Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Tuesday, September 1, 2015

  • 7:24 PM
    • SAP has launched Hana Vora, a product that leverages the increasingly popular Apache Spark framework, and which integrates with SAP's Hana in-memory database.
    • Like Hana, Spark is used to analyze large datasets in-memory. However, while Hana is used to analyze structured database entries (such as those produced by SAP's ERP software), Spark is often used to handle unstructured and semi-structured data, including content stored via the Hadoop big data framework. Both Spark and Hadoop are open-source.
    • Though some overlap exists, SAP insists Hana and Spark are complementary. The company argues Vora's querying tools and Hana integration enable richer analytics for Spark, thereby making it valuable for applications (fraud detection, network traffic analysis, etc.) where understanding business process context for giant datasets is important.
    | 7:24 PM | Comment!
  • 6:38 PM
    • Qihoo (NYSE:QIHU) is up 2.5% after hours after beating Q2 EPS estimates and posting in-line revenue. Like several other U.S.-traded Chinese companies, Qihoo has declined to provide guidance in its Q2 report, after doing so in prior quarters.
    • Top-line performance: Online ad revenue +71.6% Y/Y to $293.9M. Internet value-added service revenue  -16.4% to $122.2M. The former was boosted by search ad growth; the latter fell due to the government's suspension of online lottery sales.
    • Metrics: Total users of Qihoo's PC products/services rose by 11M Q/Q and 18M Y/Y to 514M. Users of Qihoo's 360 Mobile Safe product rose by 21M Q/Q and 158M Y/Y to 799M. Monthly active users for Qihoo's PC browsers - they drive search/home page traffic - rose by 12M Q/Q and 43M Y/Y to 388M. Average daily clicks on Qihoo's 360 personal startup page fell by 13M Q/Q and 72M Y/Y to 677M.
    • Financials: Gross margin fell to 76.2% from 79.3% a year ago. Operating expenses (non-GAAP) rose 27% Y/Y to $232.5M. Qihoo ended Q2 with $1.3B in cash/investments, and $1.6B in long-term debt.
    • No decision is said to have been made regarding the $77/share going-private offer Qihoo received in June.
    • Q2 results, PR
    | 6:38 PM | 9 Comments
  • 6:11 PM
    • Extending a feature previously available on its Kindle Fire tablets, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is now allowing Prime streaming video users to download movies and TV shows onto devices running iOS or Google's version of Android, and thus watch them offline in locations where Internet service is slow, non-existent, or expensive (planes, buses, remote areas, etc.).
    • One catch: Due to licensing issues, the feature isn't available for all titles on Amazon's Instant Video streaming service. Amazon says "thousands" of titles are currently supported, and that users will generally have 15-30 days to watch them after downloading.
    • Download support serves as a differentiator relative to Netlfix (NASDAQ:NFLX), which has previously said it doesn't plan to offer the feature. Today's move comes ahead of a Japanese service launch.
    • Amazon hasn't disclosed how much it's spending on Instant Video, which (like Amazon's music streaming and cloud storage services) aims to keep users signed up for Prime. Bernstein estimated last year Amazon would spend over $2.5B in 2015 on streaming license rights and original content.
    | 6:11 PM | 9 Comments
  • 6:00 PM
    • QIHOO 360 Technology (NYSE:QIHU): Q2 EPS of $0.82 beats by $0.10.
    • Revenue of $438.3M (+37.9% Y/Y) in-line.
    • Press Release
    | 6:00 PM | 3 Comments
  • 5:30 PM
    • Ambarella (NASDAQ:AMBA) has guided on its FQ2 earnings call (webcast) for FQ3 revenue of $90M-$93M, in-line with a $92.3M consensus.
    • Wearable (action camera) video processor revenue is expected to be down Q/Q and Y/Y in FQ3, something Ambarella blames on product launch timings - major camera launches/ramps occurred in FQ2 this year rather than FQ3. IP security camera and drone-related demand is expected to be stronger.
    • Gross margin (non-GAAP) rose 50 bps Q/Q and 20 bps Y/Y in FQ2 to 65.3%; FQ3 GM guidance is at 62.5%-64%. Operating expenses rose 29% Y/Y to $22.7M. As previously forecast, drones (boosted by DJI/Yuneec product launches) made up over 10% of revenue for the first time.
    • The company insists its competitive position hasn't changed, and argues its video expertise will help it fend off the likes of Intel and Qualcomm, who are looking to sell app processors/SoCs into the drone market.
    • Ambarella has fallen to $82.65 after hours. GoPro (NASDAQ:GPRO) has fallen to $42.65.
    • Ambarella's FQ2 beat, PR
    • Earlier: GoPro, Ambarella fall after negative Cleveland Research note
    • Update (6:40PM ET): Ambarella is now down 9.1% after hours, and GoPro down 5.5%.
    | 5:30 PM | 21 Comments
  • 5:23 PM
    • AeroVironment (NASDAQ:AVAV) has fallen to $21.84 after hours following its FQ1 miss. Drone (UAS) division sales fell 2% Y/Y to $40.2M; EV charging system (EES) division sales fell 36% to $6.9M.
    • In spite of the FQ1 miss, AeroVironment is maintaining FY16 (ends April '16) revenue of $260M-$280M (consensus is at $269.4M) and gross margin of 36%-37.5%. A likely reason: Funded backlog totaled $89M at the end of FQ1, up 37% Y/Y.
    • Gross margin rose to 34% from 27% a year ago, and operating expenses rose 22% Y/Y to $25.1M. AeroVironment ended FQ1 with $261M in cash/investments, and no debt.
    • FQ2 results, PR
    | 5:23 PM | Comment!
  • 4:52 PM
    • AT&T (T -2.6%) files an 8-K saying it's learned of a "mini-tender" offer by TRC Capital Corp., to purchase up to 3M outstanding shares for $31.30/share.
    • The company recommends rejection of the unsolicited offer, which is set to expire on Sept. 25. The offer price is below AT&T's current closing price of $32.33.
    • AT&T warns that TRC Capital has approached other companies' shareholders with similar "mini-tenders" -- which avoid many SEC requirements by seeking less than 5% of outstanding shares.
    | 4:52 PM | 20 Comments
  • 4:50 PM
    • Continuing the activist efforts it launched when the company was known as JDS Uniphase, Sandell Asset Management (5.1% stake) has called on Viavi (NASDAQ:VIAV) to launch a strategic review to maximize the value of its net operating losses (NOLs).
    • Sandell notes remarks from CFO Rex Jackson indicating Viavi has $4B-$4.5B in federal NOLs alone. It argues Viavi could receive over $10/share in a buyout, and could be worth over $12/share if it transformed into a "tax-advantaged platform company."
    • Shares rallied today in the face of a 2.9% Nasdaq drop. UBS recently estimated Viavi's NOLs totaled $4.5B, and that its deferred tax assets had a face value of $1.5B.
    | 4:50 PM | Comment!
  • 4:44 PM
    • In an 8-K, Majesco Entertainment (COOL +0.8%) details pay for its new CEO, David Rector.
    • Rector will receive monthly salary of $8,500 starting Sept. 1, and was granted 100,000 restricted shares of common stock, to vest in three equal installments on anniversaries.
    • The compensation is in addition to options Rector was granted as chairman of the board.
    | 4:44 PM | 1 Comment
  • 4:27 PM
    • Five days after announcing a $100M accelerated buyback (ASR) and 9 months after launching a $180M ASR, Synopsys (NASDAQ:SNPS) has hiked its buyback authorization to $500M. The EDA software vendor did something similar in Dec. 2013.
    • At current levels, Synopsys' authorization is good for repurchasing 7% of outstanding shares.
    | 4:27 PM | Comment!
  • 4:15 PM
    • Stating it wishes to separate the chairman and CEO positions, Check Point (NASDAQ:CHKP) has named Marius Nacht, a co-founder and 22-year board vet, its non-executive chairman.
    • Fellow co-founder, Gil Shwed, who has served as both chairman and CEO since 1998, will retain the latter role.
    | 4:15 PM | Comment!
  • 4:09 PM
    • Exa (NASDAQ:EXA): FQ2 EPS of -$0.06 beats by $0.02.
    • Revenue of $15.5M (+4.4% Y/Y) misses by $0.03M.
    • Press Release
    | 4:09 PM | Comment!
  • 4:07 PM
    • Guidewire Software (NYSE:GWRE): FQ4 EPS of $0.35 beats by $0.09.
    • Revenue of $125.92M (+6.5% Y/Y) beats by $3.44M.
    • Press Release
    | 4:07 PM | Comment!
  • 4:06 PM
    • Ambarella (NASDAQ:AMBA): FQ2 EPS of $0.88 beats by $0.08.
    • Revenue of $84.2M (+79.3% Y/Y) beats by $2.47M.
    • Shares +1%.
    • Press Release
    | 4:06 PM | 13 Comments
  • 4:04 PM
    • Continuing a rough 2015, 3D Systems (DDD -6.6%), Stratasys (SSYS -5.8%), Organovo (ONVO -10.6%), Arcam (OTCPK:AMAVF -6.1%), and Voxeljet (VJET -4.9%) have seen outsized losses on a day the Nasdaq fell 2.9%. Volume was generally below-average.
    • Short interests indicate many shorts with large profits have chosen not to cover: 3D Systems had 35% of its float shorted as of Aug. 14, Stratasys 28%, Organovo 26%, and Voxeljet 11%.
    • Earlier today, Stratasys announced the Objet30 Dental Prime, a 3D printer aimed at smaller dental labs. The company promises the printer's High Quality mode can deliver "intricate, delicate features required for precise fittings on crown, bridge, and prosthetic models" via 16-micron layers.
    • Meanwhile, Organovo CEO Keith Murphy defended his company in a talk with Benzinga - he discussed partnerships with Merck, L'Oreal, and Yale, and downplayed Organovo's FQ1 numbers. "We reported about $300K in revenue for the first quarter, and we're seeing some reaction to that, I would say. The bigger picture is, last quarter we had $2 million in booked contracts. The fact that these (contracts) take a couple of quarters to be recognized as revenue shouldn't surprise anyone."
    | 4:04 PM | 14 Comments
  • 2:59 PM
    • As usual, VMware's (VMW +0.5%) annual VMworld conference has been filled to the brim with product and partnership announcements. Among the most prominent: A deal with rival Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) to create a new product (called Project A2) for managing and upgrading Windows 10 PCs.
    • A2 leverages VMware's AirWatch enterprise mobility suite, and its App Volume app management software. VMware: "We believe that we are pioneering a unique approach in the industry with a combination of heterogeneous management and real-time application delivery that makes applications lightweight, easy to deliver and simple to consume for users using any device."
    • Meanwhile, Nvidia (NVDA -3.8%) has announced Grid 2.0, a new version of its server-based GPU platform for powering virtual PCs/workstations. Grid 2.0 works with VMware's Horizon virtual desktop software, and supports up to 128 users per server (up from 64 previously).
    • VMware's core vSphere virtualization platform has been updated to support integrated app containers (often seen as a threat to standard server virtualization) from Docker and other container platforms. Underpinning the solution is Photon, a platform for deploying and managing containers running on top of vSphere.
    • Also announced: 1) EVO SDDC, a product for managing/deploying data center resources; VMware promises many traditional deployment tasks can be automated. 2) VSAN 6.1, a new version of VMware's storage virtualization platform that supports new data protection features. 3) Disaster recovery, database, and object storage services for the vCloud Air hybrid cloud platform.
    • Baird's Jayson Noland has upgraded VMware to Outperform after attending the company's analyst day (held at VMworld). He calls VMware "the best positioned software infrastructure provider," notes management was positive about enterprise license agreement (ELA) demand, and "continues to see potential for increased alignment with EMC and potentially a spin-in designed to drive improved cost and revenue synergy."
    • VMware is up slightly on a day the Nasdaq is down 2.3%.
    • Yesterday: VMware rises after downplaying EMC downstream merger rumor
    • Last year's VMworld announcements: I, II
    • Analyst day slides
    | 2:59 PM | Comment!
  • 2:06 PM
    • Beaten-down Ascent Solar (ASTI +107.4%) has jumped on volume of 25.9M shares, far above a 3-month daily average of 1.5M. No major news has hit the wires.
    • The microcap solar-powered accessory maker still only sports a $12M market cap. Shares -80% YTD.
    | 2:06 PM | 3 Comments
  • 2:05 PM
    • Sprint (NYSE:S) says it's investing $150M in Chicago by the end of 2016, nearly doubling its headcount there with more than 750 new jobs and up to $250M of network spend across Chicagoland over the next two years.
    • Chicago will be the first Sprint city to see deployment of LTE-Advanced.
    • The new jobs -- building on the existing "Sprint for Chicago" initiative to improve customer service, which promised 300 new jobs in March -- include retail positions, wireless experts for the company's house-call "Direct 2 You" service, and network techs and engineers.
    • Meanwhile, boosted by continuing SoftBank support, Sprint shares are bucking today's sharply lower market, up 0.5% while the S&P 500 is down 2.5%.
    | 2:05 PM | 6 Comments
  • 1:53 PM
    • Kulicke & Soffa (KLIC +2.4%) asserts the APAMA C2W, its second chip-to-wafer (C2W) thermo-compression  bonder, delivers "industry-leading throughput, placement accuracy, metrology and cost-of-ownership advantages to the high growth Advanced Packaging market."
    • The bonder supports 2.5D and 3D chip packages. Kulicke declares the C2W bonders and the products acquired through its recent acquisition of Dutch chip equipment maker Assembleon give it "a complete offering of advanced packaging solutions ranging FOWLP, Wafer Level Packaging (WLP), Flip Chip, System-in-a-Package ((SiP)), Package-on-Package (PoP), Embedded die and TCB."
    • Shares are up in the face of a 2% Nasdaq drop.
    | 1:53 PM | Comment!
  • 1:36 PM
    • Subscribers to Russia's mobile telecoms services rose in Q2, rebounding from a decline in the first quarter.
    • Totals came to 242.33M mobile subscriptions, up from 238.35M the quarter before. Market penetration came to 169.6%, up sequentially from 166.8%, as Russia's population is about 146.3M.
    • Mobile TeleSystems  (MBT -4.3%) led Russian subscriber totals, with 75.39M, up from 74.5M. Megafon (OTC:MFOYY) came in with 71.4M, up from 69.52M; VimpelCom (VIP -3%) logged 57.17M compared to Q1's 55.71M; and Tele2 Russia (OTCPK:TLTZY) with 34.7M subscribers shrank from Q1's 34.9M.
    • Breakdown of market share in Russia: MTS, 31%; Megafon, 29%; VimpelCom, 24%; Tele2 Russia, 14%.
    • Counting subscribers across multiple countries, VimpelCom (with an additional footprint in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan) passes MTS in overall subscribers, with 109.27M to Mobile TeleSystems' 105.33M and Megafon's 73.85M.
    | 1:36 PM | Comment!
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