Disney (DIS): Is It Time to Buy?


It’s no secret, a large number of high-profile companies have taken a serious beating since the pandemic’s onset. Possibly none more well-known than Disney (DIS). COVID-19 has necessitated theme park closures, a halt of live film production, and a delayed movie release schedule – all resulting in last week’s crushing F2Q20 report.

Yet, Northland analyst Bernie McTernan argues that there are several reasons to remain positive on the House of Mouse.

Glimmers of hope were provided during the earnings call, as Disney announced it will reopen its Shanghai theme park next week on May 11. McTernan assumes that domestically, Disney’s parks will open in September. Nevertheless, the forced enclosures are set to impact the balance sheet for a while, and McTernan forecasts it will take “at least two years for Disney to generate the revenue/segment operating income they could have in FY’20.”

Disney has also taken emergency measures to preserve cash flow through the pandemic. The company has suspended the dividend, reduced capex and furloughed employees. Although drastic, in an environment which is likely resulting in negative FCF, McTernan believes the measures should “provide a margin of safety.”

“Importantly,” McTernan added, “We believe these levers can be switched back on when the operating environment begins to normalize.”

But there is another recent positive development for investors to consider. When Disney announced in April that the launch of its new streaming service Disney+ had exceeded expectations and already boasted 50 million global subscribers, the numbers took the Street by surprise. McTernan believes there’s more to come.

“We estimate Disney+ will reach 65M global subscribers by the end of September ’20E and attain profitability in FY’23E, a year earlier than originally guided… As cord cutting grows, Disney+ is the reason to own the stock,” McTernan opined.

To this end, McTernan keeps a Buy rating on Disney, along with a $130 price target, which implies nearly 20% upside from current levels. (To watch McTernan’s track record, click here)

And what abut the rest of the Street? Based on 11 Buy ratings, 10 Holds and 1 Sell, Disney has a Moderate Buy consensus rating. With an average price target of $120.35, the analysts expect upside of nearly 12% over the coming months. (See Disney stock analysis on TipRanks)

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