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Assessing Disney’s Strategy to Return Value to Its Shareholders


Mar. 5 2018, Updated 10:31 a.m. ET

Disney consistently returns capital value

The Walt Disney Company (DIS) has a long history of paying dividends to its shareholders. It has also returned capital value to shareholders through share buybacks. 

In fiscal 2017, the media behemoth returned a total of $11.8 billion to its shareholders via dividends and buybacks, compared to $9.8 billion in fiscal 2016, $9.2 billion in fiscal 2015, and $7.0 billion in fiscal 2014.

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Share buybacks and dividends

In fiscal 1Q18, the media company paid ~$1.3 billion worth of capital to its shareholders through a total buyback of 12.8 million shares. For fiscal 2018, the company expects to repurchase shares worth $6 billion, which it has been repurchasing over the past five years.

Disney raised its semiannual dividend to $0.84 in November 2017, and it paid this dividend on January 11, 2018, to its shareholders of record as of December 11, 2017. The semiannual dividend of $0.84 per share was higher than the dividend of $0.78 per share the company paid in July 2017, bringing its total fiscal 2017 dividend to $1.62 per share.

Bob Iger, the chair and CEO of Disney, believes in Disney’s iconic brands and franchises and expects its key brands to offer strong returns to its shareholders.

Dividend yield

On February 21, 2018, Disney’s dividend yield stood at 1.6%. Meanwhile, Comcast’s (CMCSA) dividend yield was 1.9%, CBS Corporation’s (CBS) was 1.3%, and News Corporation’s (NWS) was 1.2%.


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