A few days ago, I wrote that media conglomerate Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX) looked like a solid money-making opportunity with its proposed AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) merger facing some scrutiny. And since that time, a lot has happened — but not to TWX’s stock price. Despite the fact that the trial has moved forward seemingly in TWX’s favor and that the firm beat earnings estimates, Time Warner Inc stock held fairly steady near $96 per share before dipping slightly to $94 this morning. That means if you were mulling over a buy but wanted to see what the company’s earnings held, the opportunity still exists.
Time Warner reported its first-quarter earnings on Thursday before the bell. And although the results beat analysts’ expectations, they failed to give the stock any kind of momentum in pre-market trade.
That’s fair though. The results themselves weren’t anything to write home about.
TWX Earnings Recap
The company reported EPS of $2.07 on revenue of $8 billion, a sizable jump from the same quarter last year when the firm reported EPS of $1.80 on revenue of $7.7 billion.
TWX CEO Jeff Bewkes was upbeat about the figures saying, “We’re off to a strong start to 2018 and we remain on track to meet the financial goals we laid out at the beginning of the year, as we continue to execute our strategic objectives, including investing in and delivering the most compelling content to audiences around the globe and across platforms.”
The firm’s Turner and CNN networks continued to be successful in the first quarter with CNN ranking as the number one news network among the coveted 18-34 year old demographic. HBO also had a strong performance with it’s Westworld series seeing a 13% bump in viewers for the second season premier.
However, not everything came up roses for TWX- the company’s Warner Bros business saw revenue decline 4% to $3.2 billion. The firm said that both TV and theatrical revenues took a hit- both were hit with tough comparisons from the previous year.
What About AT&T?
The real issue on everyone’s mind during TWX’s results was whether or not the firm is anticipating its planned merge with AT&T to go ahead. Bewkes didn’t give investors any information outside of what’s already been reported saying, “We look forward to the resolution of the legal challenge to our pending merger with AT&T and remain excited about the benefits of the merger, such as the potential to further strengthen our businesses by accelerating our innovation and increasing our ability to connect more directly with consumers.”
Although the AT&T merger wasn’t at the forefront of the firm’s Q1 results, it still plays a huge role in the case to buy TWX stock. If the deal goes ahead, Time Warner investors stand to gain more than 10% based on AT&T’s bid of $107.50. However, the deal is still up in the air as the Department of Justice tries to prove that the deal would be harmful to the industry and consumers in an ongoing trial.
While several mega-mergers have been tabled by regulators in recent months, the AT&T TWX tie up doesn’t look like its going to be one of them. So far reports about the trial show that evidence backing up the DOJ’s case looks thin at best.
However, even in the case that the deal is ultimately blocked, TWX won’t be left for dead. The stock will likely take a beating as investors initially digest the news, but the firm has enough financial strength to carry on and possibly climb even higher than the AT&T deal valued it at. Looking at the firm’s Q1 results should reassure investors that TWX is strong enough to go it alone should the deal fall through.
The Bottom line
Time Warner’s Q1 earnings were solid and the fact that they haven’t done much to move the needle on TWX stock means there’s still a buying opportunity there.
The company is definitely facing headwinds, especially if its AT&T merger isn’t successful. But TWX’s strong networks and popular franchises should be enough to keep the company going while it creates a new future roadmap without AT&T.
At just $94 per share currently, TWX has a lot of upside potential and deserves some consideration.
As of this writing, Laura Hoy was long TWX.