Class A shares gained $2.21 to close at $27.76 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange. It was the highest close since Jan. 28.
After the market closed Thursday, Lionsgate reported better-than-expected earnings of $62 million, or 30 cents a share, for its fourth quarter ended March 31 — topping Wall Street forecasts of 22 cents a share and far above year-ago earnings of $10.9 million. Revenues also came in above expectations at $1.26 billion, while analysts had been forecasting $1.19 billion.
It’s the second earnings report for the studio since its Dec. 8 acquisition of Starz for $4.4 billion. That transaction generated $89 million in restructuring and other costs primarily associated with the acquisition and subsequent integration of Starz.
Lionsgate’s movie operations have been buoyed by its comedy-drama “La La Land,” which won six Academy Awards and grossed $443 million in worldwide box office. The whimsical musical carried a production cost of only $30 million.
Motion picture segment revenues increased 7.3% to $654 million, driven by “La La Land,” “John Wick: Chapter Two,” and “The Shack.” Segment profit jumped to $52 million from $2.5 million as higher revenue more than offset operating expenses and marketing expenditures.
Analysts issued more than half a dozen upbeat reports on Friday. Evercore repeated its “outperform” rating and its $31 price target, citing “industry leading growth potential.”
“Lionsgate’s F4Q17 beat on content sales, margins, and taxes; investors should focus on the industry-leading growth guidance,” said Evercore analysts David Joyce and John Belton. “Motion picture divisional revenue had a great quarter reflecting their releases, but a lot was spent to achieve it. TV production results were a little lighter than expected due to challenging international content sales comparisons. Media Networks (Starz) outperformed with content licensing and cost controls.”