Monday, April 20, 2015
- Ahead of tomorrow's FQ4 report, CalAmp (NASDAQ:CAMP) announces it has bought Crashboxx, a startup working on "insurance telematics applications across the entire auto insurance lifecycle, from driver risk assessment through claims processing automation." The company is paying $1.5M in cash up-front + earn-outs based on post-acquisition sales targets.
- CalAmp: "[Crashboxx's] proprietary driver behavior, crash detection, crash notification and physical and bodily damage estimation technologies are extraordinarily unique within the emerging insurance telematics marketplace. Innovations including automated first notification of loss and near real time estimation of damages and bodily injury could drive significant business efficiencies and [ROI] for both insurance carriers and fleet managers."
- Though the Industries page on CalAmp's site currently lists 11 different verticals for which it provides telematics, fleet-tracking, and asset/device management solutions, insurance isn't one of them.
- CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL) has acquired database service provider Orchestrate, in order to add its capabilities into the CenturyLink Cloud platform.
- Orchestrate promises to save clients the hassle of running their own database instances by providing multiple varieties of database-as-a-service offerings.
- It's one of a few recent moves by CenturyLink to shore up data analytics, including the fall acquisitions of DataGardens and Cognilytics.
- Orchestrate's key leadership is joining CenturyLink, including co-founders Antony Falco (CEO) and Ian Plosker (CTO).
- The two firms are recent partners, as Orchestrate became available via CenturyLink Cloud early last month.
- A federal appeals court has denied a Synopsys (SNPS +0.9%) request to stay a March injunction on emulators and software deemed to be infringing a Mentor Graphics (MENT +3.5%) emulation patent.
- Mentor was granted an injunction by an Oregon federal court, and also had a $36M award against Synopsys confirmed. At the time, Synopsys responded by stating it's working on a new version of its ZeBu Server software that doesn't infringe Mentor's IP, and that it will continue selling ZeBu Server emulation systems overseas.
- Meanwhile, Synopsys has announced it's buying Codenomicon, a Finnish provider of software that helps developers uncover and fix security issues, as well as protect apps against attacks. Codenomicon's solutions (often embedded within chips/devices) complement Synopsys' existing developer tools. Deal terms are undisclosed.
- Mentor is up strongly, and less than a dollar away from a 52-week high of $25.43.
- St. Jude Medical (STJ +0.8%) exercises its option to acquire Menlo Park, CA-based Spinal Modulation for $175M plus additional payments based on FDA clearance of the Axium Neurostimulator System and the achievement of certain revenue targets.
- The company has had a relationship with Spinal Modulation since January 2013, when it secured exclusive rights to distribute Axium in ex-U.S. territories. It also made a $40M equity investment in the intraspinal neuromodulation therapy firm.
- St. Jude expects to complete the transaction this quarter.
- Moving quickly on its promise to get out of the banking business, General Electric (GE -0.2%) is in talks with Wells Fargo (WFC +0.7%) and others to sell its $74B commercial lending division - an operation which makes loans to midsize U.S. companies.
- Should a deal be reached, it would mean GE would have already sold about half of the $200B in assets the company hopes to move off the books in the next two years.
- Source: WSJ
- Previously: WSJ: GE in talks to sell commercial lending business (April 20)
- Among those GE is reportedly in talks to sell the $74B operation to is Wells Fargo (WFC +0.6%), according to a headline from the WSJ. Wells, along with Blackstone (NYSE:BX) was the buyer of nearly $30B of real estate-related assets from GE ten days ago.
- Previously: GE sets plan to exit almost all of GE Capital; launches $50B buyback (April 10)
- Generics firm Mylan (MYL -2.9%) admits that it considered a merger with Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries (TEVA -1.4%) but such a deal would be "without sound industrial logic." CEO Robert Coury says, "We believe that it is unlikely that any such combination could obtain antitrust regulatory clearances. Mylan is fully committed to its stand-alone strategy, including its proposal to acquire Perrigo, and today's speculation has no impact whatsoever on this strategy."
- Many observers believe that Mylan's unsolicited $29B bid for Perrigo (PRGO -0.7%) was a defensive tactic to make itself less attractive to Teva.
- Teva has not disclosed its intentions as of yet.
- Previously: Teva reportedly weighing bid for Mylan; shares jump (April 17)
- What could have been: With Tesla (TSLA -0.5%) in dire straits in March 2013 as the company struggled to fix Model S bugs and convert pre-orders into actual sales, Elon Musk reached out to Larry Page and "proposed that Google (GOOG +1.6%) buy Tesla outright," Bloomberg's Ashlee Vance reports through an excerpt from a Musk book due out on May 19.
- Vance adds Tesla would've cost Google $6B at the time after factoring "a healthy premium" - Tesla's market cap is currently $25.9B. As part of the deal, Musk wanted Google to promise to invest $5B in factory expansions and let Musk run Tesla for 8 years, until it was ready to launch a mass-market car.
- While "Musk, Page, and Google’s lawyers negotiated the specific terms of the deal" in the following weeks, Tesla's Model S sales began to take off, and the company posted its first profit and repaid its DOE loan. No longer needing a white knight, Musk broke off talks.
- A $6B Tesla acquisition would've been one of Google's largest, surpassed in size only by Motorola Mobility. Google, of course, has kept pushing ahead with its self-driving car efforts since 2013; the company has said it's talking with GM, Ford, Toyota, and others about bringing a self-driving car to market by 2020. Tesla has some interest in this space as well.
- Last year, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Musk met with Apple M&A execs in 2013. Apple's reported car efforts have fueled fresh speculation the company will make a bid for Tesla.
- IHS has completed an acquisition of analytics firm RootMetrics, which performs network analysis in the mobile communications industry.
- The company offers its network insights to providers and does a braoder report for consumers; in February, it noted that Sprint and T-Mobile faced speed and reliability issues in catching up to the U.S. industry's "big two," AT&T and Verizon.
- EE and Three prevailed in its recent testing in the UK, over competitors in O2 and Vodafone.
- RootMetrics has about 170 employees in the U.S. and the UK. It'll retain its brand name and headquarters in Bellevue, Wash.
- Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) is up 3.9% premarket as it's agreed to sell a 46% stake in Ticket Monster to KKR and Hong Kong's Anchor Equity for $360M. It'll maintain a fully diluted 41% stake in the South Korean deals business.
- The move values Ticket Monster at $782M (assuming full vesting of management's 13% stake) and means a gain on the sale of $195M-$205M. Groupon will receive $285M in cash with the remainder going to Ticket Monster.
- The company has recast guidance to treat Ticket Monster as discontinued, expecting Q1 revenue between $720M-$770M and non-GAAP EPS between $0.01 and $0.03. Adjusted EBITDA is now expected between $58M-$78M for the quarter.
- Groupon also approved a $300M buyback program upon the closing of the Ticket Monster transaction.
- Confirming earlier reports, Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) says it will buy cybersecurity provider Websense from P-E firm Vista Equity Partners for $1.9B, including debt.
- Raytheon will combine Websense with its cybersecurity unit, after which Vista Equity will invest about $335M for a 19.7% stake in the new company.
- Previously: Report: Raytheon to acquire Websense for $1.9B (Apr. 19 2015)
- Liberty Global's (NASDAQ:LBTYA) Belgian unit has agreed to buy Royal KPN's (OTCPK:KKPNY) local mobile-phone business Base for €1.33B ($1.43B) as billionaire John Malone enlarges his European cable and telecommunications empire.
- Telenet (OTCPK:TLGHY) has about 900K mobile subscribers; Base has 3.3M.
- With Malone expanding through purchases across Europe, Liberty Global now owns cable and phone operations stretching from Hungary to the U.K.
Sunday, April 19, 2015
- The 60M square foot operating portfolio of KTR Capital Partners comprises 322 properties with about a 95% overlap with Prologis' (NYSE:PLD) existing U.S. portfolio. The purchase also includes 3.6M square feet of development in-progress and a land bank with a build-out potential of 6.8M square feet.
- The acquisition is being made by Prologis' JV with Norges Investment Management, of which Prologis has a 55% stake.
- The deal is expected to be accretive to annual core FFO by about $0.14 per share on a stabilized basis - this would be 7% growth from the midpoint of Prologis' 2015 guidance. The purchase is anticipated to lower G&A expense as a percentage of AUM by about 12% and boost U.S. dollar equity exposure to 93%.
- A conference call is set for Monday at 8 ET.
- Source: Press Release
- Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) has agreed to buy Websense from P-E firm Vista Equity Partners, in a deal that values the network security company at $1.9B, including debt, Reuters reports.
- The new company will be 80% owned by Raytheon and Vista will keep a 20% stake.
- Websense makes software that blocks websites and lets companies inspect network traffic and filter emails for security and hacking threats.
- Previously: Raytheon higher as report says in talks to acquire Websense (Mar. 16 2015)
Saturday, April 18, 2015
- Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) will meet Wednesday with the Justice Department in hopes of negotiating concessions to assuage the department's reported opposition to their $45B merger, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.
- It's the first time the companies would meet with any regulators -- and the deal is nearing its endgame with both Justice and the FCC.
- Bloomberg reported Friday that staff attorneys at Justice were leaning toward blocking the deal, though any final word would come from senior officials there.
- The Justice Department's concern is antitrust issues in the combination of two giant service providers; the FCC is evaluating the deal to see whether it is in the public interest.
- Nokia (NYSE:NOK) and Alcatel-Lucent's (NYSE:ALU) planned merger could unravel Nokia's R&D partnership/reseller deal with Juniper (NYSE:JNPR). Juniper, which has partnered with Nokia on solutions that pair the former's routers with the latter's base stations and mobile core network gear, counts Alcatel as its second-biggest rival (after Cisco) in the carrier router market, and also squares off against the company in other markets such as carrier SDN software.
- Ruckus (NYSE:RKUS) is another Nokia partner that could be in the crosshairs: The company competes against Alcatel in carrier Wi-Fi hardware, and has a reseller deal with Nokia that goes back to 2012. The deal was recently expanded to cover Wi-Fi/4G small cell systems.
- At the same time, the merger has fueled speculation one or more rivals could respond with acquisitions of their own. A potential acquisition of Juniper by mobile infrastructure giant Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) has especially been the subject of much talk.
- Ericsson is also viewed as a potential suitor for optical networking hardware vendors/fellow Alcatel rivals Ciena and Infinera. Ruckus has been seen as a potential M&A target for a long time. However, it currently competes against Ericsson, which bought Wi-Fi hardware vendor BelAir Networks in 2012.
- RF backhaul hardware maker DragonWave (NASDAQ:DRWI) could also lose business thanks to the merger; it bought Nokia's RF backhaul business in 2012. and maintains a reseller deal. However, H.C. Wainwright recently downplayed those concerns, arguing Alcatel's RF backhaul systems are expensive and clunky.
- Juniper and Ericsson report earnings on April 23, and Ruckus on April 30.
Friday, April 17, 2015
- As reports spread that Justice Dept. attorneys were likely to recommend blocking Comcast's (CMCSA -2.1%) $45B buyout of Time Warner Cable (TWC -5.4%), the cable companies both argued there was no basis to block the deal.
- It'll mean "faster broadband speeds, access to a superior video experience, and more competition in business services resulting in billions of dollars of cost savings," according to a Comcast statement. "These benefits have been essentially unchallenged in the record."
- Meanwhile, over at the FCC, 37 groups opposed to the deal wrote Tom Wheeler, the agency's chairman, saying that even conditional application of net neutrality regulation wouldn't soften their opposition. Signatories included Dish, Consumers Union, the Writers Guild of America, West, and Free Press; "they don't make any new arguments," Comcast responds.
- Some volume came into competitive stocks and gave them a (relative) lift after the news: Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) came off lows to finish down 1.9%; Cablevision Systems (NYSE:CVC) rebounded to finish just -0.3%.
- In February, BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield laid out why he thought the deal would ultimately get rejected.
- Then shortly after the Justice Dept. news broke, Comcast noted it was bringing its top-speed 2-Gbps Gigabit Pro service to the California Bay Area. The company previously said it would launch the service in Atlanta (where Google Fiber and AT&T plan 1-Gbps service); it's setting June for the California launch, but still no word on possible pricing.
- With Google's Android Wear platform handicapped in China by the blocking of many Google services, Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) has launched DuWear, an Android-based smartwatch OS that comes with versions of Baidu's voice search and mapping apps.
- Much like Android Wear and Apple Watch, mobile payments support, motion tracking, and heart rate monitoring are also included. Baidu promises a "major manufacturer" will launch a DuWear watch in June. In the meantime, it's releasing a ROM that lets users (if they're interested) install the OS on Android Wear devices such as the Moto 360, LG's G Watch, and Sony's SmartWatch 3.
- Baidu also claims DuWear supports some 3rd-party Android Wear apps that don't use Google's mobile services framework. The OS launch comes a month after Baidu ended support for its Cloud OS Android smartphone ROM (had seen limited uptake).
- Separately, Baidu has acquired Anquanbao, a provider of cloud-based software that protects sites against malware and DDoS attacks. The startup's clients include Tencent and major Chinese domain name service providers.
- Baidu plans to use Anquanbao's software to improve load times for its sites and protect them from security threats. Anquanbao founder/CEO Ma Jie will head Baidu's cloud security ops.
- The WSJ and Bloomberg report Teva (TEVA +3.4%) is weighing a bid to acquire fellow generic drug giant Mylan (MYL +5.5%), while adding no decision has been made yet. Shaes of both companies have spiked higher.
- Bloomberg's sources state Teva "hasn't made a formal approach yet," though Mylan is aware of Teva's interest. Many analysts have long expected Teva to go after Mylan, given many perceived top and bottom-line synergies. Teva is currently worth $66.2B, and Mylan $34.3B.
- Perrigo (PRGO -2.8%), which Mylan announced a $28.9B ($205/share) bid for last week, has moved lower on the news.
- The Justice Department's staff attorneys looking into Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) $45B bid to purchase Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) are close to urging the deal be blocked, Bloomberg reports -- and they're also not working with Comcast to secure changes that would satisfy them.
- Already lower with the market today, TWC took a cliff dive, now -7%. Comcast shares are still down 2.8%.
- The lawyers could submit their review as soon as next week to deputy assistant AG Renata Hesse. Officials will then decide on whether to sue to stop the deal.
- Hesse is running the review since antitrust chief Bill Baer recused himself, as a previous representative of NBCUniversal in its takeover by Comcast.
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