Earlier today former ECW Announcer & Manager Joel Gertner was a guest on WrestleZone Daily with host Nick Hausman. Joel served as the “Financial Guru” for today’s episode and spoke about the affect of the WWE Network subscribers on the WWE stock price, Dutch media executive and creator of Big Brother & The Voice John de Mol purchasing approximately 6% of the WWE stock, WWE’s deal with NBCUniversal being disappointing, more
You can listen to Joel’s appearance starting at the 36:50 mark in the embedded audio player below. Some of his quotes have been transcribed below it:
On how the WWE Network subscriber number directly affects the price of the WWE stock:
JG: It is the most important metric. At the same time it gets rounded to the nearest 100,000, right? Then to the nearest tenth of a million. Believe it or not if you take half of that, when you take let’s say 50,000 subscribers, the revenue that you’re going to get from that number of subscribers every month is not the kind of thing that even a billionaire is necessarily going to find under their couch. It’s real money. So a lot of people the metric they kind of negotiate the numbers and they say, “Well, 1.0 million, 1.1. million, 1.2 million…” And they make all these wild prognostications based on that. To the nearest 100,000 subscribers. Truth be told, a lot of the naysayers, a lot of the henny pennies, a lot of the Debbie Downers and a lot of everybody were saying that this thing was never going to get to one million subscribers. Couldn’t be done. There’s only three hundred some odd million people in the country. A lot of them are in a certain age range. They’re not going to subscribe. A lot of people of a certain financial demographic so to speak. They’re not going to subscribe, they don’t have the disposable income. This person’s not going to subscribe, that person’s not going to subscribe and there’s only four million people that watch it on USA for free every Monday. As such, even if it’s cheaper than the PPV you shouldn’t necessarily tie your wagon and horse to that all these people are going to subscribe. By the way, it’s never going to get to 1.5 million let alone the two million they were speaking about as a long term goal. That’s what people, some of them, were saying. These were the same people that when I was practically begging my friends, my family, my Facebook friends… anybody I knew or almost knew. To the point that I was willing to sign on for a personal loan myself so that I could give them a personal loan and only accept maybe 10-15% of their WWE stock profits back from them. In exchange for doing them the favor. For example, in January, just prior to or right around the time of the Royal Rumble. This stock was just barely above $10 a share. People were telling me, “It’s going to go to eight before it goes to twelve.” I knew that that wasn’t the case because you can crunch the numbers, you can do the math, you can know what something is worth in theory and in practice. You know that just like when you know what a basketball team in the NBA is worth, market cap. You know what a baseball team, especially a high level baseball team like the Yankess, like the Dodgers. You know what they’re worth. You know what the Dallas Cowboys are worth. To try to turn around and say that the WWE is some sort of six hundred and fifty million dollar company is so ridiculously low. If that’s what it needs to be, or there about, for this stock to have each share be worth $8 then no it’s never going to go to $8. Never before it goes to $12. Since then not only didn’t it ever dip below $10 for more than an hour or two at a time. Now it’s over $20. Today may be dipping down in to the $19’s but I think the high yesterday was $20.50. Meaning that in nine months from mid-January to mid-October, from $10.25 a share to $20.50 a share… congratulations that’s 100% return on your investment. That’s in nine months. So that annualizes to 133% plus a year. If that’s something you can do blindfolded with your eyes closed, hands tied behind your back and half your brain in a jar of formaldehyde…. darts, phone book, whatever. Then you don’t need to be listening to this show but for the “entertainment” value. Of course this is meant to be “infotainment.” That’s why I’m here.
On Dutch executive and Big Brother and The Voice creator John de Mol buying approximately 6% of the company’s shares:
JG: Not all of them, probably a little bit less as far as a percentage of the company he owns. WWE very smartly what they do is there’s class “A” stock, and there’s different ways of categorizing your stock, some companies will call those different categories one thing or another. Basically, there’s class “A” stock and class “B” stock. You’ll sometimes hear a class of stock which is reserved for owners as “voting stock.” Right? Privileged stock. Voting stock. Preferred stock. So yes, John de Mol has about 6% of the available floating shares out there of the non-voting shares. These are the same kinds of shares that if you invest in WWE today you would have a percentage of the company. They’re real shares but you don’t have a seat on the board. Without these voting shares you probably won’t get one. What this means more so than that is that any sale of WWE, any takeover, any change in the chain of command cannot be akin to a hostile takeover. It would instead be a friendly acquisition. If it were to ever happen.
On why he thinks NBCUniversal’s deal with WWE was disappointing:
JG: The people that don’t really know the wrestling industry; which makes up probably the lion’s share of who has stock. The regular class “A” stock. They were disappointed. I have trouble even saying this out loud because Vince McMahon doesn’t make widgets, you know? There are t-shirts that get sold. You could say that every unit of a PPV is something that’s selling. So, you could say that it is a product rather than a service. The WWE is in the business of. At the end of the day it’s very creative what they do and what they are they are a media company. They provide and produce content. Right? A lot of people they see that Vince McMahon who is always going to be, unfortunately, held to a higher standard so to speak. To not make what Wall St. refers to as forward looking statements out of the tone of that they should. A lot of CEOs do it. A lot of them get away with it because the way the accounting is done. Long story short, Vince McMahon was very hopeful that the deal would come in a certain way. There was a deal made, not a terrible deal, especially in light of the fact that the network is now picking up and going beyond expectations and succeeding. There was a deal that apparently wasn’t what Wall St. thought that it might be. I think that initial dip a year or a year and a half ago; mid-2014. I think was either the investors, institutional investors, all the big banks and Wall St. It was their way of kind of for lack of a better term, again, slapping WWE on the wrist and saying, “We don’t care if it’s going to be good. Don’t tell it’s going to be excellent,” which is what they thought they were told.
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