Warner Music stock undervalued with 33% upside potential

On Thursday, Warner Music Group (NASDAQ:WMG) stock was given a vote of confidence from Jefferies as coverage was assumed with a Buy rating and a price target set at $38.00, adjusted from a previous $43.00. The new valuation reflects a roughly 40% discount compared to Universal Music Group (AS:), which has seen a 6% increase year-to-date (YTD), in contrast to WMG’s 17% decline.

The optimism surrounding Warner Music Group is partly due to its potential for consistent releases from artists like Zach Bryan and Dua Lipa, which are expected to contribute to the company’s performance.

Additionally, a cost savings program announced by WMG is anticipated to improve adjusted Operating Income Before Depreciation and Amortization (OIBDA) margins by approximately 200 basis points in fiscal year 2024.

The firm’s analysis suggests that Warner Music Group’s stock could experience a re-rating if it returns to its historical average discount. This scenario would imply a price of $40 per share, offering a 33% upside from current levels. The firm also projects Warner Music Group’s adjusted OIBDA to be 1% and 3% higher than the street’s expectations for fiscal years 2025 and 2026, respectively.

The assessment of Warner Music Group’s stock reflects a broader context in which the company’s valuation is seen as attractive at current levels. The anticipated margin expansion and consistent release slate are key factors in this positive outlook.

Investors and market watchers will likely keep an eye on Warner Music Group’s upcoming releases and financial performance to see if the company meets these expectations and if the stock responds accordingly to the projected re-rating.

In other recent news, Warner Music Group has been making significant strides in the music industry. The company reported a 7% increase in total revenue for the second quarter, with Recorded Music and Music Publishing revenues growing by 4% and 19% respectively.

This surge was primarily fueled by an 11% rise in Recorded Music streaming revenue, showcasing the success of their strategic focus on artist development, global expansion, and investment in technology.

In parallel, Warner Music Group is facing legal proceedings initiated by Sony (NYSE:) Music, Universal Music Group, and Warner Records against artificial intelligence entities Suno and Udio.

The lawsuit alleges mass copyright infringement by these AI firms, which are accused of using the music labels’ recordings without authorization to train their music-generating AI systems.

The outcome of these cases could have far-reaching implications for the use of copyrighted material in training AI systems and the broader interaction between AI technology and creative copyrights.

On the analyst front, Warner Music Group received an upgrade from CFRA, moving from a Sell to a Hold rating. The firm maintains its EPS estimates for Warner Music at $1.10 for FY 24 and at $1.45 for FY 25.

Meanwhile, Evercore ISI maintains an Outperform rating for Warner Music Group, despite a slowdown in Recorded Music ad-supported streaming revenue growth. These are recent developments for Warner Music Group, reflecting the dynamic and evolving landscape of the music industry.

InvestingPro Insights

Warner Music Group (NASDAQ:WMG) has been attracting attention with its recent cost savings initiatives and the potential for a positive re-rating of its stock. In light of this, here are some InvestingPro Insights to provide additional context to the discussion:

InvestingPro Data highlights a market capitalization of $15.28 billion USD, indicating the scale of WMG in the industry. The company’s P/E ratio stands at 29.04, which is relatively high, suggesting that investors are expecting higher earnings growth in the future. Additionally, the Price / Book ratio as of the last twelve months leading up to Q2 2024 is 35.3, indicating that the market values the company’s assets quite richly compared to its book value.

Two InvestingPro Tips that may be particularly relevant for investors considering WMG shares include the company’s history of raising its dividend for 4 consecutive years, signaling a commitment to returning value to shareholders, and the observation that analysts predict the company will be profitable this year, which aligns with the positive outlook presented in the article.

For those looking to delve deeper into the financials and forecasts for Warner Music Group, InvestingPro offers additional tips that can guide investment decisions. By using the coupon code PRONEWS24, readers can get up to 10% off a yearly Pro and a yearly or biyearly Pro+ subscription, unlocking access to a wealth of detailed analysis and market insights.

Investors can explore these and over 5 additional InvestingPro Tips for WMG at https://www.investing.com/pro/WMG, which may provide further clarity on the company’s financial health and market position as they assess the investment opportunity presented by Warner Music Group’s current valuation and future prospects.

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