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  • Today - Saturday, August 30, 2014

  • 6:15 PM
    • Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has a target date of October 13 for its NYSE launch, according to Fiat (OTCPK:FIATY) CEO Sergio Marchionne.
    • major merger hurdle was cleared this week by Fiat to help keep the reorganization on track.
    • Paying for Fiat's five-year, €48B ($64B) growth plan could be a challenge. Marchionne says a decision on a capital increase will be made in October after the new FCA shares are trading hands.
    • What to watch: Chrysler has had strong sales in the U.S. this year and is tipped by Kelley Blue Book to show double-digit growth for August. Automobile industry analysts think the NYSE listing could provide another jolt for the brand and help reinforce the trend of the Big Three (GM, F) out-performing some foreign automakers (Volvo, Volkswagen, Hyundai) unable to compete at scale.
    | Comment!
  • Friday, August 29, 2014

  • 6:55 PM
    • RadioShack (NYSE:RSH) shares have racked up four straight double-digit percentage gains on surging volume since speculation began Tuesday that the company would get a rescue financing package to help stave off bankruptcy.
    • Standard General reportedly has held talks with RSH about ways to finance some or all of the company’s debt, including the loan package provided by its term lenders; paying down the debt could give RSH enough leeway to close a large number of underperforming stores, helping the company burn less cash.
    • On Thursday more than 50M RSH shares changed hands, the single highest one-day amount for the stock since at least 1984, and another 40M traded today, indicating a heavy retail trade plus a big short squeeze.
    • Analyst sentiment remains heavily negative: RSH “needs much more than just a refinance in order to correct the overhanging issue of ongoing fundamental weakness," said B. Riley’s Scott Tighman, the analyst with a $0 price target on the stock.
  • 4:41 PM
    • Shortly after the NYT and others reported Time Warner has ended talks to buy a stake in Vice Media, the FT has reported Vice is wrapping up a deal to sell a 10% stake to A&E Networks for $250M. The deal's $2.5B valuation is well above the $1.4B valuation Vice received while selling a 5% stake to Fox last year.
    • Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Hearst each own 50% of A&E. Thus, the deal would give Disney a 5% indirect stake in Vice. The media giant only 5 months removed from agreeing to buy YouTube content provider Maker Studios for up to $950M.
    • Vice's assets include the site, a large network of online content channels, a TV studio, and a branding agency. Its viewer base skews young.
    • The FT adds Vice will "produce digital and cable programming for A&E as part of the deal," but won't take over any of A&E's channels.
    • Vice CEO Shane Smith: "It’s a great deal for us ... It means we can preserve our independence and it gives us a war chest for another three years of dramatic growth."
    | 1 Comment
  • 2:39 PM
    • Moody's upgrades the credit rating of Michaels Company (MIK -0.4%) after seeing the company use some of its IPO cash to lower its debt load.
    • The rating goes to B1 from B2 on a stable outlook from the agency and reflects its view of Michaels' scale and strong market position.
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  • 2:09 PM
    • Kraft Foods Group (KRFT +0.6%) recalls over 7.6K cases of different varieties of regular Kraft American Singles Pasteurized Prepared Cheese in the U.S.
    • The recall action is due to a supplier that didn't store the product under the proper temperature standards.
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  • 1:45 PM
    • Time Warner (TWX) has ended talks to buy a stake in Vice Media, sources tell The New York Times.
    • Negotiations got tripped up on what the media concern's valuation should be for purposes of striking a deal price.
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  • 1:05 PM
    • Coca-Cola Life made its U.S. and Mexico debut this week in a limited roll-out.
    • The company is using The Fresh Market (TFM -0.7%) selling channel to test U.S. response to the stevia-sweetened soda drink, while a broader launch in Mexico is underway.
    • By the numbers: Coca-Cola Life contains 60 calories per 8-ounce can vs. 93 calories for regular Coke.
    • What to watch: The new drink is an attempt by Coca-Cola to create a mid-calorie segment splash which has been a losing proposition for beverage industry peers in the past. Execs think a different marketing spin will take Coca-Cola Life over the top.
  • 11:35 AM
    • Audi (OTCQX:VLKAY) recalls 70K vehicles due to a potential issue with the brake booster.
    • Diesel varieties of the Audi A4, A5, A6, A7, and Q7 models from 2012 are part of the recall.
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  • 11:16 AM
    • Energizer (ENR -0.6%) sets its corporate lineup for the Personal Care and Household Products businesses after the separation of the company sometime before next summer.
    • Ward Klein, currently CEO at Energizer, will be the Executive Chairman of the Board of the Personal Care entity.
    • J. Patrick Mulcahy, currently Chairman of the Board of Directors at Energizer, will serve as the Executive Chairman of the Board of the Household Products entity.
    • The full slate of officers for each business have also been determined.
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  • 11:08 AM
    • Comments out of China from BYD Company's Wang Chuanfu are creating a stir in the electric vehicle industry.
    • Chuanfu maintains that a new consumer tax on gas is being considered by Beijing.
    • He notes that even a 0.2 yuan per liter tax adds up to "hundreds of billions" which could be funneled by the government to support EV infrastructure and development programs.
    • Tesla Motors (TSLA +2.3%) printed an all-time high of $270.60 earlier with the China news helping to boost sentiment a bit.
  • 10:27 AM
  • 10:15 AM
    • Traffic is still exceedingly strong at Chipotle (CMG -0.5%) stores, tips OTR Global.
    • Chipotle has been implementing price increases on a variety of menu items.
    • Same-store sales for Chipotle dazzled in Q2 with a 17.3% Y/Y rise.
    • Last week, Cleveland Research came up with the same conclusion as OTR Global on Q3 trends at Chipotle.
  • 10:07 AM
    • Hershey (HSY -0.5%) initiates a corporate brand makeover which includes a new logo with more of its well-known brands integrated into the design.
    • The company says the new branding will help it present itself as a modern innovative company in global marketing campaigns.
    | 1 Comment
  • 9:53 AM
    • Molson Coors (TAP -0.1%) appoints a new CEO for its Europe business.
    • Simon Cox, formerly the company's top exec for the U.K. and Ireland, will take over the position in 2015.
    • The beer giant's Europe business saw a 1.3% sales volume drop in Q2.
    | Comment!
  • 9:47 AM
    • Mattress Firm (MFRM +0.5%) says it has entered an agreement to acquire most of the assets and operations of the Back to Bed and Bedding Experts retail chains for $60M.
    • The deal will see the company add 135 mattress specialty retail stores to its store count.
    • Mattress Firm will cash and revolver borrowing to finance the acquistion.
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  • 9:38 AM
    • Kandi Technologies (KNDI -8.5%) announces it entered into an agreement with select institutional investors for a $71M registered placement of common stock at a price of $17.20 per share.The company says the proceeds from the offering will be used for general working corporate purposes.
    • Previous: Kandi Technologies higher after report of China gas tax
  • 9:23 AM
    • Clarkson Capital lowers its price target on Frontline (NYSE:FRO) to $2.50.
    • SA contributor Investor RockieK warns that "significant" dilution or a sale by Frontline of multiple vessels could be just beyond the horizon as the company tries to meet obligations.
    • FRO -6.7% premarket to $2.10.
    | Comment!
  • 9:17 AM
    • Wells Fargo MPEL)+(NYSE:MGM)+(NYSE:LVS)+(NASDAQ:WYNN)/9793164.html" target="_blank">warns that revenue growth in Macau is falling off in the last part of August.
    • Analyst Cameron McKnight says average daily revenue fell off 10% W/W last week to put the month on track to see a negative single-digit drop.
    • Total casino revenue growth in Macau slowed to 5.5% in Q2, although the region's total haul of $11.4B still easily topped action in Las Vegas.
    | 1 Comment
  • 9:01 AM
    • Shares of Kandi Technologies Group (NASDAQ:KNDI) are higher in early trading after BYD Company Wang Chunafu says China is considering implementing a gas tax on consumers.
    • There hasn't been any official confirmation from the Chinese government on the matter.
    • KNDI +2.2% premarket
    | 1 Comment
  • 8:10 AM
    • Reynolds American (NYSE:RAI) and Lorillard (NYSE:LO) disclose that they received an additional request from the FTC in connection with the pending merger between the two tobacco giants.
    • The companies still expect the merger and the related divestiture of brands to Imperial Tobacco (OTCQX:ITYBY) to close in the first half of 2015.
    | Comment!
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