Friday, November 27, 2015
- Thanksgiving Day box office was up 20% Y/Y as viewers flocked to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 as well as a pair of strong offerings, in the latest Rocky franchise film and a new family offering from Pixar.
- Mockingjay Part 2 (LGF -0.5%) drew $10.4M Thursday to bring its domestic total to $146.7M ($388M worldwide total), and should prevail over the five-day holiday weekend -- though it will get a challenge as post-feast families show up for The Good Dinosaur (DIS -3%).
- That film grossed $6.56M, bringing it to $16.4M after a Wednesday opening. It took the second spot just ahead of Creed (TWX -0.7%), featuring Michael B. Jordan and the latest portrayal of Rocky Balboa by Sylvester Stallone. Creed grossed $6.45M, though in nearly 500 fewer theaters.
- Lions Gate's film is showing legs but still pacing behind Mockingjay Part 1's performance a year ago.
- The only other key opening was the much-delayed Victor Frankenstein (FOX -1.4%, FOXA -1.2%), which failed to draw interest, pulling just $470K on the holiday, and a two-day total of $1.1M.
- The media M&A world is full of hot rumors, but it's a little notable that Rupert Murdoch decided today to get into the gossip game (or at least the trolling game).
- The mogul tweeted today about "strong word" that Tribune Publishing (TPUB -1.6%) was going to be bought by a "big Wall Street firm," and that the Los Angeles Times would be bought by Eli Broad and a local group.
- As Jason Abbruzzese points out, Murdoch could just have sour grapes, as News Corp. (NWS -1.6%, NWSA -1.3%) was rumored to be preparing a bid for the company last year before Murdoch said ownership laws "from another age" prevented that.
- “I am not sure this amounts to ‘case closed,' ” Poynter’s Rick Edmonds said at that time. “My read is that Mr. Murdoch still wants the L.A. Times, still opposes the cross-ownership ban and might seek an exception or repeal.”
- News Corp. A shares moved up 1.1% in postmarket trading after the abbreviated session.
- NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ:NXPI) jumped 4.6% in the short session today, and Freescale (NYSE:FSL) gained 4%, after the two won approval from China's Ministry of Commerce to finish their $40B merger -- a last major hurdle to the deal.
- The EU and U.S. FTC had signed off previously. The companies now expect to close Dec. 7, concurrent with the divestment of NXP's RF amplifier unit.
- The two have predicted $500M in eventual annual cost synergies, and have targeted $200M in cost savings in the first year after closing. NXP expects it to be accretive to EPS and free cash flow.
- Previously: NXP +6%, Freescale +5.5%; U.S. clears NXP's RF amplifier unit sale (Nov. 24 2015)
- Previously: NXP rallies following FBR Top Pick call, takes Freescale with it (Nov. 18 2015)
- Nano cap Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Technology (HART +25.4%) jumps on triple normal volume. Shares are up almost four-fold sine November 11 as investors take positions ahead of a presentation by CEO Jim McGorry at an investor event in Los Angeles on Tuesday, December 1.
- Before the rally, shares had lost ~95% of their value on diminished prospects for the company's regenerated tracheas.
- The company generated some recent buzz with its report of clear evidence of esophageal tissue regeneration in animal studies based on its second generation bioengineered platform. The company plans to file an IND with the FDA in 2016 and aims to commence compassionate use procedures in humans sometime in 2016.
- Previously: Harvard Apparatus backs out of Russia (Nov. 26, 2014)
- Previously: HART up 34% on exoneration of misconduct by famed trachea transplant surgeon (Aug. 31)
- Previously: HART gets delisting warning from Nasdaq over share price (Nov. 10)
- Turkcell (TKC -2.7%) says it has launched voice and video calls on BiP, its IP-based messaging app.
- BiP has been downloaded for free more than 3.3M times (by Turkcell subscribers and otherwise) in more than 166 countries. The app also features disappearing messages a la Snapchat.
- The voice and video addition is coming along with 1 GB of free data for Turkcell's subscribers, though. The company plans to launch it in Ukraine and Belarus, in local languages with local content.
- Abengoa Yield (ABY -3%) is working with JPMorgan Chase as it seeks a buyer for its parent company Abengoa’s (ABGB -19.7%) 47% stake, Bloomberg reports.
- ABY hopes to find a long-term investor to guarantee its sustainability as an independent business after the parent company filed for preliminary protection from creditors, according to the report.
- ABY operates solar and wind farms, desalination plants, transmission lines and conventional power plants in eight countries on four continents, which will provide steady revenue streams for years to come and should make ABGB’s stake attractive to buyers.
- Abertis (OTCPK:ABRTY) tower spinoff Cellnex has been widely expected to put in bids for Infrastrutture Wireless Italiane, the cell-site spinoff form Telecom Italia (TI +4.7%), but despite a formal launch to the sale, TI says it's gotten no offers.
- "The process is still in an early phase and no offer has been received by Telecom Italia at this moment," the company said.
- Price may become an issue. On Wednesday, Bloomberg reported that Cellnex (and partner F2i SGR) were near a $1.2B bid for an Inwit stake, though that could come in the second week of December.
- Telecom Italia has a 60% stake in Inwit and would likely aim to keep about 20% along with one board seat.
- VimpelCom (NASDAQ:VIP) is down 1.9% with firms coming in for price target cuts on the Russia-focused telecom.
- Barclays has reduced its price target to $4.82; ADRs closed yesterday at $3.60 and are trading at $3.53 today. Meanwhile, HSBC lowered its price target to $6.40.
- HSBC has a Buy rating on the stock, while Barclays holds an Equal Weight rating.
- The company also announced it's combining its Pakistan mobile business, Mobilink, with Global Telecom Holding's Warid Telecom in a large consolidation. Mobilink will first acquire 100% of Warid's shares in consideration for Dhabi Group shareholders acquiring about 15% of Mobilink, before the two companies are fully merged.
- The combination will serve more than 45M customers and the two companies logged combined revenue of $1.4B over the past 12 months. VimpelCom and Global Telecom expect synergies of $500M in the tie-up.
- In his first extensive interview since taking over as CEO two years ago, Chesapeake Energy (CHK -3.6%) CEO Doug Lawler tells WSJ he was surprised to learn that 54% of CHK's projects were not profitable in 2012.
- Problems at the time included CHK and former CEO Aubrey McClendon signing contracts to drill hundreds of wells without regard for their economic viability and transporting some natural gas on specific pipelines or facing large penalties, according to Lawler; as a result, CHK spent nearly $30B more on drilling and leasing than it brought in from its operations during 2010-12.
- Lawler says CHK's biggest challenge now resides outside the company: low natural gas prices.
- News Corp. (NWS -1.6%, NWSA -1.3%) says its Australian unit has secured five-year rights to the National Rugby League in an $1.8B deal.
- In conjunction with Nine Entertainment and Telstra (TLSYY +0.4%), Fox Sports secured the rights to show all games ad-free in 2016, and in 2017 will launch a dedicated NRL channel.
- Fox Sports package subscribers will also have access to the games and related coverage on tablets and smartphones.
- Rio Tinto (RIO -2.2%) says it is lining up project financing for a $4B expansion of its long-delayed Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia and will make a final investment decision early next year.
- "What we need is consistency and stability and we believe we have the right environment today," Rio copper and coal chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques says. according to Reuters.
- Rio's Turquoise Hill Resources (TRQ +0.4%) subsidiary owns 66% of Oyu Tolgoi, with Mongolia's government owning the remainder of the project, located in the Gobi desert near Mongolia's border with China.
- Abengoa (ABGB -27.4%) says Santiago Seage is stepping down as CEO after six months on the job and focus on his role as managing director of Abengoa Yield (ABY -4.3%), part of a management shuffle after the company filed for creditor protection.
- CEO duties will be shared by Chairman Jose Dominguez Abascal, who becomes executive chairman, and new general director Joaquin Fernandez de Pierola Marin, who had been chairman of Abengoa Mexico.
- Abengoa said today it is seeking creditor protection, a step that gives a four-month window during which it can suspend payments to creditors while negotiating a debt restructuring; the move follows this week's collapse of rescue talks.
- A piece in the Nikkei Asian Review says Apple "plans to introduce organic light-emitting diode displays for iPhones starting in 2018," though no sources are cited.
- Cowen's Robert Stone - who has Outperform ratings on both Universal Display (OLED +6.1%) and LG Display (LPL +1.1%) - expects Apple to eventually adopt an AMOLED display, subject to establishing sufficient capacity. "Capacity commitments are apparently being sought for 2018, by which time we expect the technology of choice is likely to be on flexible substrate."
- In the meantime, he says, look for AMOLED's (both rigid and flexible) to continue taking market share from LCD displays with other smartphone OEMs in China and elsewhere.
- Source: Barron's
- Walt Disney (DIS -3.3%) tumbles more than 3% in early trade after disclosing late Wednesday that ESPN subscribers fell 3.2% Y/Y to 92M as of Oct. 3 - a level last seen a decade ago - from 95M a year earlier.
- Shares of DIS and other media stocks already were thumped over the summer when DIS said its cable business - in which ESPN comprises ~75% of total revenue - would see operating income growth only in the “mid-single digits."
- Wells Fargo’s Marci Ryvicker estimates the subscriber loss has cost $700M in FY 2015 cable affiliate fee revenue and $200M in 2015 cable EBITDA, although she reiterates a Market Perform rating on the shares.
- Micro cap KaloBios (NASDAQ:KBIO) is up 80% premarket on increased volume. The stock rocketed from a low of $0.44 on November 16 to a high of $45.82 five days later after an investor group led by Martin Shkreli bought 70% of the outstanding shares. Shares retraced almost 60% to $18.40 before rallying again.
- Previously: Martin Shkrelli new chief of KaloBios; up to $13M in funding committed (Nov. 20)
- Previously: KaloBios -47% as it says it's shutting down (Nov. 13)
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