Shares of the Walt Disney Company were trading at record highs on Friday after the entertainment giant unveiled a tidal wave of new movies and TV series and shared additional details about its broader strategic shift to streaming.
The announcements in Thursday’s investor presentation included forthcoming offerings from Marvel, Star Wars, and Pixar, generating frenetic social media chatter among fans of those franchises. The full slate of crowd-pleasing content all but assures that Disney will retain its place at the top of the entertainment food chain for years to come. The presentation also left zero doubt that the company would double down on its Disney Plus streaming service as it seeks to dethrone Netflix, particularly at a time of continued uncertainty for movie theaters and other live entertainment.
In its presentation, Disney projected that Disney Plus would have 230 to 260 million subscribers by the end of its 2024 fiscal year, phenomenal growth for a service that launched only last year.
The company’s streaming ambitions are not going unnoticed by Wall Street. Disney shares were up more than 10% early Friday. And in a new research note, analyst firm MoffettNathanson said Disney stock should be seen as being in the same league as tech giants like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, or Alphabet—aka FAANG stocks.
“Given the meaningful opportunity ahead for Disney’s streaming business, we believe the stock should be considered as in the same camp as other fast-growing Internet companies (the FAANGs) or consumer companies like Walmart/Nike,” the analysts wrote.
Their justification? While Disney is valued at 26 times its estimated 2024 earnings per share—a pricey valuation that puts it behind only Netflix among tech giants—Disney could see nearly 25% earnings growth from 2022-2024, the firm estimates, which is second only to Amazon.
“So, we believe Disney’s premium valuation is warranted, even compared to a group of dominant Internet companies, given the long-term earnings potential for the company,” the analysts wrote.
In its report, the firm maintained a neutral rating on Disney stock but raised its price target to $160, up $21. “We look forward to revisiting our Disney valuation when the company provides added disclosure on its new reporting structure,” the report states.