Time Warner earnings beat Street expectations, helped by success of 'Harry Potter' spinoff

Stocks to Watch: February 8, 2017

Time Warner, which is in the process of being bought by AT&T, reported quarterly earnings and revenue that beat Wall Street's expectations, helped by the success of blockbusters like the "Harry Potter" spinoff "Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them."

Shares of Time Warner were little changed in premarket trading Wednesday following the news.

The company posted fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.25 per share on revenue of $7.89 billion.

Analysts expected Time Warner to report earnings excluding items of $1.19 per share on revenue of $7.72 billion, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters. In the previous year, Time Warner earned 98 cents a share on revenue of $7.53 billion.

"All our operating divisions increased revenue and profits while also making investments to capitalize on the growing demand for the very best video content and new ways to deliver it to audiences around the world," Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes said in a statement.

The company's robust results come amid a pending $85.4 billion deal with AT&T.

On Wednesday, Bewkes said the deal to be acquired by AT&T "will accelerate our efforts to spur innovation in the media industry and further strengthen our businesses." He said the company remains on track to close the transaction lthis year.

AT&T said last month it was confident the deal would be approved.

During his campaign, President Donald Trump said he opposed the merger. Earlier this month, a transition official told Reuters that Trump still was against the deal.

Time Warner said Wednesday it had its best second-best year ever at the global box office with blockbusters such as "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice", "Suicide Squad" and "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them."

For the full year, Time Warner reported that revenues increased 7 percent to $11.4 billion in the Turner segment, helped by an increase in subscription revenues. "The increase in Subscription revenues was due to higher domestic rates and growth at Turner's international networks," the company said.

Free cash flow grew 22 percent to $4.4 billion, and cash provided from continuing operations grew 22 percent to $4.7 billion. EPS grew 23 percent to $5.86, versus $4.75 in 2015.

—Reuters contributed to this report.