WWE’s stock ended the week closing at a 10-year-high of $19.55, as the company readies to launch a digital network next month and sits down to negotiate a considerably higher licensing fee for its TV shows airing on NBCUniversal’s cable channels.
The stock rose 55 cents on Friday, gaining nearly 2.9%. During the trading day, shares rose to a high of $20.48.
The performance clearly indicates Wall Street is keeping a close eye on WWE and is even encouraged by its plans of pinning down a richer licensing fee for its weekly TV series, including ratings generators “Monday Night Raw,” on USA Network, and “Friday Nigh SmackDown,” on Syfy. With live sports and entertainment programming attracting more viewers and commanding pricey fees from broadcasters, WWE believes its series, especially those airing live, are undervalued.
At the same time, the WWE Network will launch as a subscription-based channel Feb. 24 on WWE.com and through apps on most digital platforms. New digital offering will stream all of the company’s pay-per-views, including “WrestleMania 30,” for $9.99 a month.
The uptick in WWE’s shares, which now give it a market cap of 1.47 billion, come right after analysts hammered the company’s stock. On CNBC “Street Signs,” portfolio manager Josh Stephenson predicted the stock would drop after rising 111% last year, and 65% since October.
“There’s nowhere to go but down,” he said.