Saturday, November 22, 2014
- G.M. (NYSE:GM) pressured Delphi to keep making the infamous faulty ignition switch and improve it, even though it couldn’t be fixed, an email released Friday shows.
- In 2005, two G.M. committees were pushing for a solution to the problem after it received reports of the switch failing when bumped, shutting down the engine and disabling key systems like power steering and airbags.
- On Thursday, Arizona became the first state to join consumers suing GM over the switches. Arizona AG Tom Horne wants fines of $10,000 for each of the hundreds of thousands of GM vehicles sold in violation of consumer-fraud law.
- GM is -21% YTD.
- SGL Group (OTCPK:SGLFF), who supplies carbon fibre reinforced parts for BMW's (OTCPK:BAMXY) electric cars, is in talks with several other carmakers to supply carbon fibre, CEO Juergen Koehler tells Wirtschaftswoche.
- "VW (OTCPK:VLKAF), in particular through Audi (OTCPK:AUDVF) and Lamborghini are also banking on high-volume use of carbon components. General Motors (NYSE:GM) has also hinted recently that they want to use more carbon. Porsche (OTCPK:POAHF) is also very active," he said, adding that new contracts would not be as big as the BMW venture.
- BMW's i-series, which cost it billions to develop, has had weak sales. BMW had sold less than 11,000 i3s by the end of September.
- SGL's main business is making graphite electrodes used to recycle scrap metal into steel. Its carbon fibre business accounted for just 2% of sales last year.
- SGL has already cut 1,400 of its 6,000 workforce.
- Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) plans to introduce Powermat wireless charging stations at close to 200 stores in the San Francisco region.
- The Powermat cuts out cords in the charging process by using a process called inductively coupled power transfer.
- A broader roll-out of the technology by Starbucks is planned across the U.S. and Europe within a year.
- General Motors (NYSE:GM) is also an early adopter of the Powermat wireless charging system with integration in the 2015 Cadillac ATS. The automaker is an investor in Powermat through its nimble VC arm.
- Duracell sits right smack in the middle of the Powermat innovation as the company with the brand and manufacturing capabilities to aim high. The swap of the business from profit-focused Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) to strategic-minded Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) sets up well for investments in long-term growth, note analysts.
Friday, November 21, 2014
- Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) has landed the rights to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a new Tina Fey/Robert Carlock comedy about a doomsday cult survivor living in NYC, for two seasons. The show's first season (13 episodes) arrives in March.
- The show, originally set to be aired by NBC, is the first one made by Fey and Carlock since 30 Rock. Several other 30 Rock vets are also on board.
- Recent Netflix deals: Between, Adam Sandler, The Weinstein Company
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- Dish Network (DISH +1.6%) signs a contract extension with Time Warner (TWX -0.5%) to end the blackout of CNN, TruTv, Cartoon Network, and other Turner properties on its slate of programming.
- The dispute between the media companies was a little bit nastier than most carriage fee tussles with more than a few shots traded (and landed) during the recent round of conference calls.
- Media analysts think Dish is a little bit more antagonistic than normal with its slimmed-down OTT product expected to launch by the end of the year.
- Ford (F -0.1%) announces that the 2015 F-150 will deliver 26 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg in the city for the version featuring the 2.7-liter EcoBoost 4x2 engine.
- The fuel economy for the aluminum-bodied F-150 tops the estimated rating on similar versions of the 2015 Chevy Silverado, 2015 Toyota Tundra, and 2015 Ram - although it's worth noting the 3.5-liter F-150 has a fuel economy rating below the 2015 Ram 3-liter EcoDiesel V6.
- The new F-150 2,7-liter EcoBoost version is also listed at 325 horsepower with a maximum towing capability of 8.5K pounds.
- HBO (NYSE:TWX) CEO Richard Plepler tells CNBC (video) that the new standalone online HBO product won't destroy the company's relationships with pay-TV operators or cannibalize subscriber totals.
- Plepler stays on script to maintain that the new streaming HBO service will capture "new" subscribers - meaning cord-cutters and cord-nevers - the company thinks were never going to jump into a bundled package anyway.
- The crucial decision on pricing will be determined later.
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- Perry Ellis (PERY +0.9%) indicates it will reject the pleas of institutional shareholders to explore a sale as it remains committed to an internal plan to grow profitability.
- The list of potential bidders for the apparel seller included Sequential Brands, Authentic Brands, and Sycamore Partners with some informal +$30 per share offers reported to have been offered up.
- Execs wouldn't give any insight into buyout speculation during the conference call yesterday.
- Earnings call transcript
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- The resignation of Sotheby's (BID +9.4%) CEO William Ruprecht is putting a charge into shares.
- The departure of the exec was highly anticipated with the old-world art culture of Ruprecht's tenure clashing with the hedge fund mentality of Sotheby's stakeholder Daniel Loeb.
- Ruprecht's exit was probably sealed when a leaked e-mail indicated he called Loeb "scum" to a colleague.
- Some analysts think Loeb will try to take Sotheby's private.
- Shares of Hibbett Sports (HIBB +7.2%) rally after the company reports Q3 earnings.
- The company's 0.6% comp didn't dazzle, but a lift in EPS guidance for the full year indicates a stronger Q4 is expected.
- Execs noted the early rush of cold weather sets up November sales to exceed expectations.
- Previously: Q3 results, Q3 highlights
- The NY Post reports Amazon (AMZN +1.7%) will launch an ad-supported video service next year that won't require a Prime subscription. "The main point is to bring in more users that you can eventually up-sell to Prime, or to get to a broader audience that doesn’t want to pay for Prime," says a source.
- The WSJ reported in March Amazon was prepping a free/ad-supported streaming service, but Amazon quickly denied it had plans to do so. The Post's sources state roughly half of Amazon's Prime subscriber base (recently estimated by RBC to total 40M-50M) uses Prime Instant Video.
- Netflix (NFLX -0.7%) is off slightly on a morning the Nasdaq is up 0.7%. The company (37M U.S. subs, 53M globally) has long been contending with ad-supported streaming services from Hulu and others.
- Yesterday: Amazon reportedly prepping travel service
- Update: An Amazon spokeswoman says the company hasn't "announced any plans" for an ad-supported services, but adds it's "often experimenting with new offers and experiences for customers."