WWE reports second quarter 2023 financial results

WWE sent out the following press release…

Second Quarter 2023 Highlights

Revenue was $410.3 million, an increase of 25% and a quarterly record; Operating income was $87.3 million, an increase of 26%; and Adjusted OIBDA1 was $140.7 million, an increase of 54% and a quarterly record

Returned $9.8 million of capital to shareholders through dividend payments

Viewership for WWE’s weekly flagship programs, SmackDown and Raw, increased 26% and 19%, respectively, in the P18-49 demo, significantly outperforming overall broadcast and cable television, which both declined 12%

Each WWE premium live event (WrestleMania, Backlash and Night of Champions) set global unique viewership records with year-over-year increases of 29%, 34% and 45%, respectively

Live Events revenue increased 51% over the prior year period, reflecting continued strong demand for domestic and international events. North American Live Event average attendance was 9,870, an increase of 45% and a quarterly record

In July, Money in the Bank was held at The O2 in London. Money in the Bank was WWE’s highest- grossing arena event in company history. Money in the Bank also set new records for viewership, sponsorship revenue, merchandise revenue and social media activity

WWE and Endeavor Transaction Highlights

As previously disclosed, on April 3, 2023, WWE and Endeavor announced an agreement to combine WWE and UFC to form a new, publicly listed company. The new company will be named “TKO Group Holdings, Inc.”

As previously disclosed, in June 2023, the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, expired. In addition, all required foreign regulatory approvals were obtained during the second quarter

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2023. The transaction is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions

2023 Business Outlook

The Company reaffirms its expectations for 2023, which target record revenue and an Adjusted OIBDA range of $395 to $410 million, which would be an all-time record

STAMFORD, Conn., August 1, 2023 – WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced financial results for its second quarter ended June 30, 2023.

“We generated strong financial results in the quarter, highlighted by record quarterly revenue and Adjusted OIBDA. Operationally, we continue to effectively execute our strategy, including staging the most successful WrestleMania of all time in early April. WrestleMania, as well as our other premium live events such as Backlash, Night of Champions and Money in the Bank all delivered record viewership. Our weekly flagship programs, Raw, SmackDown and NXT, delivered strong double-digit growth in viewership, significantly outpacing overall industry performance,” said Nick Khan, WWE Chief Executive Officer. “Strategically, in early April, we entered into a historic agreement with Endeavor to combine WWE with UFC to create a one-of-a-kind global sports and entertainment company. We believe that bringing these two iconic and highly complementary brands together will allow us to create incremental value for our shareholders.”

Frank Riddick, WWE President & Chief Financial Officer, added “In the quarter, we exceeded the high end of our guidance. Adjusted OIBDA was $141 million on revenue of $410 million. Our financial performance was favorably impacted by a shift in the timing of the staging of a large-scale international event. Our results in the quarter also reflected strong consumer demand for our live events, which benefited performance across our various lines of business.”

Second-Quarter Consolidated Results

Revenue increased 25%, or $82.1 million, to $410.3 million, primarily due to the timing of the staging of a large-scale international event, an increase in revenue related to the media rights fees for the Company’s premium live events and flagship weekly programming, and higher live events revenue.

Operating Incomeincreased 26%, or $18.0 million, to $87.3 million, reflecting the increase in revenue partially offset by an increase in operating expenses. The increase in operating expenses primarily reflected an increase in content creation costs, including the timing of a large-scale international event, and the impact of certain costs related to the Company’s strategic alternatives review and recently announced agreement with Endeavor. (See the “WWE and Endeavor Transaction” discussion for further details.) The Company’s operating income margin increased to 22% from 21%.

Adjusted OIBDAincreased 54%, or $49.2 million, to $140.7 million. The Company’s Adjusted OIBDA margin increased to 34% from 28%.

Net Incomewas $52.0 million, or $0.67 per diluted share, an increase from $49.0 million, or $0.58 per diluted share, primarily reflecting the increase in operating performance partially offset by an increase in the Company’s effective tax rate.

Cash flows generated by operating activities were $77.0 million, an increase from $56.9 million, primarily due to higher net income and lower working capital requirements.

Free Cash Flow3was $31.1 million, an increase of $21.7 million from $9.4 million, primarily due to the increase in cash flows generated by operating activities. For the three months ended June 30, 2023, the Company incurred $31.7 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 June 30, 2023 was $62.8 million.

Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investmentswere $523.8 million as of June 30, 2023. The Company currently estimates debt capacity under its revolving line of credit of $200 million.