Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Friday, March 6, 2015

  • 3:42 AM
    • SAP is embarking on the second downsizing under CEO Bill McDermott, cutting about 2,200 jobs, about 3% of its workforce.
    • The company is continuing to pivot toward cloud computing rather than traditional licensing, and that means a move toward less profitable software delivered more quickly with payments stretched over time.
    • SAP is learning that the cloud environment is calling for engineers with different skills than those optimized for its old-line business.
    • The stock is down 12.8% over the past 12 months.
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  • 12:00 AM
  • Thursday, March 5, 2015

  • 11:53 PM
    • Banc of California (NYSE:BANC): Q4 EPS of $0.25 may not be comparable to consensus of -$0.05.
    • Revenue of $87.22M (+28.6% Y/Y) beats by $17.87M.
    • Press Release
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  • 11:49 PM
    • Network-1 Technologies (NYSEMKT:NTIP): FY14 EPS of $0.07
    • Revenue of $12.31M (+53.7% Y/Y)
    • Press Release
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  • 11:48 PM
    • Communications Systems (NASDAQ:JCS): Q4 EPS of -$0.12
    • Revenue of $27.2M (-0.4% Y/Y)
    • Press Release
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  • 11:27 PM
    • Douglas Thede, MicroStrategy's (NASDAQ:MSTR) CFO since 2012, plans to retire on Dec. 31.
    • A search is planned to find Thede's replacement.
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  • 10:36 PM
    • Thinly-traded nano cap Targacept (NASDAQ:TRGT) and privately-held South San Francisco-based Catalyst Biosciences agree to merge. The new entity will be named Catalyst Biosciences and will have the anticipated stock symbol "CBIO." Catalyst CEO Nassim Usman, Ph.D., will be President and CEO of the combined firm.
    • Catalyst shareholders will initially own ~65% of the combined company. Targacept shareholders will own ~35% and will receive a dividend of an aggregate of $37M in non-interest bearing redeemable convertible notes and ~$20M in cash. The notes will be convertible into the new entity's common stock at any time within two years after the deal closes, at the noteholders' discretion, for $1.31 per share which is 130% of the negotiated per-share value of Targacept's assets after the distribution of the dividend.
    • Catalyst's product development activities focus on hemostasis and complement regulation. Its lead product is CB 813d for hemophilia. Targacept focuses on a class of products called neuronal nicotinic receptors. Its lead product is TC499 for the treatment of diabetic gastroparesis. Both are in Phase 1 development.
    • TRGT is down 3% after hours on high volume.
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  • 9:48 PM
    • Intra-Cellular Therapies (NASDAQ:ITCI) prices its public offering of 4.75M shares of common stock at $24 per share. Underwriters over-allotment is an additional 712.5K shares. Closing date is March 11. Net proceeds will be ~$106.5M.
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  • 9:35 PM
    • Elaine Wynn plans to fight for her board seat at Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN).
    • The ex-wife of CEO Steve Wynn holds a 9.4% stake in the company, but was told earlier this week that she wouldn't be renominated to return to the 8-person board.
    • In a separate legal action, she is seeking to remove voting restrictions on her block of shares.
    • Previously: Wynn Resorts continues downward trek (March 4)
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  • 8:36 PM
    • One of the key goals in AT&T's (NYSE:T) Project VIP network expansion is no more -- the company says it no longer plans to deploy 40,000 small cells by 2015's end.
    • The company says acquiring Leap Wireless last year gave it more macro sites and it therefore doesn't need as many small cells as planned -- though a source tells FierceWireless that the carrier didn't account for the time and regulatory effort in a deployment that size, and that it has set up only about 20,000.
    • AT&T hasn't commented on its deployment size but says small cells are still a key part of its network.
    • The FCC moved in the fall to speed environmental review for setting up small cells and co-located equipment.
    • Small cells are increasingly important for network flexibility as demand shifts quickly, and setting up a conventional macro cell site at this point is time-consuming and usually cost-prohibitive, especially considering the ones in existence.
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  • 8:28 PM
    • The minimum Tier 1 common capital ratio for banks is 5%, according to the Fed, and here's how the 31 lenders stacked up under the central bank's severely adverse scenario vs. a year ago (h/t: WSJ):
    • Deutshce Bank (NYSE:DB): 34.7%, not tested a year ago
    • DIscover (NYSE:DFS): 13.9% vs. 13.2% a year ago
    • Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE:BK): 12.6% vs. 13.1%
    • American Express (NYSE:AXP): 12.5% vs. 12.1%
    • Northern Trust (NASDAQ:NTRS): 12.3% vs. 11.7%
    • State Street (NYSE:STT): 11.8% vs. 13.3%
    • Citizens Financial (NYSE:CFG): 10.7% vs. 10.7%
    • KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY): 9.9% vs. 9.2%
    • Capital One (NYSE:COF): 9.5% vs. 7.8%
    • PNC Financial (NYSE:PNC): 9.5% vs. 9%
    • Santander Holdings USA (SAN's U.S. unit): 9.4% vs. 7.3%; shares +0.8% after hours
    • BMO Financial (BMO's U.S. unit): 9% vs. 7.6%
    • Comerica (NYSE:CMA): 9% vs. 8.6%
    • Huntington Bancshares (NASDAQ:HBAN): 9% vs. 7.4%
    • HSBC North America (NYSE:HSBC): 8.9% vs. 6.6%
    • U.S. Bancorp (NYSE:USB): 8.5% vs. 8.2%
    • Regions Financial (NYSE:RF): 8.3% vs. 8.9%
    • Citigroup (NYSE:C): 8.2% vs. 7.2%
    • SunTrust (NYSE:STI): 8.2% vs. 8.8%
    • BB&T (NYSE:BBT): 8.1% vs. 8.4%
    • MUFG Americas Holdings (NYSE:MTU): 8% vs. 8.1%
    • Ally Financial (NYSE:ALLY): 7.9% vs. 6.3%
    • Fifth Third Bancorp (NASDAQ:FITB): 7.9% vs. 8.4%
    • Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC): 7.5% vs. 8.2%
    • M&T Bank (NYSE:MTB): 7.3% vs. 6.2%
    • Bank of America (NYSE:BAC): 7.1% vs. 5.9%; shares +2.1% after hours
    • JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM): 6.5% vs. 6.3%
    • BBVA Compass (NYSE:BBVA): 6.3% vs. 8.5%
    • Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS): 6.3% vs. 6.9%
    • Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS): 6.2% vs. 6.1%
    • Zions Bancorp (NASDAQ:ZION): 5.1% vs. 3.6%; shares -1.7% after hours
    • The lenders were also informed today whether their capital return plans would put them below the Fed's 5% threshold, giving them a 6-day window with which to change those requests, if need be. Last year, both BofA and Goldman scaled back their dividend/buyback requests, allowing them to pass the CCAR. This year's CCAR results will be announced on Wednesday.
    • 2015 Stress Test Methodology and Results
  • 7:58 PM
    • With ratings-challenged Viacom (VIA, VIAB) planning to "pull all the levers" on cost control at a 10,000-employee organization, today an ax fell at its nostalgia-focused channel TV Land -- one of the hardest hit by ratings down 26% so far.
    • Layoffs there will be largely in PR and marketing.
    • The company is "making changes in three of our domestic network groups, creating two new organizations." After music chief Van Toffler's departure, channels are being consolidated into a Music and Entertainment Group, and a Kids and Family Group, which includes TV Land.
    • Earlier, Deutsche Bank launched coverage on Viacom with a Buy rating and a price target of $83. VIA closed today down 1.2% to $70.37.
    • Previously: Viacom reportedly prepping companywide layoffs (Feb. 23 2015)
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  • 7:49 PM
    • The WSJ reports Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) U.S. mobile phone service will initially feature just one phone - the mammoth Nexus 6 phablet, originally designed by Google and made by Lenovo's (OTCPK:LNVGY) Motorola Mobility unit. iPhone fans are out of luck, as are those who prefer more modestly-sized Android hardware.
    • The paper adds the service might launch by month's end. As previously rumored, it will rely on Sprint (NYSE:S) and T-Mobile's (NYSE:TMUS) networks, along with Wi-Fi hotspots.
    • For those curious, the Nexus 6 has a 6" quad-HD (2560x1440) OLED display, a 13MP rear camera with optical image stabilization, 4K video recording support, and a large f/2.0 aperture, and Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) high-end Snapdragon 805 processor (quad-core, 2.7GHz.). Naturally, it runs on an unmodified version of Android 5.0 (Lollipop).
    • The report suggests Google will try to avoid ruffling the feathers of its U.S. carrier partners by limiting the amount of hardware supported by its phone service ... and that it will have it act as a showcase for what it thinks mobile services should be like (as suggested by Sundar Pichai) by offering the services through its favorite devices.
    • Separately, Google has launched its long-rumored U.S. car insurance shopping site in California (more states will come later). Google asserts the site, known as Google Compare, can provide price quotes for various providers in "as little as 5 minutes."
    • A U.K. version of Google Compare has been running for two years. Like rival car insurance shopping sites, Google will get a referral fee on sales; major insurers such as MetLife and Mercury Insurance are on board.
  • 7:44 PM
    • Volkswagen (OTCQX:VLKAY) will announce a $1B investment in Mexico next week, sources tell Reuters.
    • The funds are earmarked for the company's plant in Pueblo.
    • Last year, the German automaker produced over 475K vehicles in Mexico to feed demand in the Americas.
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  • 7:39 PM
    • A major winter storm which is sweeping across a wide part of the eastern and southern part of the U.S. impacted air travel.
    • The number of flight cancellations today totaled over 5,300 with SkyWest (NASDAQ:SKYW), Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV), Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL), American Airlines Group (NASDAQ:AAL) and Republic Airlines (NASDAQ:RJET) all hit hard.
    • Weather has also played a factor in the retail sector. Several mall-based chains blamed Mother Nature for the year-over-year drop in traffic during February.
    • Previously: U.S. retailers warn on cold snap impact
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  • 7:23 PM
    • U.S. inventories are at their highest levels in at least 80 years, and the U.S. is running out of places to store it, prompting some analysts to predict already depressed prices could spiral even lower.
    • When storage is full, there is pressure on those holding oil in storage to "dump that inventory,” says the CEO of energy consulting firm Perry Management, who believes the space shortage could cause prices to drop to as low as $30/bbl.
    • U.S. oil production rose for the fourth consecutive week to a rate of 9.3M bbl/day, even as drilling rigs are being idled at a rapid clip; U.S. inventories also rose, for the eighth straight week, jumping 2.4% to 444M barrels, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports.
    • Producers are pumping nearly 1.5M bbl/day more crude than the world needs, due to a combination of slowing demand and rising production in the U.S., meaning oil put in storage today could be there for years; should the glut worsen, more producers could be forced to shut their wells, effectively storing the oil in the ground.
    • Storage operators at Cushing, Okla., including Plains All American (NYSE:PAA) and Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX), said recently they expect the tanks there to hit capacity - currently they are about two-thirds full.
  • 7:04 PM
    • The WSJ reports Life Time Fitness (NYSE:LTM) is in talks to be taken private.
    • The gym owner's shares haven't yet moved AH, but that could soon change. Life Time currently sports a $2.26B market cap.
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  • 6:56 PM
    • Peabody Energy’s (NYSE:BTU) borrowing ability is being capped by lenders who are extracting concessions in return for allowing the company to raise $1B in the bond market, Bloomberg reports.
    • BTU is said to have changed terms on its proposed second-lien notes, which would have allowed it to issue another $1B of junior-ranking debt; that limit has been cut to $500M, and may borrow an additional $500M if it is successful in raising $250M in equity.
    • A successful deal would mean BTU’s next significant debt maturity would not arrive until 2018, according to Bloomberg.
  • 6:55 PM
    • So far, Sling TV -- Dish Network's (NASDAQ:DISH) direct over-the-top subscription service streaming live TV for $20/month -- is turning out as popular as you would think "unbundled ESPN" might.
    • The service has been online just a month but has drawn 100,000 subscribers, Re/code reports.
    • Still unclear is how many people have stuck it out after a free one-week trial, but the early results are "encouraging," one exec says.
    • The other thing that comes to mind when thinking about Sling TV's popularity: If it gets too popular, ESPN -- a clear key draw for the service as it's only otherwise available through traditional channels, where it draws huge per-subscriber fees -- reportedly has the right to pull out.
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  • 6:51 PM
    • Crossroads (NASDAQ:CRDS) blames its 47% Y/Y FQ1 sales drop on a $600K drop in custom development revenue, together with an expected drop in OEM revenue for its SPHiNX virtual tape/backup system. Product revenue fell 30% Y/Y to $862K, and IP license, royalty, and other revenue 55% to $1.31M.
    • Gross margin fell to 73% from 85% a year ago; Crossroads blames product mix changes. Operating expenses fell 9% Y/Y to $3.55M; sales/marketing and R&D spend both fell, while G&A was nearly flat.
    • Thanks to its stock/warrant offering, Crossroads ended FQ1 with $8.4M in cash, up from $4.9M at the end of FQ4. Shares have fallen to $2.81 AH.
    • FQ1 results, PR
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