Any deceleration at ESPN -- very much the topic among Disney bears -- can be offset by strength in the company's other areas, along with some defensive sports-channel strategies, Sheikh argues. He's reiterated the firm's Outperform rating, with a price target of $130 (31.6% upside from today's close of $98.79).
Piper Jaffray had set its price target to $120.
While everyone accepts that ESPN growth will slow, Sheikh says: “First, DIS can reduce the likely significant usage of shared passwords for WatchESPN, where probably several million users consume the content without paying for it. Second, DIS can use its rights portfolio to create an unbundled product either with niche content aimed at "super-fans"; or for a fuller bundle of content to serve the casual sports fan."
Late in the morning in Chicago, during an otherwise routine annual meeting, Disney gave previews of an imposing film slate ahead, set an April 1 date to bring Star Wars: The Force Awakens to home entertainment windows, and said it was expanding its cruise line by two massive ships.
Previously: Disney meeting: 'Star Wars' in-home plans; cruise expansion (Mar. 03 2016)
Previously: On verge of meeting, Disney +1% as Piper upgrades (Mar. 03 2016)
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