Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Saturday, October 25, 2014

  • 3:24 PM
    • YELP has acquired Restaurant-kritik, a leading German restaurant reviews site, for an undisclosed sum. Restaurant-kritik claims 330K+ reviews for 94K+ restaurants.
    • Meanwhile, the parent company of popular Japanese restaurant review/guide site Tabelog has disclosed Yelp offered to buy Tabelog, and was turned down. Tabelog claims 5.82M reviews of nearly 790K Japanese restaurants.
    • News of both moves come in the wake of a post-earnings selloff caused by light Q4 guidance and slowing unique visitor growth. On its Q3 CC (transcript), Yelp noted international growth was affected by softer Google traffic, and suggested (when asked about slowing unique growth) the mobile shift was affecting PC traffic.
    • International monthly uniques totaled 30M in Q3, +40% Y/Y but -3% Q/Q. U.S. uniques totaled 109M, +22% Y/Y and +2% Q/Q. Mobile uniques still rose 46% to 73M.
    • "Google obviously continues to make changes on their side both competitively and algorithmically," observed CEO Jeremy Stoppelman. Yelp has been one of several firms to harshly criticize Google's integration of its own content within search results, and an EU settlement that requires Google to prominently show content from rival sites, but doesn't stop it from also showing its own content. Eric Schmidt recently defended Google's policies.
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  • Friday, October 24, 2014

  • 6:58 PM
    • Thanks in large part to a 41% increase in taxes, America Movil's (AMX -0.9%) Q3 net income fell 39% Y/Y to 10.1B pesos ($746M). EBITDA (adjusted for the Telekom Austria deal) rose 0.4% to 69.2B pesos ($5.1B).
    • On an adjusted basis, service revenue rose 3.8% to 198.6B pesos ($14.6B), a slight improvement from Q2's 3.6% growth. Equipment revenue rose 6.2% to 22.2B pesos ($1.6B), and costs/expenses 5.8% to 151.7B pesos ($11.2B).
    • Total wireless lines +0.1% Q/Q and +0.5% Y/Y to 286.8M. Mexican lines fell 1.1% Q/Q to 70.5M amid regulatory pressure, but Brazilian lines rose 1.3% to 69.6M, and U.S. lines (via TracFone's prepaid services)1.5% to 25.9M.
    • Wireline revenue-generating units (RGUs) rose 1.8% Q/Q and 6.8% Y/Y to 77.6M. Mexican RGUs fell 0.1% Q/Q to 22.2M, while Brazilian RGUs rose 3.1% to 35.6M (~46% of total RGUs).
    • Net debt fell by $2.3B during the quarter to $36.2B.
    • AMX used its Q3 CC to state its isn't currently talking to anyone about a T-Mobile USA (TMUS +1.3%) acquisition. A German magazine speculated yesterday (while reporting Deutsche Telekom is still open to a T-Mobile sale) AMX could bid for T-Mobile.
    • Earnings Release (.pdf)
  • 5:16 PM
    • A Brazilian site has reported acquisition-hungry Alibaba (BABA +1.4%) is looking for local M&A targets. Latin American e-commerce giant MercadoLibre (MELI +4.4%), which gets a large chunk of its revenue from Brazil, rallied today.
    • Alibaba already has a sizable Brazilian presence courtesy of its AliExpress site, which sells Chinese goods at wholesale prices to non-Chinese consumers. An estimated 12M+ Brazilians visited AliExpress (available in Portuguese) in July. Steep local prices for various consumer goods has boosted Alibaba's appeal.
    • Altogether, Alibaba's international commerce revenue rose 31% Y/Y in calendar Q2 to $237M, and made up 9% of total revenue.
    • Earlier: Alibaba thinking of buying 37% stake in Lion's Gate
  • 4:30 PM
    • The WSJ reports H-P (HPQ -0.1%) wants to sell at least 51% of H3C Technologies, a Chinese subsidiary that has grown to become the country's top enterprise switch/router vendor. A source thinks the unit could fetch $5B in a full sale. P-E firms are reportedly being contacted.
    • H3C has over 5K employees. It was originally formed as a JV between 3Com and Chinese IT giant Huawei. 3Com bought out Huawei's stake for $882M in 2006, and was in turn acquired by H-P in 2010.
    • In addition to switches and routers, H3C sells Wi-Fi access points/controllers, firewalls, and cloud and network management software. A fair amount of overlap exists with H-P's  core networking unit.
    • Networking has been a relative bright spot for H-P: Sales rose 4% Y/Y in the July quarter. But the company has hinted it wants to streamline ahead of its planned split. It might also be nervous about growing Chinese government pressure on U.S. tech companies following last year's NSA spying uproar.
  • 2:30 PM
    • Chefs' Wearhouse (CHEF -1.8%) acquires Euro Gourmet for an undisclosed amount.
    • The specialty distributor sells along the East Coast.
    • Euro Gourmet is expected to have sales of close to $5M this year.
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  • 11:02 AM
    • Frontier's (FTR -0.7%) $2B purchase of AT&T's Connecticut wireline assets has officially closed. Connecticut's AG had signed off on the deal in August.
    • The purchase gives Frontier 875K voice, 415K data, and 215K video connections, and 2.5K employees. Frontier respectively had 1.93M and 393K broadband and video subs, and 13.9K employees, at the end of Q2.
    • Frontier has promised to invest $63M over the next three years to expand U-verse service coverage and increase broadband speeds in the state. The telco predicts it will "realize significant cost savings from leveraging its current infrastructure in supporting the new Connecticut business operations."
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  • 10:06 AM
    • The FT reports P-E firms Bain and Apax Partners are weighing offers for Portugal Telecom (PT +3.7%). Both PT and merger partner Oi (OIBR +6.1%) are rallying in early trading.
    • French cable giant Altice has also been reported have interest in acquiring PT, and thus undoing the Oi merger. Shares of both companies have cratered this year, thanks in part to the Rioforte debt scandal.
  • 9:39 AM
    • The official announcement is in from Chiquita Brands (NYSE:CQB).
    • Shareholders reject a plan to merge with Fyffes and will enter discussions with Cutrale/Safra on their pending $14.50 offer.
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  • 8:09 AM
    • Shareholders with Chiquita Brands (NYSE:CQB) will vote today on the company's pending deal to combine with Fyffes.
    • The board backs the merger with Fyffes over accepting the raised takeover offer from Cutrale-Safra of $14.50 per share.
    • CQB closed at $13.76 yesterday.
    | Comment!
  • 7:44 AM
    • Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) says its will exit the battery business.
    • The form of the separation of Duracell hasn't been decided upon yet, although a split-off is preferred.
    • The transaction is expected to occur in the second half of 2015.
    • PG +1.3% premarket.
  • 7:16 AM
    • Pfizer's (NYSE:PFE) announcement yesterday of an $10B stock repurchase plan deflates expectations that it will make another run at AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN). Under British takeover rules, it could do so in November. In any event, the change in U.S. tax regulations making inversions less attractive makes a mega-deal like this unlikely.
  • 6:56 AM
  • 5:12 AM
    • Digital River (NASDAQ:DRIV) has entered into a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by an investor group led by Siris Capital in a transaction valued at approximately $840M.
    • Under the terms of the deal, Siris will acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Digital River for $26.00 per share in cash, representing a premium of approximately 50% over yesterday's closing price.
    • The agreement will also allow Digital River to solicit alternative acquisition proposals from third parties during a 45-day "go-shop" period, following the date of execution of the merger agreement.
    • DRIV +15.1% premarket
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  • Thursday, October 23, 2014

  • 5:16 PM
    • The FT's Ed Hammond reports RealPage (NASDAQ:RP) has been approached by potential buyers.
    • Shares haven't yet moved AH, but that could change soon.
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  • 4:12 PM
    • Celgene (CELG +5.9%) likes its partnership with privately-held Sutro Biopharma so much that is has inked another deal with the antibody-based therapeutics developer. Under the terms of the agreement, Sutro receives a upfront payment of $95M that includes an equity stake, $90M during the research phase and potentially more than $1B, including milestones.
    • Celgene also has an option to buy Sutro under undisclosed terms.
    • The partners will work on PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors, the most promising cancer immunotherapy area. Sutro's value proposition is a better way to build antibody-drug conjugates that are more selective in their binding targets. Its technology enables a simpler method of making biologics, more akin to small molecule drugs.
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  • 11:04 AM
    • Foster Wheeler (FWLT +0.6%) has completed the acquisition of MDM Engineering Group (OTC:MDMEF) on terms consistent with the merger implementation agreement entered into on March 12, 2014.
    • "This acquisition...provides a platform for growth in Africa, one of the fastest growing mining regions in the world, and in other regions," says Foster Wheeler CEO J. Kent Masters.
    • MDM will now become part of the rapidly growing Minerals and Metals group within Foster Wheeler.
    • Previously: Foster Wheeler, MDM receive merger approval 
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  • 10:51 AM
    • KKR (KKR +1.4%) is taking a serious look at PetSmart (PETM +0.6%), according to the New York Post.
    • The investment firm has a nice track record in the pet supplier business after guiding Pets at Home to a profitable IPO.
    • Firdt-round bids on PetSmart are due in by the end of the month with JPMorgan overseeing the action.
    • Investors haven't really assigned a buyout premium on PETM as shares trade lower than they did three months ago.
  • 10:40 AM
    • Though it rejected Iliad's overtures, Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY) is still trying to find a suitor for T-Mobile USA (TMUS +2.7%), Germany's Manager Magazin reports.
    • The magazine speculates America Movil (AMX +0.8%), which no longer counts AT&T as an investor, could make a bid. For now, Carlos Slim's carrier only operates in the U.S. through its TracFone Wireless prepaid MVNO.
    • AMX is also about to get a windfall from the sale of Mexican assets being unloaded to appease regulators.
  • 10:03 AM
    • Emcore's (NASDAQ:EMKR) is selling its tunable laser and transceiver optical component businesses to NeoPhotonics (NYSE:NPTN) for $17.5M - $1.5M in cash and a $16M promissory note. The deal is expected to close in early January 2015.
    • The businesses accounted for 25% of Emcore's FY14 (ended Sep. '14) revenue.  Emcore notes the product lines being sold haven't historically been profitable.
    • NeoPhotonics: "EMCORE's narrow linewidth tunable laser product line is highly complementary to our broad existing portfolio of optical components for [100G] coherent transport systems ...  EMCORE's External Cavity Laser tunable laser has the narrowest linewidth in the industry, which we believe will become increasingly important for advanced modulation schemes at 400G and beyond."
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  • 9:46 AM
    • DaVita HealthCare Partners (DVA +1.2%) acquires Colorado Springs Health Partners (CSHP) for an undisclosed sum. CSHP is a multi-specialty medical group with more than 100 doctors at 11 locations throughout the Pikes Peak region. The transaction is expected to close this quarter.
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