It's only natural that many investors, especially those who are new to the game, prefer to buy shares in 'sexy' stocks with a good story, even if those businesses lose money. But as Warren Buffett has mused, 'If you've been playing poker for half an hour and you still don't know who the patsy is, you're the patsy.' When they buy such story stocks, investors are all too often the patsy.
In contrast to all that, I prefer to spend time on companies like World Wrestling Entertainment (NYSE:WWE), which has not only revenues, but also profits. Now, I'm not saying that the stock is necessarily undervalued today; but I can't shake an appreciation for the profitability of the business itself. While a well funded company may sustain losses for years, unless its owners have an endless appetite for subsidizing the customer, it will need to generate a profit eventually, or else breathe its last breath.
How Fast Is World Wrestling Entertainment Growing?
If you believe that markets are even vaguely efficient, then over the long term you'd expect a company's share price to follow its earnings per share (EPS). That makes EPS growth an attractive quality for any company. I, for one, am blown away by the fact that World Wrestling Entertainment has grown EPS by 58% per year, over the last three years. That sort of growth never lasts long, but like a shooting star it is well worth watching when it happens.
One way to double-check a company's growth is to look at how its revenue, and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) margins are changing. This approach makes World Wrestling Entertainment look pretty good, on balance; although revenue is flattish, EBIT margins improved from 12% to 23% in the last year. That's a real positive.
The trick, as an investor, is to find companies that are going to perform well in the future, not just in the past. To that end, right now and today, you can check our visualization of consensus analyst forecasts for future World Wrestling Entertainment EPS 100% free.
Are World Wrestling Entertainment Insiders Aligned With All Shareholders?
Many consider high insider ownership to be a strong sign of alignment between the leaders of a company and the ordinary shareholders. So we're pleased to report that World Wrestling Entertainment insiders own a meaningful share of the business. Actually, with 41% of the company to their names, insiders are profoundly invested in the business. I'm always comforted by solid insider ownership like this, as it implies that those running the business are genuinely motivated to create shareholder value. And their holding is extremely valuable at the current share price, totalling US$1.8b. That means they have plenty of their own capital riding on the performance of the business!
It means a lot to see insiders invested in the business, but I find myself wondering if remuneration policies are shareholder friendly. A brief analysis of the CEO compensation suggests they are. For companies with market capitalizations between US$2.0b and US$6.4b, like World Wrestling Entertainment, the median CEO pay is around US$5.1m.
The World Wrestling Entertainment CEO received US$3.5m in compensation for the year ending . That seems pretty reasonable, especially given its below the median for similar sized companies. CEO remuneration levels are not the most important metric for investors, but when the pay is modest, that does support enhanced alignment between the CEO and the ordinary shareholders. It can also be a sign of a culture of integrity, in a broader sense.
Does World Wrestling Entertainment Deserve A Spot On Your Watchlist?
World Wrestling Entertainment's earnings per share growth have been levitating higher, like a mountain goat scaling the Alps. The sweetener is that insiders have a mountain of stock, and the CEO remuneration is quite reasonable. The sharp increase in earnings could signal good business momentum. World Wrestling Entertainment certainly ticks a few of my boxes, so I think it's probably well worth further consideration. You still need to take note of risks, for example - World Wrestling Entertainment has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.
Of course, you can do well (sometimes) buying stocks that are not growing earnings and do not have insiders buying shares. But as a growth investor I always like to check out companies that do have those features.