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Does the return of veteran “Boomerang Boss” Bob Iger give the Disney share price more upside?

Like many of the stocks to do particularly well during the Covid-19 pandemic, Disney has struggled since with its share price down…
The post Does the…



Like many of the stocks to do particularly well during the Covid-19 pandemic, Disney has struggled since with its share price down 38.63% this year. The multinational mass media and entertainment company’s valuation is down by over 51% since its high point of $197.16 set in March 2021.

Despite the positives like the Disney+ streaming service that rivals Netflix beating expectations by announcing year-on-year growth of 39% to reach 164.2, the Disney share price fell 6.9% after quarterly result were announced earlier this month. At one stage during after-hours trading the evening after the announcement, it dropped as low as $93.

Overall earnings and revenues disappointed investors with a $1.5 billion loss for the streaming division that also includes the sports broadcaster ESPN taking the shine off the success of Disney+ adding millions of new subscribers at an accelerating pace.

Despite total revenue rising by 9% to $20.15 billion during the three months to October 1, largely thanks to a strong post-pandemic recovery for Disney’s theme parks, the total fell short of analyst expectations for $21.2. Net income increased by 2% to $162 million.

Despite then chief executive Bob Chapek impressing that the streaming business was on course to reach profitability by 2024 “assuming we do not see a meaningful shift in the economic climate”, markets punished the Disney share price by dragging it to its lowest level since the February to March 2020 Covid sell-off. Of particular concern was the spiralling cost of ESPN’s investment in sports rights.

Bob Iger makes a comeback to replace Chapek as Disney’s new old CEO

What wasn’t expected in early November was that within a couple of weeks, Disney would have a new chief executive in the place of Chapek. The identity of Chapek’s replacement would come as a particular surprise. But 71-year-old Bob Iger, the veteran Disney chief executive that handpicked Chapek as his replacement upon announcing his 2020 retirement after 15 years in the hot seat has indeed been tempted back.

In an email to Disney staff, Iger told them he viewed his reappointment to the top job

“with an incredible sense of gratitude and humility — and, I must admit — a bit of amazement.”

The market also reacted positively to news the Disney boss that presided over a period of impressive growth fuelled by acquisitions suck as Pixar, Marvel Entertainment and 20th Century Fox had been reappointed. The company’s share price leapt 10% when Iger’s return was announced before eventually closing the session to a 7% gain. PP Foresight analyst Paolo Pescatore is quoted by The Times as commenting:

“The bold move [Iger’s return] might feel like the right one. However, the business is at a different phase of growth.”

Wells Fargo analysts were even more emphatic, writing the move

“puts perhaps the best leader in Media at the helm with a mandate to shake things up.”

Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings made perhaps the most telling contribution to the return of Iger to the company that owns the streaming giant’s most serious competitor when he tweeted:

“Ugh. I had been hoping Iger would run for president. He is amazing.”

What must Iger fix at Disney to set it back on track?

Put most simply, Iger’s job in his return to the role of Disney chief executive is first to stem losses and then to restore profitability. It can be presumed that a review of the company’s approach to acquiring expensive sports rights will figure prominently in both stages of the hoped-for turnaround.

The activist investor Daniel Loeb, whose Third Point investment group is a significant shareholder in Disney and was given a seat on the board in August, wants to see ESPN spun off. Another major step towards profitability for Disney+ will hopefully be the introduction next month of a new cheaper advertising-funded subscription tier. Netflix has just launched its ad-supported tier in the USA, charging $6.99 per month compared to $15.49 for its standard ad-free subscription and $19.99 for a premium account.

Iger, who is reported to have had doubts about his choice of Chapek as his replacement after the pair clashed during the transition period, is seen as having stronger relationships with Hollywood executives and a better intuition when it comes to the creative side of the business. His major Hollywood acquisitions all contributed significantly to Disney’s growth under him during his previous period in charge.

It can also be presumed he will more successfully avoid distractions such as Chapek’s public culture war with Florida’s outspoken Republican governor Ron DeSantis over what teachers in the state can say on LGBTQ+ topics. There was also an embarrassing legal dispute with Scarlett Johansson, star of Disney’s Black Widow film, over the decision to release the production in cinemas and over its streaming platform simultaneously. There’s a strong feeling the situation would have been nipped in the bud under Iger.

Can Iger work some of his old magic in just 2 years?

Investors wondering if the current Disney share price represents an improved upside under Iger should start the thought process in the context that the old new chief executive has said his return will only be for 2 years. The question is how much can he get done in that time and if the next choice of his successor will prove a better one than Chapek ultimately proved.

Stemming streaming losses while still catching up on Netflix’s global market share will be the big challenge for Iger.


The days of “growing streaming at any cost” are over for Wall Street, and Disney’s leadership under Iger will have to prove to investors that Disney+ can achieve profitability relatively quickly while also continuing to grow. This will move the needle on Disney’s share price more than anything else Iger might achieve.

Sports and films

Previously seen as a valuable asset, ESPN has been losing viewership recently despite huge investments in sports rights and that has been hurting the business. That’s the crux of Loeb’s argument the business should be “spun off to shareholders with an appropriate debt load”.

He’s since stepped back from that demand since being given a seat on the Disney board but the point was made and Iger will have to show he can make money from ESPN again.

Another issue is the revenue being generated by Disney’s film studios. In the year before the pandemic and Iger originally stepping down, Disney released seven films that each hit $1 billion in global box office takings. This year only two Disney releases have achieved the same level of success.

Iger must ask and answer the question of if streaming and the pandemic have permanently changed the landscape for cinema releases and adjust Disney’s strategy accordingly.

Can Iger drive share price growth for Disney?

It remains to be seen if Iger’s return to Disney will prove an inspired or desperate move but market analysts seem confident he can drive the company’s share price back up. Only the most negative analysts believe Disney’s valuation will drop over the next 12 months, and then to just $94, which is only slightly below the current $96.21 level.


Downside from the current valuation looks limited and on the upside, the median 12-month share price target of 25 analysts polled by CNN is $120, which would represent returns of almost 25%. The most optimistic analysts have a 12-month share price target of $145, which would deliver returns of over 50%.

Iger has a challenge on his hands and just 2 years to rise to it. But if early signs are positive, Disney investors are likely to be hailing the Boomerang Boss this time next year.

The post Does the return of veteran “Boomerang Boss” Bob Iger give the Disney share price more upside? first appeared on Trading and Investment News.

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Family Of College Student Who Died From COVID-19 Vaccine Sues Biden Administration

Family Of College Student Who Died From COVID-19 Vaccine Sues Biden Administration

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis…



Family Of College Student Who Died From COVID-19 Vaccine Sues Biden Administration

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The family of a college student who died from heart inflammation caused by Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has sued President Joe Biden’s administration, alleging officials engaged in “willful misconduct.”

George Watts Jr. in a file image. (Courtesy of the Watts family)

U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) officials wrongly promoted COVID-19 vaccination by repeatedly claiming the available vaccines were “safe and effective,” relatives of George Watts Jr., the college student, said in the new lawsuit.

That promotion “duped millions of Americans, including Mr. Watts, into being DOD’s human subjects in its medical experiment, the largest in modern history,” the suit states.

The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act allows lawsuits against certain people if they have engaged in “willful misconduct” and if that misconduct caused death or serious injury.

COVID-19 vaccines are covered by the act due to a declaration entered during the Trump administration in 2020 after COVID-19 began circulating.

DOD’s conduct and the harm caused as alleged within the four corners of the lawsuit speaks for itself,” Ray Flores, a lawyer representing the Watts family, told The Epoch Times via email. “I have no further comment other than to say: My only duty is to advocate for my client. If the DOD conveys a settlement offer, I will see that it’s considered.”

The suit was filed in U.S. court in Washington.

The Pentagon and the Department of Justice did not respond to requests for comment.

Watts Suddenly Died

Watts was a student at Corning Community College when the school mandated COVID-19 vaccination for in-person classes in 2021. He received one Pfizer dose on Aug. 27, 2021, and a second dose approximately three weeks later.

Watts soon began experiencing a range of symptoms, including tingling in the feet, pain in the heels, numbness in the hands and fingers, blood in his sperm and urine, and sinus pressure, according to family members and health records.

Watts went to the Robert Packer Hospital emergency room on Oct. 12, 2021, due to the symptoms. X-rays showed clear lungs and a normal heart outline.

Watts was sent home with suggestions to follow up with specialists but returned to the emergency room on Oct. 19, 2021, with worsening symptoms despite a week of the antibiotic Augmentin. He was diagnosed with sinusitis and bronchitis.

While speaking to his mother at home on Oct. 27, 2021, Watts suddenly collapsed. Emergency medical personnel rushed to the home but found him unresponsive. He was rushed to the same hospital in an ambulance. He was pronounced deceased at age 24.

According to a doctor at the hospital, citing hospital records and family members, Watts had no past medical history on file that would explain his sudden death, with no known history of substance abuse or obvious signs of substance abuse. His mother described her son as a “healthy young male.”

Dr. Robert Stoppacher, a pathologist who performed an autopsy on the body, said that the death was due to “COVID-19 vaccine-related myocarditis.” The death certificate listed no other causes. A COVID-19 test returned negative. Dr. Sanjay Verma, based in California, reviewed the documents in the Watts case and said that he believed the death was caused by the COVID-19 vaccination.

Pfizer did not respond to a request for comment.

Watts Took Vaccine Under Pressure

The community college mandate included a 35-day grace period following approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines were given emergency use authorization early in the pandemic. The FDA approved the Pfizer shot on Aug. 23, 2021. It was the first COVID-19 vaccine approval. But doses of the approved version of the shot, branded Comirnaty, were not available for months after the approval.

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Tyler Durden Fri, 06/02/2023 - 23:00

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US Sent Billions in Funding to China, Russia For Cat Experiments, Wuhan Lab Research: Ernst

US Sent Billions in Funding to China, Russia For Cat Experiments, Wuhan Lab Research: Ernst

Authored by Mark Tapscott via The Epoch Times…



US Sent Billions in Funding to China, Russia For Cat Experiments, Wuhan Lab Research: Ernst

Authored by Mark Tapscott via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Hundreds of millions of U.S. tax dollars went to recipients in China and Russia in recent years without being properly tracked by the federal government, including a grant that enabled a state-run Russian lab to test cats on treadmills, according to Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) speaks at a Senate Republican news conference in the U.S. Capitol on March 9, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Ernst and her staff investigators, working with auditors at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Congressional Research Service, as well as two nonprofit Washington watchdogs—Open The Books (OTB) and the White Coat Waste Project (WCWP)—discovered dozens of other grants that weren’t counted on the federal government’s internet database.

While the total value of the uncounted grants found by the Ernst team is $1.3 billion, that amount is just the tip of the iceberg, the GAO reported.

Among the newly discovered grants is $4.2 million to China’s infamous Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) “to conduct dangerous experiments on bat coronaviruses and transgenic mice,” according to a May 31 Ernst statement provided to The Epoch Times.

The $4.2 million exposed by Ernst is in addition to previously reported funding to the WIV for extensive gain-of-function research by Chinese scientists, much of it funded in whole or part prior to the COVID-19 pandemic by National Institutes for Health (NIH) grants channeled through the EcoHealth Alliance medical research nonprofit.

The NIH has awarded seven grants totaling more than $4.1 million to EcoHealth to study various aspects of SARS, MERS, and other coronavirus diseases.

Buying Chinese Puppy Parts

As part of another U.S.-funded grant, hearts and other organs from 425 dogs in China were purchased for medical research.

These countryside dogs in China are part of the farmer’s household; they were mainly used for guarding. Their diet includes boiled rice, discarded raw food animal tissues, and whatever dogs can forage. These dogs were sold for food,” an NIH study uncovered by the Ernst researchers reads.

Other previously unreported grants exposed by the Ernst team include $1.6 million to Chinese companies from the federal government’s National School Lunch Program and $4.7 million for health insurance from a Russian company that was sanctioned by the United States in 2022 as a result of the invasion of Ukraine.

“It’s gravely concerning that Washington’s reckless spending has reached the point where nobody really knows where all tax dollars are going,” Ernst separately told The Epoch Times. “But I have the receipts, and I’m shining a light on this, so bureaucrats can no longer cover up their tracks, and taxpayers can know exactly what their hard-earned dollars are funding.”

The problem is that federal officials don’t rigorously track sub-awards made by initial grant recipients, according to the Iowa Republican. Such sub-awards are covered by a multitude of federal regulations that stipulate many conditions to ensure that the tax dollars are appropriately spent.

The GAO said in an April report that “limitations in sub-award data is a government-wide issue and not unique to U.S. funding to entities in China.”

GAO is currently examining the state of federal government-wide sub-award data as part of a separate review,” the report reads.

Peter Daszak, right, the president of the EcoHealth Alliance, is seen in Wuhan, China, on Feb. 3, 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

The Eco-Health sub-awards to WIV illustrate the problem.

“Despite being required by law to make these receipts available to the public on the website, EcoHealth tried to cover its tracks by intentionally not disclosing the amounts of taxpayer money being paid to WIV, which went unnoticed for years,” Ernst said in the statement.

“I was able to determine that more than $490 million of taxpayer money was paid to organizations in China [in] the last five years. That’s ten times more than GAO’s estimate! Over $870 million was paid to entities in Russia during the same period!

Together that adds up to more than $1.3 billion paid to our adversaries. But again, these numbers still do not represent the total dollar amounts paid to institutions in China or Russia since those numbers are not tracked and the information that is being collected is incomplete.”

Adam Andrzejewski, founder and chairman of OTB, told The Epoch Times, “When following the money at the state and local level, the real corruption exists in the subcontractor payments. At the federal level, the existing system doesn’t even track many of those recipients.

“Without better reporting, agencies and appropriators don’t truly understand how tax dollars were used. We now know that taxpayer dollars are traded further downstream than originally realized with third- and fourth-tier recipients. These transactions need scrutiny. Requiring recipients to account for where and how they actually spend each dollar creates a record far better than agencies are capable of generating.”

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Tyler Durden Fri, 06/02/2023 - 19:40

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OraSure Technologies’ CFO Makes Bold Insider Purchase, Reigniting Investor Confidence

Executive Kenneth McGrath’s $500,000 buy read as promising signal about future for diagnostic test developer OraSure Technologies (NASDAQ:OSUR) saw…




Executive Kenneth McGrath’s $500,000 buy read as promising signal about future for diagnostic test developer

OraSure Technologies (NASDAQ:OSUR) saw a stock price re-rate on Thursday, climbing 11% after investors became aware of its CFO Kenneth McGrath buying shares in the diagnostic test developer.  This latest rally in OSUR stock, gives traders and investors hope that the strong momentum from the beginning of 2023 might return.

OSUR shares had mounted an impressive 54% rally for 2023 through to May 10, when the first-quarter results update spooked investors. 

The CFO’s trade was initially spotted on Fintel’s Insider Trading Tracker following the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Big Holdings Boost

In the Form 4 filing, McGrath, who assumed CFO duties in August 2022, disclosed buying 100,000 shares on May 30 in the approved trading window that was open post results.

McGrath on average paid $4.93 per share, giving the total transaction a value just shy of $500,000 and boosted his total share count ownership to 285,512 shares.

The chart below from the insider trading and analysis report for OSUR shows the share price performance and profit made from company officers in previous transactions:

OraSure Technologies

Prior to joining OraSure, McGrath had an impressive eight-year tenure at Quest Diagnostics (NYSE:DGX), where he rose to the position of VP of Finance before departing. This is the first time that the CFO has bought stock in the company since August 2022. It is also worth noting that the purchase followed strong Q1 financial results, which exceeded Street forecasts.

Revenue Doubles

In its recently published Q1 update, OraSure Technologies told investors that it generated a whopping 129% increase in revenue to $155 million, surpassing analyst expectations of around $123 million. 

Notably, the revenue growth was driven primarily by the success of OraSure’s COVID-19 products, which accounted for $118.4 million in revenue for the quarter and grew 282% over the previous year.

The surge in revenue for this product was largely driven by the federal government’s school testing program, which led to record test volumes. However, it is important to note that demand for InteliSwab is expected to decline in Q2 2023, prompting OraSure to scale down its COVID-19 production operations. As part of its broader strategy to consolidate manufacturing, the company plans to close an overseas production facility.

While the COVID-19 products division has been instrumental in OraSure’s recent success, its core business delivered stable flat sales of $36.6 million during the quarter. 

In terms of net income, OraSure achieved an impressive result of $27.2 million, or $0.37 per share, in Q1, marking a significant improvement compared to the loss of $19.9 million, or a loss of $0.28 per share, in the same period last year. This result exceeded consensus forecasts of $0.16 per share. As of the end of the quarter, the company held $112.4 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Looking ahead to Q2, OraSure has provided revenue guidance in the range of $62 to $67 million, reflecting the lower order activity from the US government with $25 to $30 million expected sales for InteliSwab. The declining Covid related sales have been a core driver of the share price weakness in recent weeks.

While sales are likely to fall in the coming quarters, one positive for the company is its low debt balance during this period of rising cash rates. The chart below from Fintels financial metrics and ratios page for OSUR shows the cash flow performance of the business over the last five years.

OraSure Technologies

Analyst Opinions

Stephen’s analyst Jacob Johnson thinks that outside of Covid, OSUR continues to execute on several cost and partnership initiatives which he believes appears to be bearing fruit. Johnson pointed out that three partnerships were signed during the quarter.

The analyst thinks that the ex-Covid growth story will be the new focus for investors from now on. The brokerage maintained its ‘equal-weight’ recommendation and $6.50 target price on the stock, matching Fintel’s consensus target price, suggesting OSUR stock could rise a further 29% in the next 12 months. 

The post OraSure Technologies’ CFO Makes Bold Insider Purchase, Reigniting Investor Confidence appeared first on Fintel.

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