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Disney Profit Up Sharply, Aided by Its Major Units

Earnings: Revenue surges 83% to $5.1 billion. Company's broadcast and theme park businesses are particularly strong.

July 26, 1996|From Reuters

Walt Disney Co. reported sharply higher fiscal third-quarter profit Thursday, aided by double-digit improvements in all three of its major businesses.

The world's largest entertainment company earned $406 million, or 59 cents a share, in the three months ended June 30, up 28% from $318 million, or 60 cents a share, a year ago.

The per-share profit reflects a sharp increase in the number of shares outstanding that stemmed from Burbank-based Disney's acquisition of Capital Cities/ABC Inc. earlier this year.

Revenue surged 83%, to $5.1 billion from $2.8 billion.

"We have made significant strides in combining Disney and Capital Cities, and as we go forward, we see more and more ways in which we plan to capitalize on our respective strengths," Disney President Michael Ovitz said in a statement.

The results were in line with Wall Street's expectations.

Industry analysts said Disney's broadcast and theme park businesses were particularly strong during the quarter, while its Creative Content unit was hurt by several disappointing live-action films, including "Last Dance," with Sharon Stone, and "Celtic Pride."

Creative Content, which includes live-action and animated films, reported operating income of $297 million for the quarter, up 13% from the year-ago pro forma results but about $40 million less than some analysts had expected.

The disappointing live-action results were slightly offset by higher revenue from films such as "The Rock" and domestic home video releases of "The Aristocats" and "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh."

"The Hunchback of Notre Dame," which opened in late June, provided a slight lift.

Revenue from Disney's Broadcasting unit rose 7% in the quarter, and operating income grew 19%, reflecting higher advertising revenue at all-sports cable channel ESPN and cost cutting at the ABC television network.

Its theme park and resort revenues increased 9%, and operating income grew 14%, Disney said.

Disney shares closed unchanged at $54.375 on the NYSE.

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