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  • Today - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

  • 2:15 AM
    • Sony's (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation TV set-top box will hit stores in the U.S. on Oct. 14, with a $99 price-tag for a standalone unit.
    • Earlier this month, Sony signed a deal to carry 22 Viacom channels, including Comedy Central and MTV, but still has not announced the launch date for its online TV service.
    • The PS TV will also allow users to access movies, TV episodes and games from the PlayStation store.
    | Comment!
  • 1:52 AM
    • The Federal Trade Commission is debating whether to file an antitrust lawsuit to block Sysco's (NYSE:SYY) $3.5B proposed merger with US Foods, which was announced last December.
    • Antitrust concerns focus on whether the merger will drive up costs, as the two companies combined would make up more than 25% of the $231B U.S. food-distribution industry.
    • The FTC is also exploring alternatives to require Sysco and US Foods to divest assets to competitors.
    • SYY -1.5% AH
    | Comment!
  • 12:00 AM
     
  • Monday, September 22, 2014

  • 7:25 PM
    • Siemens (OTCPK:SIEGY) lost out to GE for Alstom's gas turbine business earlier this year but has now acquired Dresser-Rand (NYSE:DRC), a major supplier of equipment such as compressors and gas turbines used to exploit shale resources.
    • But Siemens is paying up for the privilege, writes Heard On The Street's Thao Hua, at more than 14x the consensus estimate for Dresser's 2015 EBITDA - higher than previous deals in the sector and far higher than Siemens' own multiple of ~9x.
    • The rate of growth in the gas turbine sector is falling, estimated to hit a trough in 2015 by Siemens' own metrics; the company expects the market will heat up again at an assumed annual growth rate of 6%-8%, but that remains to be seen.
    • In terms of synergies, Siemens' scale and wide reach present opportunities to raise DRC's margins and revenue growth, but expectations of €150M ($192M) of annual synergies isn't expected to be reached until 2019.
    | Comment!
  • 7:24 PM
    • Re/code: "Based on conversations with people familiar with Apple’s (AAPL +0.1%) thinking: Apple won’t shutter the [Beats Music] streaming service. It may, however, modify it over time, and one of those changes could involved changing the Beats Music brand."
    • Re/code's report follows one from TechCrunch stating Apple is planning to shut down Beats Music and "sunset the Beats Music brand." Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr says TechCrunch's report is "not true," but doesn't elaborate.
    • Gene Munster estimates ~8M of the 10M+  iPhone 6 units Apple sold over the weekend wound up being purchased by consumers, with the remaining ~2M going into the channel. That implies 45% consumer sell-through growth over estimated first-weekend iPhone 5S sales of 5.5M.
    • Patently Apple notes Apple has filed a patent application for a new sapphire glass-strengthening process. The application relates to the use of coatings on a material such as sapphire.
    • GT Advanced (GTAT +1%), whose shares were hit hard by news that the iPhone 6 (unlike the Apple Watch) doesn't use sapphire cover glass, closed higher today. Last week, Time took a look at the technology challenges that may have led Apple to opt against using sapphire cover glass for the iPhone 6.
    | 5 Comments
  • 7:14 PM
    • Tumbling iron ore prices and the Ebola outbreak are causing distress for mining companies that invested in a risky corner of West Africa; among those is London Mining (OTC:LIIGF), who says it may end an iron ore supply contract with Glencore (OTCPK:GLCNF, OTCPK:GLNCY) over a payment dispute.
    • Analysts say Glencore may be seeking to renegotiate a more favorable cash-for-ore deal, as Glencore's move looks much like previous episodes when the company has stepped in to rescue - and then take control of - distressed companies.
    • London Mining's off-take deal with Glencore, which advances it cash for future iron ore deliveries, is one of its few sources of working capital.
    | Comment!
  • 6:49 PM
    • Carbo Ceramics (NYSE:CRR) plunged 16% today after saying it expects sales of its proppants to fall as oil and gas producers used more natural sand.
    • "The near-term uncertainty due to operators increasingly experimenting with raw sand are worse than we previously expected and is creating price weakness for ceramics,” Sterne Agee wrote today as it downgraded CRR to Neutral from Buy and slashed its price target to $88 from $154.
    • DA Davidson cut shares to Underperform from Buy and lowered its target to $64 from $150, as the slower growth and negative impact on margins from pricing pressure on ceramics leads the firm to believe the stock may not command a premium multiple.
    • Howard Weil, in cutting its price target to $105 from $133, says it now appears that the increased white sand demand is creating more near-term displacement of CRR's product than simply one customer, and introducing pricing pressure into the ceramic market (Briefing.com).
    | Comment!
  • 6:39 PM
    • With the help of a 24/7 information center that would provide the last known position of missing/out-of-contact aircraft, Iridium's (NASDAQ:IRDM) Aireon air traffic surveillance venture plans to provide free emergency flight-tracking.
    • The service is expected to launch in 2017, and will cover both commercial airliners and other planes featuring the needed navigation equipment. Aireon's offer comes amid surging interest in satellite-based air surveillance following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
    • Presumably, Aireon wants to up-sell users of its emergency flight-tracking service on its paid core service, which will use precise location data for planes flying outside of ground radar coverage to help pilots select more efficient flight paths, and thereby save fuel and lower travel times.
    • Last December: Aireon receives funding, promises payments to Iridium
    | Comment!
  • 6:27 PM
    • The WSJ reports Allergan (NYSE:AGN) is "in advanced talks" to buy Salix (NASDAQ:SLXP) in an all-cash deal after turning down an offer from Actavis (NYSE:ACT). The paper adds an Allerga/Salix deal, meant to thwart Valeant's (NYSE:VRX) hostile bid for Allergan, could be announced "late this week or next."
    • A source says Actavis is still interested in buying Allergan, but only through a "friendly" deal. Whereas Valeant has suggested it would pare back Allergan's R&D spend should its hostile bid succeed, Actavis has reportedly promised to keep Allergan's R&D spend intact.
    • The WSJ originally reported of Allergan's interest in Salix in August. Soon after that, Bloomberg reported talks were "dormant" for the time being.
    • SLXP +15.8% AH. AGN +1.4%. ACT +0.6%.
    | 1 Comment
  • 6:23 PM
    • SAExploration (NASDAQ:SAEX) +9.9% AH after saying it received a project award extension for an existing contract in Alaska and three new project awards for logistical support and seismic data acquisition services in Alaska and South America with a total value of ~$40M.
    • The project award extension in Alaska will lengthen a contract in place for 2015 through the 2016 winter season; SAE also plans to initiate operations on a new, unrelated project in Alaska and two new projects in South America during Q3.
    | 1 Comment
  • 6:12 PM
    • Six global energy companies - including Southwestern Energy (NYSE:SWN), Statoil (NYSE:STO), Eni (NYSE:E) and BG Group (OTCPK:BRGXF, OTCQX:BRGYY) - reportedly have agreed to work to reduce emissions of methane in partnership with more than a dozen national governments through a new United Nations framework.
    • Officials from the UN and governments that back curbing emissions are increasingly looking to push companies and emerging economies to take voluntary steps to reduce emissions, since the international community has failed to adopt strict binding regulations.
    | 3 Comments
  • 6:01 PM
     
    • S&P -0.15%.
    • 10-yr flat.
    • Euro -0.02% vs. dollar.
    • Crude -0.09% to $90.76.
    • Gold -0.04% to $1,215.40.
    | Comment!
  • 5:51 PM
    • Genesis Energy (NYSE:GEL) -4.9% AH on news of a public offering of 4M common units, with an underwriters option to purchase another 600K units.
    • GEL plans to use the proceeds for general partnership purposes, including funding acquisitions including organic growth projects or repaying a portion of the borrowings outstanding under its revolving credit facility.
    | Comment!
  • 5:42 PM
    • Randall Weisenberger, Omnicom's (NYSE:OMC) CFO since January 1999, is leaving to "return to private equity." He'll be replaced by Phil Angelastro, who has been the ad giant's finance SVP and controller since 2002.
    • Shares -0.7% AH.
    | Comment!
  • 5:42 PM
    • Norway's government says it will outline plans next spring regarding the electrification of the $20B Johan Sverdrup oil field in the North Sea.
    • But it does not say what it would propose about the timetable for providing power from land to the field, after the Norwegian oil directorate agreed with joint operator Statoil (NYSE:STO) in saying it would not be possible to provide power from land to the giant field before it starts producing oil in 2019 without significantly delaying its development.
    • The project was thrown in doubt earlier this year when opposition political parties called for the use of electricity from shore rather than generating it on the platforms with natural gas or diesel.
    | Comment!
  • 5:35 PM
  • 5:35 PM
    • Top gainers, as of 5:15 p.m.: NM +7.5%. GIMO +5.9%. CLD +5.3%. SM +5.2%. KEG +4.8%.
    • Top losers, as of 5:15 p.m.: ASNA -11.1%. AVNR -6.0%. GEL -4.9%. APTS -4.4%. VIAB -3.2%.
    | Comment!
  • 5:34 PM
    • Yahoo's (YHOO -5.6%) remaining 384M-share Alibaba stake is worth $34 pre-tax, but perhaps only $21/share post-tax, estimates Bernstein's Carlos Kirjner, who downgraded shares earlier today. "This makes it clear why the tax treatment of the Alibaba stake is such an important swing factor for the value of the stock."
    • Kirjner thinks Yahoo could be worth $44/share on a sum-of-the-parts basis. He suspects Yahoo's discount to this valuation stems from " the risk perceived by the market that Yahoo!’s management will invest some of the cash it currently has .. in ways that could destroy value."
    • He also points out Yahoo's bottom line is about to be hurt by the ending of Alibaba royalty payments (~$120M over the last 12 months). FBR's William Bird does the same, and also observes a 1-year lockup agreement exists for Yahoo's remaining Alibaba stake.
    • "It’s going to be a very interesting fall ... And it could go either way," Kara Swisher reports hearing a Yahoo exec tell her. By "either way," the exec meant Yahoo could either make a big acquisition, or become an M&A target itself (previous).
    • Swisher notes many rumors claim Yahoo has been looking for a major ad tech purchase, and that the company is also likely to eye content companies. However, she once more throws cold water on rumors Yahoo is looking to buy AOL. "In all my checking of numerous sources, this is not in process and such a deal seems just a fervent hope of [AOL] CEO Tim Armstrong."
    | 12 Comments
  • 5:30 PM
  • 5:22 PM
    • Total (NYSE:TOT) says its joint venture with Russia’s Lukoil (OTCPK:LUKOY, OTC:LUKOF) to explore shale oil in western Siberia has been halted as a result of western sanctions, a clear sign that the latest round of sanctions against Russia over Ukraine will put a brake on plans to develop the country’s shale oil resources.
    • TOT also is developing the $27B Yamal liquefied natural gas project with Russia's Novatek and China’s CNPC, but CEO Christophe de Margerie says he hopes Yamal can raise financing from western banks but not in dollars, adding that the Chinese had committed to cover 60% of Yamal’s financing needs.
    • The comments come as TOT used an investor day to announce plans to sell $10B worth of assets during 2015-17.
    | 3 Comments
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