from Devin Cutting:
WWE(R) Reports 2009 Fourth Quarter Results
For the Year, Net Income Increases 11%
STAMFORD, Conn., Feb 11, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:WWE) today announced financial results for its fourth quarter ended December 31, 2009. Revenues totaled $117.3 million as compared to $125.4 million in the prior year quarter. Operating income was $17.8 million as compared to $23.3 million in the prior year quarter. Net income was $11.2 million, or $0.15 per share, as compared to $13.6 million, or $0.18 per share, in the prior year quarter.
“We concluded a strong year with solid performance in the fourth quarter, which was highlighted by 7% growth in Adjusted EBITDA. For the quarter, we generated revenue growth and improved margins in our live event, pay-per-view, and television businesses,” stated Vince McMahon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “For the full year, we achieved a 13% increase in Adjusted EBITDA. The results reflected the significant improvements we have made in productivity and a heightened fiscal discipline, which we intend to sustain going forward. The increased operating leverage we have established will enable us to drive greater profits as revenue growth returns. We are confident in our ability to achieve our targeted earnings growth.” The WWE business outlook targets average annual earnings growth of 15% to 20% over the 2009-12 period.
Comparability of Results
Excluding items that impact comparability, Q4 2009 Adjusted Operating income increased 9% to $18.4 million and Adjusted EBITDA increased 7% to $21.9 million from $16.9 million and $20.5 million, respectively, in Q4 2008. The Q4 2009 results include a charge of $6.4 million associated with the write-down of the receivable due from a prior business partner. This was partially offset by $5.8 million of tax credits received related to our television and digital media production activities, which were recorded as a reduction of expense in these areas. The Q4 2008 results include the recognition of a $6.4 million advance related to a multi-year contract with a book publisher. (See Schedule of Adjustments in Supplemental Information)
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