Buy the Warner Bros. Discovery dip as shares can nearly double from here, Benchmark says

Shares of Warner Bros. Discovery could nearly double from here, as the top media company finds its way in the second half of the year, according to Benchmark. Analyst Matthew Harrigan initiated coverage on Warner Bros. Discovery with a buy rating, saying in a Wednesday note that the company is “admirably positioned” to overcome business challenges — even with the stock tumbling more than 40% this year. “Although WBD stock price performance since its April 11th trading debut has been heavily compromised by the market’s 2022 streaming aversion, leverage concerns, and overall equity market recession angst affecting advertising, we are confident WBD’s shares will regain their footing,” Harrigan wrote, adding that investors “should take advantage of [the] convalescence opportunity.” Benchmark also issued a 2023 price target of $26 on the stock, almost double Wednesday’s closing price of $13.17. The popularity of Warner Bros. Discovery’s brands, as well as its streaming platforms HBO Max and discovery+, will help the company maintain its top status, the note read. Its network portfolio claims more than a quarter of prime time viewing among 25 to 54 year-olds for March and April, according to the note. The company should also benefit in the second half of this year after further clarification from management on the branding and pricing behind HBO Max and discovery+ streaming platforms, as well as a closer look into the financials of the newly merged company. “We believe that Warner Bros. Discovery will emerge as (or remain) a perennial top three global media content leader alongside Disney and NBCUniversal,” Harrigan wrote. Shares of Warner Bros. Discovery dipped more than 1% in Thursday premarket trading. Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC. –CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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