Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Friday, September 4, 2015

  • 6:48 PM
    • Digitimes (citing Japanese media) reports Mitsubishi Chemical and Pioneer have begun sampling "the first blue light-less OLED lighting module made with a wet coating process for the light-emitting layer." The modules are expected to enter mass-production in early 2016, and help cut production costs by over 60%.
    • OLEDs enable thinner lighting products than LEDs and other alternatives, and also provide energy efficiency and temperature benefits. However, high prices have limited adoption. Universal Display (NASDAQ:OLED) formed a partnership with Mitsubishi Chemical back in 2006, and struck a licensing deal with Pioneer in 2011.
    • Separately, Panasonic exec Masahiro Shinada predicts OLED TVs will be cheap enough for average consumers in 2-3 years. "I'm very confident panel cost will go down ... Last year, the panel suppliers' yield was very, very low level. But currently this ratio is now growing." OLED TV prices currently start in the ~$2,000 range.
    | 6:48 PM | 4 Comments
  • 6:18 PM
    • The Boston Globe reports an assistant U.S. attorney and an FBI cybercrimes agent are investigating alleged attempts by former HubSpot (NYSE:HUBS) execs to obtain a draft copy of a book about the company prior to its publication. Sources state it isn't yet clear whether charges will result.
    • In late July, HubSpot announced it had fired CMO Mike Volpe for attempting to procure a draft of the book, written by tech writer/former HubSpot marketing employee Dan Lyons, and that content VP Joe Chernov had resigned before HubSpot could decide whether to fire him as well. Chairman/CEO Brian Halligan was fined for failing to report Volpe/Chernov's actions quickly enough, but allowed to keep his job.
    • Lyons' book, Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble, is set to go on sale on Feb. 2, 2016. A description from publisher Hachette suggests the memoir is less than flattering towards HubSpot. "[Lyons'] new employer made the world a better place...by selling email spam. The office vibe was frat house meets cult compound: Shower pods became hook-up dens; Nerf gun fights broke out at lunch; and absent bosses specialized in cryptic, jargon-filled emails."
    | 6:18 PM | Comment!
  • 5:58 PM
    • "With the majority of Good’s customers using iOS or Apple devices, we view this acquisition as positive for BlackBerry’s (NASDAQ:BBRY) ability to broaden its customer reach, especially with our survey work indicating ongoing share gains for Apple in the enterprise market," writes Canaccord's Mike Walkley about BlackBerry's $425M deal to buy enterprise mobility management (EMM) software rival Good Technology. "[Good] should also help BlackBerry build on its two new technology licensing deals announced last quarter."
    • At the same time, Walkley notes some of Good's revenue comes from BlackBerry licensing payments, and argues BlackBerry still "faces the challenging task of selling not just EMM subscriptions but must also upsell increasing amounts of [value-added services] and close additional technology licensing deals to meet its [FY16] software-related sales target."
    • Morningstar's Brian Colello: "Good ... has been a leader in EMM for quite some time, as evidenced by Gartner’s rating of Good as a 'Leader' in its magic quadrant for EMM in June 2015 (versus a 'Niche Player' rating for BlackBerry). We anticipate that the combination will lead to more advanced products and a growing customer base over time." In addition to Good, IBM, Citrix, VMware (AirWatch), and MobileIron are in Gartner's Leaders quadrant.
    • UBS' Amitabh Passi: "Good serves more than 6,200 organizations, with particular strength in Government, [aerospace & defense], healthcare, and commercial banks. Good with its Good Dynamics platform will also bring access to over 2000 independent software vendor (ISV) apps."
    • VentureBeat's Jack Gold notes questions remain about integrating Good's platform with BES. "BlackBerry does have experience here with its many recent acquisitions, but Good has much more technology to integrate than the previous acquisitions did, and far more overlap in capabilities. And the cultures of the two companies are different ... I expect [integration] will be successful given [John Chen's] track record, but it may not be without some 'potholes' along the way."
    • After opening higher in response to the deal, BlackBerry closed down 2.4% amid a 1.1% Nasdaq drop. M&A hopes helped BlackBerry/Good rival MobileIron (NASDAQ:MOBL) rise 3.9%.
    | 5:58 PM | 29 Comments
  • 5:17 PM
    • A month after warning FQ2 (August quarter) revenue would be at the low end of a prior forecast for 30%-60% Q/Q growth, DragonWave (NASDAQ:DRWI) says it now expects revenue to be up just 4% Q/Q to ~$27.5M. Consensus is at $37.3M.
    • The RF backhaul hardware vendor states equipment/service orders were $3.4M lower than expected - about half of the orders are now expected in FQ3 - and that $2.8M worth of shipments didn't make the FQ2 cutoff date and slipped into FQ3. Shipments to a major Indian customer remain suspended on account of a (previously-disclosed) product issue that's said to be resolved.
    • CEO Peter Allen: "Q2 has obviously been a very challenging quarter for DragonWave. We are developing the plan for moving forward and anticipate sharing that plan on our next regularly scheduled investors' call."
    • Ahead of the announcement, shares fell 5% in regular trading to $0.20. They haven't yet moved after hours.
    | 5:17 PM | Comment!
  • 5:06 PM
    • David Flynn discloses he bought 36,272 shares yesterday at $6.02.
    • Flynn's purchase came three days after Aerohive (NYSE:HIVE) announced a CFO change and stated Q3 sales are expected to be at the high end of the company's guidance range. Shares rose 3.2% today, avoiding a market selloff.
    | 5:06 PM | Comment!
  • 4:51 PM
    • As expected, XOOM shareholders have signed off on PayPal's (NASDAQ:PYPL) $890M ($25/share) acquisition of the company. 95.17% of the votes represented at a special meeting were cast in favor.
    • PayPal/Xoom previously stated the deal is expected to close in Q4. Xoom notes it still needs to receive "certain regulatory consents."
    | 4:51 PM | Comment!
  • 4:40 PM
    • Leidos (NYSE:LDOS) is selling 18 acres of Fairfax County, VA land featuring "four office buildings, a multi-level parking garage, surface parking lots, and other related improvements and structures, as well as related tangible personal property and third-party leases." (8-K filing)
    • The company will be paid $75M up-front, and receive a $25M promissory note maturing in Dec. 2019.
    | 4:40 PM | Comment!
  • 4:27 PM
    • After more than a year of experimenting with courier services, UBER plans to launch an express delivery service for online orders that will be supported by major retailers and fashion brands, Re/code reports. An announcement could come by late September or early October.
    • To make the service easily available to smaller retailers, Uber has reportedly held partnership talks with e-commerce software/services provider Shopify (NYSE:SHOP), as well as with Shopify rival Bigcommerce. Shopify claimed 175K merchant clients as of Q2.
    • Sources state Uber's service will initially launch in NYC, and be supported by "some flashy, luxury brands whose flagship stores are usually found on or around Fifth Avenue." A San Francisco launch will follow. The report comes as Amazon continues expanding its same-day delivery footprint, and gradually rolls out its Prime Now 1-hour delivery service.
    • Last month, Cowen reported Uber is looking to expand its UberEATS meal delivery service (competes with GrubHub) to as many as 15 more cities. UberEATS is currently available in NYC, L.A., Chicago, Toronto, and 5 other locales.
    | 4:27 PM | Comment!
  • 3:01 PM
    • With demand from Apple and Chinese mobile OEMs remaining strong, CEO Kaz Hirai Sony (SNE -3.1%) plans to invest €1.5B ($1.7B) in its image sensor ops in FY16 (ends March '16)  - 5x what it invested in FY15.
    • The remarks come as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) gets set to launch the iPhone 6S/6S+, which are expected to feature much-improved cameras. The rear camera is rumored to support 12MP still photos, 4K video recording, and a faster burst mode; the front camera is reportedly being upgraded to 5MP.
    • Image sensors have been a strong point for Sony as it deals with weak smartphone and (PS4 excluded) home electronics sales. The company is believed to be taking share from OmniVision (OVTI +0.7%), which is expected by the Street to see its FY16 (ends April '16) sales drop 8.8% Y/Y.
    | 3:01 PM | 5 Comments
  • 2:38 PM
    • A slew of Chinese firms are among the biggest tech decliners as U.S. markets once more go into risk-aversion mode following a weaker-than-expected jobs report. The Guggenheim China Tech ETF (CQQQ -3.3%) is now down 19% YTD.
    • Big decliners include Alibaba (BABA -4.7%), as well as e-commerce peers JD.com (JD -6.6%), Vipshop (VIPS -7.9%), and LightInTheBox (LITB -3.8%). Others include Qihoo (QIHU -4.4%), Autohome (ATHM -5.3%), Sina (SINA -4.7%), YY (YY -4.3%), Ctrip (CTRP -4.3%), Qunar (QUNR -4.4%), Wowo (WOWO -5.8%), and iDreamSky (DSKY -5.6%).
    • Yesterday, Bloomberg reported Alibaba founder/chairman Jack Ma and vice chairman Joseph Tsai plan to take out a $2B+ margin loan pledged against their Alibaba stock holdings, rather than sell shares to raise funds. The money reportedly could go towards Tsai's Blue Pool Capital family office.
    • After initially moving higher, Qihoo is now below where it traded before posting a Q2 EPS beat (and not providing any guidance) on Tuesday afternoon.
    • ETFs: KWEB, QQQC, EMQQ
    | 2:38 PM | 11 Comments
  • 2:03 PM
    • Microsoft (MSFT -2.8%) is "considering a multi-billion dollar revamp" of its Redmond HQ meant to "foster more collaboration among employees and attract young engineers," Bloomberg reports. High-profile architecture firm Skidmore Owings has reportedly been hired.
    • Microsoft currently has ~80 buildings in Redmond covering about 500 acres. Bloomberg's report follows multiple reorgs meant to break down barriers between different product teams and make a certain org chart cartoon an anachronism. Apple and Google are both in the midst of creating new HQs.
    • Separately, Microsoft has bought VoloMetrix, a provider of analytics software for gauging the performance of a company's workers and sales teams. Microsoft plans to integrate VoloMetrix with Office 365's Delve organizational analytics and content discovery service.
    | 2:03 PM | 8 Comments
  • 1:44 PM
    | 1:44 PM | 1 Comment
  • 1:19 PM
    • The Information reports Google (GOOG -1.3%, GOOGL -1.4%) "hopes to get Chinese government approval to distribute a special China version" of Google Play as soon as this fall. The Chinese version of the App Store will comply with Beijing's censorship requirements, and store data locally.
    • The site previously reported of plans for a Chinese Play launch last November. Google shut down its Chinese search engine (Google.cn) in 2010 rather than comply with censorship requirements. However, the company still does plenty of business with Chinese advertisers looking to reach overseas buyers, and hosts many apps developed by Chinese firms within international Play stores.
    • While Android accounts for well over half of Chinese smartphone sales - Kantar Worldpanel estimates a 79.1% unit share in "Urban China" for the 3 months ending July - Chinese Android users generally rely on app stores from local tech giants Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), Qihoo (NYSE:QIHU), and Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY). Meanwhile, the iPhone maintains a large share among higher-income Chinese users more likely to pay for apps and/or in-app purchases.
    • In other Google news, Google is expanding its self-driving car tests from the company's home base of Mountain View to Austin, TX. The company has previously suggested it wants to bring a self-driving car to market by 2020, and that it wants to act as a hardware/software supplier for 3rd-party automakers.
    • Google claims its cars have been involved in just 16 minor accidents in over 2M miles of driving, and that none of the accidents were its fault. However, researchers think some of the accidents are a product of Google's cars being too safe, perfectly following the letter of the law in a world where many drivers don't.
    | 1:19 PM | 7 Comments
  • 12:38 PM
    • Baird has upgraded Diodes (NASDAQ:DIOD) to Outperform a day after the company announced a $400M deal to buy connectivity/timing IC vendor Pericom Semi, and hiked its target by $6 to $28.
    • Diodes is up 17% since the deal was announced, YTD, shares are still down 17%.
    | 12:38 PM | Comment!
  • 12:29 PM
    • WhatsApp (FB -1.1%) has surpassed 900M active users 5 months after topping 800M, and 8 months after surpassing 700M. Facebook Messenger passed 700M active users in June, and Facebook reported having 1.49B total MAUs at the end of Q2.
    • WhatsApp remains very cautious about monetizing its platform, which has become a full-blown SMS replacement for many of its users. A $1/year subscription fee is charged in some markets, but WhatsApp remains free of the ads, games, and payment/e-commerce services provided by various mobile messaging peers. VoIP support was added earlier this year.
    • Separately, Axiom's Victor Anthony reports Instagram (over 300M MAUs) has seen a "meaningful increase" in ad load in recent weeks, with large brands such as Wal-Mart, McDonald's, Whole Foods, and Capital One among the advertisers. He thinks Instagram's ad sales will grow to nearly $4B by 2020 from just $102M in 2015. In early June, Instagram rolled out several new tools and ad formats for marketers.
    • Also: The WSJ notes Facebook is making it easier for its 850M+ Groups users to buy and sell goods with each other, thereby furthering its e-commerce ambitions and encroaching on eBay and Craigslist's turf. For now, Facebook isn't charging any listing or transaction fees.
    • Yesterday: Facebook improves ad measurement, begins testing interactive mobile ads
    | 12:29 PM | 9 Comments
  • 11:31 AM
    • The program gives Sam's Club members guaranteed discounts for cars sold by 10K+ dealers. TrueCar (TRUE -0.7%) claims average savings of $3,221 relative to MSRP are provided for new cars.
    • A Sam's exec says the bulk goods seller doesn't expect to make money from the program, but is simply looking to create another incentive for obtaining or renewing a membership. Rival Costco sold nearly 400K cars last year through a program that works with 3K dealers.
    | 11:31 AM | Comment!
  • 11:06 AM
    • ComScore (NASDAQ:SCOR) is up again today, +0.9% against a market downdraft, as Cantor Fitzgerald chimes in with more positive analyst outlooks.
    • After meeting with management, Cantor Fitzgerald reiterated its Buy rating and $64 price target. Shares closed yesterday at $46.87 and are currently at $47.30, implying 35% upside. Yesterday, Needham and Brean set $66 and $67 price targets respectively.
    • "While we're not big fans of barter transactions, we believe management has adequately addressed the logic behind pursuing them and their benefits to the business," says Cantor's Youssef Squali, even as management moves toward cash-for-cash deals for new data pacts. "Importantly, management has not changed its 2015 guidance even as it looks to minimize this revenue stream going forward."
    • Previously: ComScore up 5.7% as analysts respond to accounting questions (Sep. 03 2015)
    • Previously: ComScore rebounding after two days of decline (Sep. 02 2015)
    • Previously: ComScore top-line growth: Benefiting from barter? (Aug. 31 2015)
    | 11:06 AM | 1 Comment
  • 11:02 AM
    • Up strong in after hours trading yesterday after delivering an FQ4 beat and issuing mixed FQ1 guidance, Infoblox (NYSE:BLOX) has reversed course today. Shares have made new 2015 lows.
    • The company disclosed on its earnings call (transcript) CFO Remo Canessa will be leaving to "pursue other opportunities." Canessa, who has been CFO since 2004, will remain in place until a successor is found.
    • Meanwhile, management was peppered with questions about the extent to which recent sales growth - product/license revenue was up 45% Y/Y in FQ4 to $46.3M - was fueled by a product refresh cycle that will gradually taper out.  CEO Jesper Anderson tried to downplay those concerns. "Look, refresh is a great tailwind to have for us and as we've said on earlier calls, we're very focused on making the most of it ... We see that we can upsell these opportunities, we can add security to them ... we are closing a lot of business that's not refresh as well."
    • He added 4 of Infoblox's 10 biggest FQ4 deals didn't involve a refresh component, and that 3 major refresh deals also "included a significant amount of cloud and security discussion." However, Andersen admitted new account adds (averaging ~200 in recent quarters) were down slightly Q/Q and "probably one of areas where I feel we could have done a little better." He suggests sales incentive structures played a role.
    • Though admitting there's limited visibility into the size of the refresh cycle, JMP's Erik Suppiger (Outperform) thinks "non-refresh business is robust and will sustain healthy growth." Morgan Stanley's James Faucette (Equal-Weight) is more cautious. "We believe the biggest chunk of the refresh is likely complete and while we expect strong Y/Y product growth, we are now modeling for a Q/Q drop in product revenue ... Continued acceleration in sales utilization beyond the refresh opportunity, increased op leverage and more traction with security products beyond the DNS Firewall could turn us more positive on the name."
    • FQ4 results, guidance/details
    | 11:02 AM | Comment!
  • 10:20 AM
    • The Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services has hired InterCloud (ICLD +13.4%) to provide cloud disaster recovery/data redundancy services. The deal size is undisclosed.
    • The microcap's shares have jumped on volume of 673K shares (compares with a 3-month daily average of 745K). They remain down 26% YTD.
    • Previously: InterCloud lands $9M-$15M contract from U.S. carrier
    | 10:20 AM | Comment!
  • 9:48 AM
    • Raymond James has downgraded NetSuite (NYSE:N) to Underperform. Shares have fallen below $85 for the first time since last October.
    • BNP Paribas upgraded NetSuite a week ago. Shares go for 7x 2016E revenue, or perhaps ~6x forward billings.
    | 9:48 AM | 1 Comment
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