It is very frequent that companies get a boost from a novel series or from a movie series. It can be huge business. It can also be a sword that cuts two ways, and that is what we are seeing this Thursday at Scholastic Corp. (NASDAQ: SCHL).
The company reported that sales of The Hunger Games trilogy were significantly lower than expected in its most recent quarter. With another film coming up, investors have to wonder if there is a likely tie in here for Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (NYSE: LGF), as it is the production house behind the movies.
The company is now looking for its earnings to be only $1.10 to $1.30 per share, and for sales to be down to a range of $1.75 billion to $1.8 billion. Its prior earnings target was $1.40 to $1.60 per share on sales of $1.8 billion to $1.9 billion. While this doesn’t sound too bad this time around, earnings projections are now down by almost 50% from as recently as September.
It was going to be hard to compare to the strength from a year ago, but overall sales were down by 19% and Scholastic has now lowered its annual targets for the second time in the last four months or so. Scholastic investors have seen this before, with big swings higher from Harry Potter leading to big booms, only to be followed by big busts. One other issue affecting sales is that school districts have delayed purchases as they have turned more toward training and digital investments.
Scholastic’s share price is down almost 14% at $26.75 in early trading on Thursday, versus a 52-week trading range of $25.03 to $38.49.
We are not seeing any trading indications that would signal a major change in shares of Lions Gate Entertainment, but at $22.75 we would note that shares are up about 200% from when Carl Icahn got involved and then bailed out. The huge boost has been from The Hunger Games. With another film coming up, it is hard to not wonder if investors will look at the 52-week range of $11.26 to $23.45 and decide to take at least some profits here.
Jon C. Ogg