Analyst Upgrades DreamWorks Animation Stock Again, Boosts it to 'Buy'

Janney's Tony Wible, who had recently raised his rating on the studio's stock to "neutral," predicts an inflection point for earnings in 2013.


Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Tony Wible on Monday upgraded the stock of Dreamworks Animation to "buy," less than two weeks after boosting his rating from "sell" to "neutral."

He predicted the studio, led by CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, would see its stock market multiple that is applied to its earnings estimates increase amid recent developments. That led Wible to boost his price target by several dollars.

STORY: Analyst Upgrades DreamWorks Animation from 'Sell' on Fox Deal, 'Guardians'

"DWA has sustained a premium multiple, which we believe will expand towards its five-year average optimism grows," he argued. "We are maintaining our recently reduced estimates reflecting weaker merchandise sales, but we believe DWA will see multiple expansion into the launch of The Guardians as tracking data improves and as investors start to appreciate the multifarious drivers of an earnings inflection."

Wible increased his fair value target for the stock from $19 to $24.

On Friday, DWA's stock closed at $19.23, giving the company a market value of $1.6 billion. That was up from the $17.73 closing price a week earlier. Over the past year, the stock has traded as low as $16.34 and as high as $21.01.

"We are upgrading DWA to "buy" as we see it benefiting from a broader film slate, negative cost savings, domestic TV fee savings, a possible TV network, better international film performance and strategic benefits tied to the [new] News Corp. [film distribution] relationship, the acquisition of Classic Media and the Oriental DreamWorks partnership," Wible also reiterated his recent comments.

And he once again argued that DWA "may also be poised to deliver a hit film with The Guardians."

"We see the rally in DWA continuing, as the risk/reward trade-off improves," Wible said. "Downside in the stock may be bolstered by media reports fueling speculation of News Corp. looking to buy DWA," even though he said "we would not buy DWA for any M&A potential and generally dismiss the idea."

Twitter: @georgszalai