AMC Tumbles After ‘Walking Dead’ Company Misses Estimates

AMC Networks Inc., the cable-network company that airs “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead,” fell 3.6 percent after fourth-quarter earnings missed analysts’ estimates.

Net income from continuing operations shrank to 21 cents a share in the period, from 40 cents a year earlier, AMC said today in a statement. Analysts had estimated 66 cents on average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Sales were $366.7 million, compared with a projection of $370.3 million.

The decline in net income partially reflects the cost of a lawsuit with Dish Network Corp., which stopped airing AMC programming on its satellite-TV service between July and October. International sales also dropped in the period and advertising revenue only grew 16 percent to $157 million -- less than the 20 percent estimated by Amy Yong, an analyst at Macquarie Securities in New York.

“AMC is trading like a growth stock, which means it needs to hit its ad growth numbers,” said Yong, who has a neutral rating on the stock. “Excluding Dish, their top-line numbers still missed.”

AMC fell to $56 at the close in New York, marking the biggest intraday decline since Nov. 20. The stock has climbed 13 percent this year.

Sundance Channel

AMC executives, speaking on a conference call today, declined to predict how much the company’s programming expenses will increase this year. AMC will increase investment in its Sundance Channel by adding more original programming, Chief Executive Officer Josh Sapan said.

Fourth-quarter adjusted operating cash flow increased 5.6 percent to $107 million. The percentage growth would have been in the “double digits” if not for increased costs, including marketing expenses related to being pulled from Dish, the company said.

AMC ran TV advertisements urging customers to cancel their Dish subscriptions and switch to other providers when the networks where dropped.

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