Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opened in late March with much anticipation. So who wins? The answer is clearly Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX.) The film brought in more than $400 million worldwide on just its opening weekend for the media and entertainment company. This release represents the best debut ever for a superhero movie. The blockbuster also teases additional characters from the DC Comics universe to set up future film installments for Time Warner to capitalize on. But despite its huge financial success, reviews for the film has been very mixed to say the least. According to Metacritic, which aggregates critics’ reviews, Batman v Superman has the same number of positive reviews as negative ones. And the reviewers’ consensus on Rotten Tomatoes is that the film “smothers a potentially powerful story — and some of America’s most iconic superheroes — in a grim whirlwind of effects-driven action.”
Nevertheless, if you happen to be a DC or Justice League fan then expect more movies like this in the future. DC has announced that it plans to develop nine more movies over the next five years. Besides the comic book franchise, Time Warner is also the owner of many well known multimedia businesses and brand, such as HBO, which usually wins a lot of awards. Also belonging to Time Warner is Turner Broadcasting System which includes Turner Sports, NASCAR Races, websites like NCAA.com, NBA.com, and other television channels like Cartoon Network, and Adult Swim. TWX also owns It also owns the CNN News Group, which includes CNN.com, CNN Money, and a number of other media outlets including Warner Bros. It’s also one of the largest publishers of video games in the U.S. with recently released hot titles like Mortal Kombat X and Batman: Arkham Knight. Both titles received generally positive reviews from game critics.
Last year Warner Bros. posted an operating profit to the tune of $1.4 billion, which was up 22% from the previous year. It’s revenue also increased 4% due to the success of its prime-time TV series such as Gotham, which runs on Fox, and The Big Bang Theory on CBS.
So in terms of exposure, Time Warner is well diversified in many aspects of the multi-billion dollar entertainment industry making it a compelling investment for investors looking to add some media stocks to their portfolio. TWX is trading at roughly 14 times its 2016 earnings. Some analysts predict the stock could hit $80 in a year which would represent a decent return of 25%. The Street’s consensus for 2017 earnings is $6.09/share which puts the forward P/E ratio at about 12.3 times the current price. According to the GordonReid Investment Counsel, Time Warner is committed to return profits to stakeholders. They expect it will make $8 of earnings per share in 2018, which is a very exciting prospect for investors.
In 2014 Time Warner was received an offer from 21st Century Fox (FOXA) to buy out TWX for $85 per share in a cash and stock deal. But Time Warner turned it down. “We’ve had eight years of excellent growth,” said Jeff Bewkes, the CEO of Time Warner. “The reason we haven’t been interested in a deal is we’re outperforming.”
TWX is already up about 15% since the beginning of the year, including dividends. That is a pretty good return so far but it still has room to grow. Admittedly it is not a cheap stock to buy right now. But with a confident executive team and continuing growth in the film and video game industry I would consider Time Warner to be a good buy-and-hold candidate for a long term investment strategy.
This author is long 13 shares TWX as of writing this article.