Thursday, February 26, 2015
- Reactions to the FCC's landmark net neutrality vote from the telecom industry were unsurprisingly negative -- though perhaps surprisingly vintage in a few cases.
- Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) says the move is "certain to lead to years of litigation" and that it doesn't believe provisions "adopted when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president should be stretched to govern the 21st century Internet."
- AT&T (NYSE:T) -- who had already threatened certain litigation -- is no stranger to weighing in on its policy blog, where today it feared "revisiting the decision, over and over and over": "Instead of a clear set of rules moving forward, with a broad set of agreement behind them, we once again face the uncertainty of litigation, and the very real potential of having to start over – again – in the future."
- Verizon (NYSE:VZ) -- which hastily issued a manually "typewritten" release dated 1934 -- doubled down on their blog with a statement in Morse code.
- Charter (NASDAQ:CHTR) expects the action will "add fees to customer bills, create regulatory uncertainty and lead to years of litigation."
- Several parties are noting the same key issue: We haven't read the order yet. The details of the document, when they come, are likely only to set off a new round of pointed reactions.
- More reactions, including the positive side
- Previously: Facing new broadband era after FCC vote, related stocks stable for now (Feb. 26 2015)
- A unit of SunTrust Equity Funding (NYSE:STI) has agreed to buy DreamWorks Animation's (NASDAQ:DWA) Glendale, Calif., campus for $185M and lease it back to the studio, a move that should inject quick cash into the faltering moviemaker.
- The terms are a 20-year lease for $13.2M, increasing 1.5% per year.
- After losing nearly a quarter-million dollars in Q4, DreamWorks said it was increasing a revolving line of credit and was preparing to sell its HQ in order to gain liquidity.
- Source 8-K
- Previously: DreamWorks pummeled after brutal quarter; rough year ahead (Feb. 24 2015)
- Lamar Advertising (NASDAQ:LAMR) traded 2% higher today as JPMorgan Chase raised its price target today to $60, from $54. Lamar closed today at $59.03.
- The move up came despite a Citi downgrade, to Neutral from Buy ... though Citi raised its price target as well, to $61, from $55, admitting: "If Lamar is successful attracting REIT investors to the outdoor category, our downgrade may be premature. But, we suspect the likelihood of material multiple expansion is modest."
- The company beat revenue expectations in Q4 results it reported yesterday.
- Previously: Lamar Advertising declares $0.68 distribution (Feb. 26 2015)
- Previously: Lamar Advertising EPS of $2.18 (Feb. 25 2015)
- NTELOS Holdings (NASDAQ:NTLS) moved 3.2% higher today after indicating its Western refocus (West Virginia and western Virginia) is taking root.
- The company's exit from eastern Virginia caused a December selloff, down 45%. Shares are trading about 8% higher since their close Dec. 2 of $4.46.
- Pro forma results for the Western markets in Q4: Revenues up 9% to $96.7M; EBITDA of $30.2M, up 10%. Churn in Western markets was slightly higher, 2.2% vs. the prior 2.1%.
- "Revenue and EBITDA numbers came in higher than expected, with NTLS's strategic refocus on its western markets showing signs of improvements (7.8K postpay net adds in its western footprint)," said Wells Fargo's Jennifer Fritzsche.
- The company expects to complete winding down Eastern operations by Nov. 15 and cut the subscriber base roughly in half; last week it closed a first installment of a tower sale that made up much of the company's planned tower divestment.
- Press release; Q4 earnings
- Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is the highest quality large cap story in the restaurant sector, according to a bullish note from Jefferies.
- The revival in U.S. restaurant traffic sets up well for Starbucks which is pushing new growth channels in food and tea.
- The investment firm took its price target on SBUX up to $108 on confidence EPS growth can stay comfortably at a double-digit rate.
- Piper and Wedbush are also in the Starbucks $100 PT club.
- Aereo -- the streaming-TV service that cratered after it lost to broadcasters before the Supreme Court last summer -- hoped to get $4M-$31M at its bankruptcy auction, but were picked clean for less than $2M total by 10 bidders.
- TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO) picked up Aereo's customer list and trademark, and patent risk-management company RPX (NASDAQ:RPXC) got the patents. "We are very disappointed," said Aereo lawyer William Baldiga.
- Meanwhile in the key litigation, a lower court is determining how much in damages Aereo owes angry broadcasters (DIS, CBS, FOXA, CMCSA), and it's likely to be in the tens of millions of dollars.
- In addition to missing Q4 revenue estimates (while posting in-line EPS), Weight Watchers (NYSE:WTW) has guided for 2015 EPS of $0.40-$0.70, well below a $1.43 consensus.
- With top-line pressures refusing to abate, the company has also announced a $100M cost-cutting initiative. It "intends to finalize plans to resize its organization" in Q1.
- As of the end of Q4, Meeting subscribers were down 13.3% Y/Y to 1.055M, and Online subscribers 16.7% to 1.454M. Paid weeks declined 7% to 40.2M.
- Shares have fallen to $15.05 AH, making new 52-week lows in the process.
- Q4 results, PR
- Patricia Little, currently the CFO of staffing services firm Kelly Services (NASDAQ:KELYA), has been named Hershey's (NYSE:HSY) new CFO, effective March 16.
- Hershey's last permanent CFO, David Tacka, announced in September he'd be retiring by the end of 2014. Accounting chief Richard McConville has been serving as interim CFO.
- Somebody's making money on SFX Entertainment (NASDAQ:SFXE) today -- the stock closed the regular session down 0.6% on quadruple average volume, but has turned higher in late trading, up 3.3%.
- After gaining 29.1% yesterday amid CEO Robert Sillerman's proposal to take the company private at $4.75/share -- it closed yesterday at $4.78 -- the stock moved 2.5M shares today and went as high as $5.25 before settling back at $4.76, almost at Sillerman's offer price.
- It's drawing $4.92 in after-hours trade, on little news aside from a rack of law firms lining up to investigate Sillerman's offer for fairness -- though many investors suspect Sillerman's offer is an attempt to shake loose the 30% of float that is short the stock, making a squeeze a potential factor.
- Previously: SFX Entertainment +29.7%, trades above CEO's go-private offer (Feb. 25 2015)
- Previously: SFX Entertainment +20.5% after CEO offers go-private deal (Feb. 25 2015)
6:54 PM| Comment!
- Nielsen's (NYSE:NLSN) board has unanimously OK'd a plan to move headquarters to the UK from its current home in the Netherlands, in an effort to broaden its investor base -- though it's not expecting a significant change to its taxation.
- The company says its U.S.-Netherlands tax treatment limits investment by those residing outside the two countries.
- The change is set to go before shareholders at Nielsen's annual meeting, and wouldn't change its NYSE listing. It's set to close in Q3.
- In continuing shakeups at the top after Amy Pascal's departure, Sony Pictures (NYSE:SNE) fires Digital chief Bob Osher, who was responsible for animation and visual effects.
- Osher was a bit of a "dead man walking" after the Sony hack revealed mails that said Osher might have to be let go, and showed Sony recruiting others to take over animation last summer.
- Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton wrote in a (leaked) 2014 mail to Pascal: “We just renewed Bob which is also a problem given what we will probably have to do. That being said we should do it."
- His responsibilities may go to Kristine Belson, recently hired away from DreamWorks to a new post as president of Sony Pictures Animation.
- Previously: Sony Pictures names TriStar's Rothman to top job (Feb. 24 2015)
- Previously: Pascal out as Sony motion picture chief; shares up (Feb. 05 2015)
5:02 PM| Comment!
- Herbalife (NYSE:HLF) Q4 results ($M): Total Revenues: 1,133.6 (-10.7%); North America: 204.8 (-2.6%); Mexico: 132.7 (-6.9%); South/Central America: 173.2 (-40.3%); EMEA: 200.2 (+1.3%); Asia Pacific: 245.6 (-12.2%); China: 177.1 (+19.3).
- Net Income: 103.3 (-16.4%); EPS: 1.21 (+5.2%); CF Ops: 61.9 (-68.4%); Quick Assets: (-33.7%).
- Volume Points: North America: 268.6 (-6.4%); Asia Pacific: 263.0 (-10.1%); EMEA: 215.5 (+17.2%); Mexico: 204.9 (-6.3%); South/Central America: 211.6 (-24.0%); China: 118.2 (+15.1%).
- 2015 Guidance: Volume Point Growth: (1.5 - 4.5%) from (0 - 3.0%); Net Sales Growth: (6.0 - 9.0%) from (1) - 2%; EPS: $4.10 - 4.50 from $5.45 - 5.75; CAPEX: $120M - 140M from $145M - 165M, Free Cash Flow: $430M - 460M from $470M - 500M.
- Q1 Guidance: Volume Point Growth: (5 - 8%); Net Sales Growth: (6.0 - 9.0%); EPS: $1.00 - 1.10.
- Shares up 2% after hours.
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