Madison Square Garden (NYSE:MSG) scored a stronger-than-expected 40% leap in fiscal fourth-quarter profits, but shares of the parent of the New York Knicks and Rangers retreated Friday morning.
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MSG, which is also the parent of its namesake arena and Radio City Music Hall, said it earned $32.7 million, or 42 cents a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $23.4 million, or 32 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts had called for EPS of 42 cents.
Revenue increased 5% to $432.7 million, surpassing consensus calls for $435.41 million. Operating margins increased to 12.1% from 10.7%.
MSG, which owns cable sports network MSG Network, said its media revenue jumped 12.1% to $144.1 million. Entertainment revenue inched up 0.3% to $177.5 million, while its sports revenue increased 4.1% to $128.7 million.
“We achieved the highest level of [adjusted operating cash flow] in Madison Square Garden's history, a reflection of our strategy to use our unique assets across media, entertainment and sports to generate enhanced returns,” CEO Hank Ratner said in a statement. “We also commenced the much anticipated transformation project to turn The World's Most Famous Arena into the world's most state-of-the-art arena."
Despite the stronger-than-expected results, Miller Tabak downgraded MSG to “neutral” from “buy.”
MSG, which completed its spin-off from Cablevision this year, saw its shares retreat 6.47% to $27.78 Friday morning, trimming its 2011 gain to 15%. Even with that pullback, the stock has soared nearly 50% over the past year.