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WWE's annual shareholders meeting: a nightmare for shrewd investors

WWE's annual shareholders meeting was held on Friday April 26th, 2013 and proved to be a nightmare for investors who were already skeptical about the company's optimism about their long planned WWE Network. Once again no new plans were revealed.

"No more questions about the WWE Network please. Just trust me, it will be a huge success."
"No more questions about the WWE Network please. Just trust me, it will be a huge success."
Michael N. Todaro

WWE held their annual shareholders meeting yesterday morning and apparently it was a real nightmare for the shrewd company investors they have left.

Bryan Alvarez in his subscriber only Figure Four Daily ten minute news update on Friday gave a very damning report based on comments made to him from an angry stockholder after listening to company officials doing a poor job of discussing future aspirations and handling investor questions.

Here's an overview of the lowlights:

  • "There were no new revelations about anything including the [WWE] Network."
  • "Vince [McMahon] was very short with people asking questions, dismissive even. He continues to be delusional about the Network, as he feels its success is certain."
  • "[Chief Financial Officer] George Barrios claimed they were going to triple revenue through the Network and by monetizing their social media presence."
  • "Vince basically laughed off a question about The Rock not coming back, gave no indication at all that he would not be back." To be fair, we obviously haven't seen the last of Dwayne Johnson on WWE television even if he has wrestled his last match, so it depends on how the question was phrased whether the WWE Chairman was being deceptive or not.
  • "Vince said with a straight face that ratings had been up and that they were very happy with the third hour of Raw." Once again, Monday Night Raw's ratings have rebounded from their rock bottom levels last fall, which would, of course, be expected based on the seasonal WrestleMania boost, so this wasn't a dishonest answer, even though it was clearly spinning the numbers in the best possible way.
  • Vince also "no sold" a question about the WWE Network cannibalizing their pay-per-view business.
  • Conclusion: "Vince was unwilling to answer any difficult questions and lives in a land of delusion where business is great and will only get better. Also, they have no concrete plans for the Network, only speaking of it in generalities and too many marks own WWE stock and they ask stupid questions."

However, all this really means is that there has been no change since WWE's last conference call on Feb. 28th, 2013 to discuss their fourth quarter and year end earnings. It's good that the company isn't rushing their planned network before it's ready, but the lack of announced details does suggest that it will be a struggle to meet their lofty goals.

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