Today - Thursday, March 13, 2014
6:36 AM| Comment!
- Liberty Global (LBTYA) intends to enter the mobile-phone market in a number of European countries, including the U.K., Holland and Austria, by offering cellular services via the networks of other carriers.
- The new plan comes on top of Liberty's expansion in Europe's cable market through acquisitions and mirrors Vodafone's strategy of adding wire-line assets to its mobile-phone business.
- Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), Google (GOOG) and Cisco Systems (CSCO) hold a combined $124B in U.S. Treasurys and a further $39B in other government debt, the U.K.'s Bureau of Investigative Journalism calculates.
- The tech giants appear to hold much U.S. debt offshore, which enables them to earn tax-free interest. Repatriating the assets would saddle them with a huge tax bill.
- Unsurprisingly, Senator Carl Levin is not happy. "If a U.S. multinational puts its offshore cash into a U.S. bank and uses the money to buy U.S. Treasurys, stocks and bonds, those funds ought to be treated as having been repatriated and subject to US tax."
- Alibaba is "95% certain" to carry out its much anticipated IPO in New York rather than in Hong Kong, the FT writes, adding to previous reports that the Chinese e-commerce behemoth will float in the U.S.
- Listing in New York would allow Alibaba to create a dual-class structure of stocks that would enable its founders and senior managers to retain their tight grip on the company. Hong Kong doesn't provide such an option, although it's mulling a change in rules.
- Either way, the IPO is set to be one of the largest on record and should provide a large bonanza to Alibaba investors Yahoo (YHOO) and Softbank (SFTBF).
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
- Nvidia's (NVDA) new 800M notebook GPU line mostly leverages the company's new Maxwell architecture on the low-end, and its older Kepler architecture on the high-end. The top-of-the-line GTX 880M (competes against AMD's R9 M290X) features 1536 cores, a 954MHz. GPU clock, and a 256-bit GDDR5 graphics RAM interface.
- Drawing the most attention: Nvidia's Battery Boost tech (found in high-end and mid-range 800M parts), which the chipmaker claims can lead to 50%+ increases in notebook battery life during gaming sessions. Nvidia achieves this in part by keeping frame rates at a target level, and monitoring non-GPU system elements.
- AnandTech: "I suspect many of us simply don’t bother trying to game while unplugged because it drains the battery so quickly, and potentially doubling your mobile gaming time will certainly help in that respect." Nvidia argues Maxwell parts with Battery Boost can also enable thinner/lighter notebooks with strong gaming credentials.
- Jon Peddie Research estimates Nvidia's discrete notebook GPU shipments rose 3.2% Q/Q in Q4, while AMD's fell 6.7%. The company is estimated to have a total PC GPU share of 16.6% (-20 bps) vs. 18.3% for AMD and (-140 bps) and 65.1% for Intel (+210 bps). AMD and Intel's figures take integrated CPUs/GPUs into account.
- NetApp's (NTAP) new job cuts come on top of 2013 layoffs that impacted 900 employees, and which followed pressure from activist investor Elliott Management. (8-K)
- With NetApp having 12,680 employees at the end of its January quarter, ~5% of its workforce stands to be affected. The enterprise storage vendor expects to record $35M-$45M worth of charges.
- The news arrives exactly a month after NetApp provided light April quarter revenue guidance.
- Goldman's upgrades of Infinera (INFN +14.9%) and Calix (CALX +2.8%) wound up sparking a broader rally telecom equipment and optical component makers. Notable gainers: FNSR +6.2%. UBNT +6.7%. CYNI +5.1%. CIEN +3.8%. JDSU +5.4%. AFOP +3.4%. NPTN +3.4%. ADTN +2.8%. FN +2.2%.
- Goldman's Simona Jankowski believes Infinera, which recently lost a major Verizon deal to Alcatel-Lucent, has regained Level 3 as a client. She also estimates 100G optical system shipments "have approximately a 15% point gross margin advantage" relative to 10G counterparts, and sees this delta boosting Infinera's margins as 100G "increases from mid-50% of total product revenue in 2013 to mid-70% in 2014."
- Regarding Calix, Jankowski reports seeing better spending trends among the tier 2/3 carriers the company leans heavily on, and thinks 2014/2015 estimates now "more accurately reflect" Calix's growth trajectory.
- Today's gains come as the optical networking industry's OFC 2014 conference continues. As usual, the conference has seen a slew of product launches. Ciena has followed Infinera (previous) in launching software tools for intelligently controlling a network's optical layers, and JDS Uniphase is showing off several new components and modules.
- For now at least, Juniper (JNPR +0.4%) isn't showing any signs it's ready to settle with Palo Alto Networks (PANW +1%) after a mistrial was declared last week for its huge patent suit.
- "We look forward to presenting our case to a new jury in the near future," the networking/security hardware vendor declares in a statement.
- Meanwhile, Elliott Management has disclosed its Juniper stake is now at 7.4%, up from the 6.2% position it announced in January. Since Elliott's original announcement, Juniper has largely granted the firm's wish list. (13D)
5:19 PM| Comment!
5:18 PM| Comment!
- magicJack (CALL) expects 2014 revenue of $158M-$163M, well above a $147.2M consensus. Adjusted EBITDA, pressured by a marketing spend ramp, is expected to fall to $48M-$52M from a 2013 level of $58.2M.
- Active magicJack subscribers fell by 100K Q/Q in Q4 to 3.2M. 216K subs were activated, down from 273.5K in Q3. However, registered users of magicJack's free calling app rose 23% Q/Q to 6.9M.
- $13M was spent to repurchase 1.06M shares at an average price of $12.24. Opex rose 29% Y/Y to $14.5M, with R&D spend nearly tripling $2M.
- With a full 40% of the float shorted as of Feb. 28, a short-squeeze is in play. Whitney Tilson definitely wouldn't mind.
- Q4 results, PR
4:47 PM| Comment!
4:44 PM| Comment!
- RetailMeNot (SALE -5.8%) saw profit-taking following the arrival of its final lockup expiration. Shares remain up 77% from a July 2013 IPO price of $21.
- Wunderlich's Blake Harper is defending the online coupon/promo code site, arguing its valuation is far more attractive than that of newly-public Coupons.com (COUP +5.8%), which went in the opposite direction today.
- Harper notes that while RetailMeNot posted 45% sales growth in 2013 and is trading at 9x EV/sales, Coupons.com is trading at 11x EV/sales after having grown 50%. He also observes RetailMeNot's 38% EBITDA margin dwarfs Coupons.com's 1%; the latter figure is expected to rise to a double-digit level this year.