Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Friday, March 27, 2015

  • 2:50 AM
    • Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook plans to give away all his wealth after paying for the college education of his 10-year-old nephew, Fortune Magazine reports.
    • "You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripple for change," Cook stated.
    • Fortune estimates Cook's net worth, based on his holdings of Apple stock, at about $120M. He also holds restricted stock worth $665M if it were to be fully vested.
    | Comment!
  • 2:36 AM
    • Ruth Porat, who said earlier this week she would leave her job as Morgan Stanley's (NYSE:MS) finance chief to take the same role at Google (GOOG, GOOGL), will be paid more than $70M in the next two years through a combination of restricted stock units and a biennial grant.
    • She will also make more than most Wall Street CEOs, including her old boss, Morgan Stanley chief executive James Gorman, who was paid $18M in 2013.
    • Google's outgoing CFO Patrick Pichette was paid $62.2M for the three years through 2013.
    • Previously: Google hires new CFO from Morgan Stanley (Mar. 24 2015)
    | Comment!
  • 2:15 AM
    • An attorney for Salus Capital, RadioShack's (NYSE:RSH) largest creditor, blasted the electronics retailer's sale process yesterday, calling for the auction to be reopened.
    • "It's a charade, judge," Jay Goffman, told the court. Salus said in court papers it had bid $271M in cash, compared to Standard General's 16M in cash (and debt forgiveness).
    • RadioShack has asked Judge Brendan Shannon to sign off on the Standard General takeover, but Shannon said he will take until Monday to decide if it should be approved.
    • Previously: RadioShack lender asks judge to intervene (Mar. 26 2015)
    | Comment!
  • 1:49 AM
    • Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is in talks to buy online luxury retailer Net-a-Porter in what could be the biggest acquisition yet for the e-commerce giant, Women's Wear Daily reports.
    • Amazon has long coveted the high-end fashion retail sector and any deal for Net-a-Porter, which is owned by Swiss firm Compagnie Financire Richemont (OTCPK:CFRUY), could come with an approximate €2B price tag.
    | Comment!
  • 12:00 AM
     
  • Thursday, March 26, 2015

  • 7:16 PM
    • Voxeljet's (NYSE:VJET) Q4 revenue  of €6.94M ($7.56M) beat a €6.09M consensus. EPS of -€0.17 per ordinary share is equal to -€0.034 (-$0.037) per ADS, beating a -€0.05 consensus.
    • Also: The German 3D printer maker is affirming 2015 revenue guidance of €23M-€24M ($25.1M-$26.2M), above a €22.96M consensus.
    • Q4 systems revenue +72.8% Y/Y to €4.25M; services revenue +117.9% to €2.69M. Backlog +82% to €4.18M.
    • Gross margin rose to 43.9% from 37.2% in Q3 and 27.5% in Q4 2013. Operating expenses rose just 2% Y/Y to €3.81M.
    • Shares have jumped to $9.16 AH.
    • Q4 results, PR
    | 4 Comments
  • 7:15 PM
    • Timmins Gold (NYSEMKT:TGD) calls off a private placement worth up to $10M that had been announced on Feb. 17; the offering was priced at C$1.25/share, but shares currently are trading below C$1.
    • Also today, Orbite Aluminae (OTCQX:EORBF) called off an offering of debentures and warrants that was expected to raise as much as C$15.5M.
    • Six gold companies raised nearly $800M in the span of two days in January, but raising capital has been a challenge ever since; the one major offering that was announced in March - Silver Wheaton’s (NYSE:SLW) $800M bought-deal - was priced too high and led to big losses for the underwriters, and has put a chill in the mining financing market.
    | Comment!
  • 6:59 PM
    • Though Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) are squaring off more than ever following yesterday's Facebook F8 conference product launches, none of it is intentional, insists Mark Zuckerberg in a Wired interview.
    • Zuck: "To the extent that we are doing measurement and Google did measurement, that’s just because Google is smart and they also realize that measurement is valuable ... Same on the video front ... we are not thinking about how we are competing with YouTube. We are thinking about how are we going to make it more useful for people to share stuff on Facebook."
    • Facebook's launch of a mobile ad exchange (competes against Google's DoubleClick, leverages Facebook data) and embedded video support (YouTube dominates video embeds) has led to more than a few headlines declaring Facebook is out to take Google's lunch. The companies already compete in multiple ad markets.
    • On the mobile ad exchange front, at least, the competitive overlap might be less than some think. As Foreester's Jim Nail observes, DoubleClick's exchange, much like Google search, focuses on intent-based advertising (i.e. ads for items users have recently expressed interest in), while Facebook's natural strength is targeting based on a user's historical likes.
    • Other Facebook F8 news: 1) Facebook has provided details about Aquila, a solar-powered drone that will have a wingspan similar to a Boeing 767, and be used lasers to beam Web access to underserved regions. Google bought drone maker Titan Aerospace last year. 2) Oculus chief scientist Michael Abrash promises big things for virtual reality, once tech challenges are resolved. "Virtual reality -- done right -- truly is reality as far as the observer is concerned ... It's clear that VR has the potential to change almost everything about the way we live."
    • Yesterday: Zuck shares stats, launches Messenger app platform
    | 13 Comments
  • 6:57 PM
    • Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) names Luciano Coutinho, who has presided over development bank BNDES since 2007, to replace former Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega as the company's new Chairman.
    • Coutinho has been a PBR board member since 2008 and is considered a long-time ally of Brazil's Pres. Rousseff.
    • "The market wanted someone more independent, detached from the government... It’s more of the same, a bad choice," says the head of Rio-based consultancy CBIE.
    • The appointment, which must be ratified at the company’s next shareholders meeting, comes less than two months after Aldemir Bendine, a state banker backed by Rousseff’s party, replaced Maria das Gracas Foster as CEO.
    | 6 Comments
  • 6:38 PM
    • MetLife (NYSE:MET) is granted a six-month extension by the Fed and the FDIC to file its first plan showing how it could collapse without causing broader economic damage; it will now have to submit its first resolution plan by Dec. 31, 2016.
    • The regulators voted at the request of the judge presiding over MET's lawsuit challenging its designation as a "systemically important financial institution" last fall.
    • "Living will" plans, designed by companies with oversight from regulators, lay out a path that would allow the companies to declare bankruptcy if necessary without taxpayer assistance.
    | 2 Comments
  • 6:22 PM
    • Venezuela is seeking to recuse two arbitrators on a World Bank tribunal hearing in a dispute with ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), less than a year after the tribunal rejected a similar request regarding the same arbitrators.
    • Both had shown "a marked attitude against the Republic," according to the country's oil ministry.
    • The dispute stems from Hugo Chavez's 2007 takeover of COP's oil projects including two multi-billion dollar heavy oil operations; the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes said in a partial ruling last year that the move was unlawful.
    | 5 Comments
  • 6:18 PM
    • Voxeljet AG (NYSE:VJET): Q4 EPS of --€0.17 vs. --€0.85 in 4Q13
    • Revenue of €6.94M (+88.1% Y/Y).
    • Press Release
    | 3 Comments
  • 6:08 PM
    • ChinaCache International (NASDAQ:CCIH): FQ4 EPADS of -$0.13
    • Revenue of $54.6M (-2.7% Y/Y).
    • Press Release
    | Comment!
  • 6:00 PM
     
    • S&P +0.04%.
    • 10-yr +0.02%.
    • Euro -0.09% vs. dollar.
    • Crude -0.57% to $51.01.
    • Gold +0.02% to $1,203.70.
    | Comment!
  • 5:58 PM
    • BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) and P-E firm First Reserve have taken a joint stake worth ~$900M in the second phase of Mexico pipeline project Los Ramones, equivalent to 45% of the costs involved in the project's construction, according to the Pemex state-run oil company.
    • Pemex says the move is BLK's first ever infrastructure investment in Mexico.
    • Pemex said in September it would spend $2.5B on the second phase of the pipeline, which eventually will run from the U.S.-Mexico border to central Mexico to help satisfy growing demand for gas by boosting cheap imports from the U.S.
    | 3 Comments
  • 5:52 PM
    • In its 2014 10-K (just filed), ExOne (NASDAQ:XONE) states it has "concluded that there are material weaknesses in the design and operating effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as defined in SEC Regulation S-X."
    • The identified weaknesses: 1) "We did not maintain adequate control with respect to the application of [GAAP accounting]." 2) "Each of our primary locations (United States, Germany, Italy and Japan) utilizes separate and distinct [IT]  platforms to record, process and summarize transactions. As a result, our process to consolidate and report financial information is substantially a manual process and inherently subject to error." 3) "[B]ecause of internal control weaknesses identified with respect to our financial reporting process and [IT] systems, management was unable to complete an adequate review of either subsidiary or consolidated financial results at a sufficient level of precision to prevent or detect misstatements."
    • To address the issues, ExOne says it's changing its accounting/reporting process, overhauling its IT systems, and hiring more financial personnel.
    | 4 Comments
  • 5:49 PM
    • After oil's drop from more than $100/bbl to ~$50 in just months, oil producers are using hedges as a source of income rather than just as a form of insurance to lock in minimum prices for oil, Dow Jones reports.
    • Carrizo Oil & Gas (NASDAQ:CRZO), for example, has placed several hedges on ~12K bbl/day that guaranteed it at least $91/bbl on average, locking in a $166M gain which exceed its $163M in total revenue last quarter, and added new contracts guaranteeing a minimum price of $50/bbl for some of its oil this year and next as protection in case oil prices fall further.
    • Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR) dropped nearly all its oil hedges when crude was still priced at ~$80 in early November, earning $433M from the move and using the cash to cover operating costs and keep its investment grade credit rating.
    • Cashing in hedges is part of the survival strategy being used by Energy XXI (NASDAQ:EXXI), which booked a $377M loss in its latest quarter; it got $73M in January and February for cashing in some of this year's hedges, and put on new hedges at lower prices; similarly, Parsley Energy (NYSE:PE) says it brought in $63M in recent months by cashing in some of its hedges.
    • But companies are notoriously bad at choosing when to put on and take off hedges; though many U.S. oil firms, especially smaller producers, routinely use hedges to lock in prices, many were less hedged than usual heading into the oil price plunge that started last June.
    | 2 Comments
  • 5:40 PM
    • Following a search, Spirit Realty (NYSE:SRC) has named Phillip Joseph, Jr., formerly global treasurer at real estate owner Prologis, its new CFO, effective April 20.
    • Michael Bender, Spirit's old CFO, is moving over to the newly-created position of chief accounting officer.
    | Comment!
  • 5:39 PM
     
    • Top gainers, as of 5:15 p.m.: CMCM +12.8%. OXM +9.2%. SFY +4.9%. SGMS +4.3%. RICE +3.9%.
    • Top losers, as of 5:15 p.m.: WTI -6.6%. GME -5.7%. RH -5.1%. SGNT -3.9%. SSE -3.6%.
    | Comment!
  • 5:30 PM
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