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Disney Invests $1.5B In Fortnite Owner Epic Games In ‘Biggest Ever’ Gaming Entry, Posts Q1 Earnings Beat, Revenue Miss

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On Wednesday, Disney also announced a $1.5 billion investment in leading video game company Epic Games. The investment in the owner of the popular Fortnite game is a substantial one for Disney in the gaming sector. The House of Mouse will work with the Fortnite studio on new games and an entertainment universe that includes content, characters and stories from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar and other franchises, the company said.

“This marks Disney’s biggest entry ever into the world of games and offers significant opportunities for growth and expansion. We can’t wait for fans to experience the Disney stories and worlds they love in groundbreaking new ways,” CEO Bob Iger said in a statement.

The company reported first-quarter earnings alongside the news of the Epic Games collaboration, and the highlights for investors are as follows:

Disney Q1 Earnings: Disney reported first-quarter revenue of $23.5 billion, which was flat compared to the prior year. The revenue total missed a Street consensus estimate of $23.6 billion, according to data from Benzinga Pro.

Adjusted earnings per share in the first quarter were $1.22, which beat a Street consensus estimate of 99 cents.

Revenue was reported as the following by segment, with year-over-year changes.

Entertainment: $9.98 billion, -7% year-over-year

Sports: $4.84 billion, +4%

Experiences: $9.13 billion, +7%

In the entertainment segment, revenue was as follows:

Linear: $2.8 billion, -12% year-over-year

DTC: $5.55 billion, +15%

Content Sales/Licensing: $1.63 billion, -38%

The company highlighted ongoing cost savings across business segments.

“We are on track to meet or exceed our $7.5 billion annualized savings target by the end of fiscal 2024, while we continue to look for further efficiency opportunities,” according to Disney’s statement.

The company is guiding for full-year earnings per share of $4.60, which would amount to a 20% year-over-year improvement.

A $3-billion buyback plan was approved by the Disney board for fiscal 2024. The company also declared a dividend of 45 cents per share, payable on July 25, to shareholders of record on July 8. The dividend represents a 50% increase from the previous payout.  

“Our strong performance this past quarter demonstrates we have turned the corner and entered a new era for our company,…

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