Robert A. Iger has insisted for months that his turnaround plan for Disney was working. But distinct proof has largely been elusive, and investors, as evidenced by the company’s underperforming stock price and multiple proxy campaigns by activists for board seats, have been hesitant to buy in.
On Wednesday, Mr. Iger delivered proof.
Disney’s per-share earnings for the most recent quarter totaled $1.22, or 23 percent more than Wall Street had expected. Breaking from a long practice of not providing guidance about profit, Disney said per-share earnings for its full fiscal year would increase by at least 20 percent compared with 2023, in part because of record highs in revenue, profit and operating margins at its theme parks.
Mr. Iger, Disney’s chief executive, announced a $3 billion stock buyback plan, the company’s first since 2018, and a cash dividend of 45 cents a share, a 50 percent increase compared with the previous dividend, which was paid in January.
Disney’s streaming service had been expected to lose $400 million in the quarter. Instead, losses were trimmed to $138 million, as Mr. Iger reiterated that streaming would be profitable by the fall. Disney+ subscribers dipped 1.3 million in the quarter, as expected given a monthly price increase. But Disney said the service was on track to add at least 5.5 million subscribers in the current quarter.