To a lesser extent, costs associated with the Special Committee investigation and related matters as well as higher stock compensation expense also contributed to the increase in operating expenses. (See the “Special Committee Investigation and Related Matters” discussion for further details.) The Company’s operating income margin decreased to 19% from 26%.
Adjusted OIBDA decreased 4% to $90.2 million. The Company’s Adjusted OIBDA margin decreased to 28% from 30%.
Net Income was $38.8 million, or $0.45 per diluted share, a decrease from $60.9 million, or $0.73 per diluted share, primarily reflecting the decrease in operating performance.
Cash flows generated by operating activities were $120.3 million, an increase from $46.6 million, as lower net income was more than offset by the favorable timing of collections associated with the Company’s large-scale international events.
Free Cash Flow was $43.0 million, an increase from $31.8 million, as the increase in cash flow generated by operating activities was partially offset by an increase in capital expenditures. For the three months ended December 31, 2022, the Company incurred $71.7 million of capital expenditures related to its new headquarter facility. Excluding the capital expenditures related to the new headquarter facility, Free Cash Flow for the three months ended December 31, 2022 was $114.7 million.
Return of Capital to Shareholders
The Company returned $8.9 million of capital to shareholders in dividends in the fourth quarter of 2022. There were no share repurchases under the Company’s existing stock repurchase program.