Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Friday, March 27, 2015

  • 2:50 AM
    • Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook plans to give away all his wealth after paying for the college education of his 10-year-old nephew, Fortune Magazine reports.
    • "You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripple for change," Cook stated.
    • Fortune estimates Cook's net worth, based on his holdings of Apple stock, at about $120M. He also holds restricted stock worth $665M if it were to be fully vested.
  • Thursday, March 26, 2015

  • 7:16 PM
    • Voxeljet's (NYSE:VJET) Q4 revenue  of €6.94M ($7.56M) beat a €6.09M consensus. EPS of -€0.17 per ordinary share is equal to -€0.034 (-$0.037) per ADS, beating a -€0.05 consensus.
    • Also: The German 3D printer maker is affirming 2015 revenue guidance of €23M-€24M ($25.1M-$26.2M), above a €22.96M consensus.
    • Q4 systems revenue +72.8% Y/Y to €4.25M; services revenue +117.9% to €2.69M. Backlog +82% to €4.18M.
    • Gross margin rose to 43.9% from 37.2% in Q3 and 27.5% in Q4 2013. Operating expenses rose just 2% Y/Y to €3.81M.
    • Shares have jumped to $9.16 AH.
    • Q4 results, PR
  • 6:59 PM
    • Though Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) are squaring off more than ever following yesterday's Facebook F8 conference product launches, none of it is intentional, insists Mark Zuckerberg in a Wired interview.
    • Zuck: "To the extent that we are doing measurement and Google did measurement, that’s just because Google is smart and they also realize that measurement is valuable ... Same on the video front ... we are not thinking about how we are competing with YouTube. We are thinking about how are we going to make it more useful for people to share stuff on Facebook."
    • Facebook's launch of a mobile ad exchange (competes against Google's DoubleClick, leverages Facebook data) and embedded video support (YouTube dominates video embeds) has led to more than a few headlines declaring Facebook is out to take Google's lunch. The companies already compete in multiple ad markets.
    • On the mobile ad exchange front, at least, the competitive overlap might be less than some think. As Foreester's Jim Nail observes, DoubleClick's exchange, much like Google search, focuses on intent-based advertising (i.e. ads for items users have recently expressed interest in), while Facebook's natural strength is targeting based on a user's historical likes.
    • Other Facebook F8 news: 1) Facebook has provided details about Aquila, a solar-powered drone that will have a wingspan similar to a Boeing 767, and be used lasers to beam Web access to underserved regions. Google bought drone maker Titan Aerospace last year. 2) Oculus chief scientist Michael Abrash promises big things for virtual reality, once tech challenges are resolved. "Virtual reality -- done right -- truly is reality as far as the observer is concerned ... It's clear that VR has the potential to change almost everything about the way we live."
    • Yesterday: Zuck shares stats, launches Messenger app platform
  • 6:18 PM
    • Voxeljet AG (NYSE:VJET): Q4 EPS of --€0.17 vs. --€0.85 in 4Q13
    • Revenue of €6.94M (+88.1% Y/Y).
    • Press Release
  • 6:08 PM
    • ChinaCache International (NASDAQ:CCIH): FQ4 EPADS of -$0.13
    • Revenue of $54.6M (-2.7% Y/Y).
    • Press Release
    | Comment!
  • 5:52 PM
    • In its 2014 10-K (just filed), ExOne (NASDAQ:XONE) states it has "concluded that there are material weaknesses in the design and operating effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as defined in SEC Regulation S-X."
    • The identified weaknesses: 1) "We did not maintain adequate control with respect to the application of [GAAP accounting]." 2) "Each of our primary locations (United States, Germany, Italy and Japan) utilizes separate and distinct [IT]  platforms to record, process and summarize transactions. As a result, our process to consolidate and report financial information is substantially a manual process and inherently subject to error." 3) "[B]ecause of internal control weaknesses identified with respect to our financial reporting process and [IT] systems, management was unable to complete an adequate review of either subsidiary or consolidated financial results at a sufficient level of precision to prevent or detect misstatements."
    • To address the issues, ExOne says it's changing its accounting/reporting process, overhauling its IT systems, and hiring more financial personnel.
  • 5:27 PM
    • Making Starboard Value happy, Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) has added $2B to be its buyback authorization, raising its total available funds to $2.73B (good for repurchasing over 6% of outstanding shares at current levels). (8-K filing)
    • The new buyback funds are good until March 31, 2018. Yahoo used part of its Alibaba IPO windfall to buy back $980M worth of shares in Q4, and has spent $9.7B on buybacks since Q2 2012. The company had $10B in cash/marketable securities at the end of 2014, and $1.17B in convertible debt.
    • YHOO +1.4% AH to $45.09.
  • 5:11 PM
    • Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and NAND flash partner Micron's (NASDAQ:MU) 3D NAND solution enables chips with 384Gb (48GB) of capacity, or 3x that of existing 3D NAND parts. The companies promise "gum stick-sized SSDs with more than 3.5 terabytes of storage and standard 2.5-inch SSDs with greater than 10TB."
    • Along with higher densities, Intel/Micron promise lower costs, improved read/write performance, and new sleep modes that cut power to inactive parts of a chip. A 256Gb multi-level cell (MLC) chip is sampling today, while a 384Gb tri-level cell (TLC) chip will sample later this spring. Mass-production is expected by Q4; Intel and Micron both plan to launch SSD lines relying on the chips "within the next year." SA author Electric Phred previously argued Intel/Micron could have a big cost advantage.
    • The offerings take aim at Samsung, which has been shipping 3D NAND parts for several months, as well as Toshiba and partner SanDisk (SNDK - fell 18.5% today due to a Q1/2015 warning). Today, Toshiba/SanDisk announced a 48-layer 128Gb 3G NAND solution - the Intel/Micron solution features 32 layers, as do Samsung's current chips. The SanDisk/Toshiba offering relies on an advanced 15nm manufacturing process and is sampling today, but full commercial production isn't expected until 2016.
    • Needham's Rajvindra Gill (Strong Buy on Micron) is pleased with today's news. "We think MU’s strategy of optimizing bits per area is the right approach in 3D NAND." At the same time, he notes Samsung's 3D offerings deliver major endurance, performance, and power benefits relative to 2D NAND.
    • In other Intel-related news, the WSJ reports HP is close to selling a 51% stake in its H3C Chinese networking hardware unit to Tsinghua Unigroup. With Intel taking a 20% stake in Tsinghua last year as part of a mobile processor alliance, a deal could lead to greater use of Intel's CPUs, network processors, and switching chips within H3C's hardware.
    • Intel doesn't separately break out its NAND sales. The business is part of an "All other" reporting segment that had 2014 revenue of $2.25B (+18% Y/Y). After initially falling due to SanDisk's warning, Micron closed up 0.3% today. Intel closed up 0.6%.
  • 4:35 PM
    • Interphase (NASDAQ:INPH): Q4 EPS of -$0.26
    • Revenue of $2.87M (-33.6% Y/Y)
    • Press Release
    | Comment!
  • 4:29 PM
    • HP (NYSE:HPQ) is close to selling a 51% stake in its H3C Technologies Chinese networking hardware unit to state-backed Tsinghua Unigroup, the WSJ reports. Echoing an October report about HP's sale efforts, the paper states H3C is "worth roughly $5 billion in total."
    • Sources state a sale might include "a separate server operation," and could still be a few weeks away. Tsinghua is said to be competing with other bidders, including investment firm China Huaxin.
    • Tsinghua has bought Chinese chipmakers RDA and Spreadtrum, and since formed a mobile processor partnership with Intel. HP, meanwhile, saw its networking revenue fall 11% Y/Y in the January quarter, something that was blamed on "execution issues" in the U.S. and China. Like other U.S. enterprise IT firms, the NSA scandal has taken a toll on HP's Chinese sales.
    • The report comes as HP gets set to acquire enterprise Wi-Fi hardware/software vendor Aruba Networks ahead of a PC/printing spinoff expected to occur by the end of FY15 (ends Oct. '15).
    | Comment!
  • 4:12 PM
    • Upland Software (NASDAQ:UPLD): Q4 EPS of -$0.30 misses by $0.11.
    • Revenue of $16.47M (+36.1% Y/Y) misses by $0.14M.
    • Press Release
    | Comment!
  • 4:11 PM
    • Aehr Test Systems (NASDAQ:AEHR): FQ3 EPS of -$0.12
    • Revenue of $2.02M (-22.6% Y/Y)
    • Press Release
    | Comment!
  • 4:10 PM
    • Thomas M. Prescott, Align Technology's (NASDAQ:ALGN) CEO since 2002, is retiring, effective June 1. He'll remain on the board.
    • Joseph Hogan, most recently the CEO of power equipment giant ABB, will be Align's new CEO, and also join the board. Before joining ABB, Hogan was the CEO of GE Healthcare.
    • Align uses the announcement to state it expects "first quarter Invisalign case volume to be at the high-end to slightly above our guidance range."
    | Comment!
  • 3:19 PM
    • Today's notable tech gainers include ultracapacitor maker Maxwell (MXWL +4.6%), SMB Web services firm (WWWW +3.7%), health site owner WebMD (WBMD +3.7%), and RF chipmaker Anadigics (ANAD +11.3%).
    • Notable decliners include NAND flash controller/4G transceiver maker Silicon Motion (SIMO -4%), hybrid storage array vendor Nimble Storage (NMBL -3.8%), local ad services provider Dex Media (DXM -8.5%). The Nasdaq is down 0.2%.
    • Maxwell's gains come a day after the company announced an ultracapacitor-based engine start module will be offered for two new Kenworth trucks. Silicon Motion has joined a slew of other chip stocks in selling off for the second day in a row. Nimble is trading near its January lows, while Dex has made fresh 52-week lows.
    • Previously covered: Cybersecurity stocks, SolarEdge, Infinera, Accenture, SuperCom, Neustar, Textura, ASML, GoPro, SanDisk, Red Hat
    | Comment!
  • 3:00 PM
    • After pricing its 7M-share IPO at $18, SolarEdge (Pending:SEDG) opened at $20.00 and is currently at $21.69, up 20.5%.
    • The solar inverter/power optimizer maker is valued at $826M, or (given FY14 sales and recent growth) potentially ~2x forward sales.
    • Rival/microinverter leader Enphase (ENPH +3.3%) appears to have gotten a lift from SolarEdge's debut; its market cap is currently at $518M.
    • Prospectus, details/financials, IPO analysis,
  • 2:53 PM
    • Stephen Swad has resigned as Rosetta Stone's (NYSE:RST) CEO after three years on the job, as well as from the company's board. Director/ex-Goldman managing partner A. John Hass will serve as interim CEO while the board looks for a replacement.
    • The announcement comes two weeks after the language software vendor announced (along with its Q4 results) it's cutting jobs and lowering its consumer product investments. Shares tumbled on account of Rosetta's light bookings and 2015 guidance.
    | Comment!
  • 2:44 PM
    • Though the Nasdaq is nearly flat today, many security tech plays are rallying. CyberArk (CYBR +4.6%) is a standout, adding to Monday's post-lockup gains. So are Qualys (QLYS +4.7%), Vasco (VDSI +3.8%), and Proofpoint (PFPT +4.3%). Palo Alto Networks (PANW +1.8%), Fortinet (FTNT +1.9%), and Imperva (IMPV +2.2%) are up more moderately.
    • Possibly helping the group: The House Intelligence Committee has unanimously passed a cybersecurity bill that will make it easier for companies to share information about attacks without risking lawsuits. A full House vote could happen by late April, and the Senate is working on a similar bill. The White House recently floated its own cybersecurity initiatives.
    • Yesterday, FBR's Daniel Ives (bullish on the space for some time) forecast spending on "next-generation" security solutions will rise 25% this year, up from a prior 20% estimate. He thinks less than 10% of companies have fully invested in next-gen offerings, and sees evidence of a "surge in deal flow with a major upgrade cycle underway in 2015, as enterprises and governments 'fast track' cybersecurity initiatives across the board."
    • Ives expects FireEye (FEYE +0.7%), Palo Alto, Fortinet, and Proofpoint to benefit from the trend, which he isn't sqeamish about hyping. "This once-in-a-multi-decade upgrade opportunity is poised to be a rising tide for all security boats ... with legacy security solutions no longer 'good enough' and next-generation products well positioned to replace traditional firewall and endpoint vendors over the coming years."
    • ETF: HACK
    • Previously: Three cybersecurity companies reportedly planning $1B+ IPOs
    | 1 Comment
  • 2:23 PM
    • Windstream (WIN +0.6%)  shareholders will receive 1 share of CS&L for every five shares held as of Apr 10 and cash in exchange of fractional shares. It will distribute 80.1% shares and intends to use the balance 19.9% to reduce debt.
    • The company also declared pro-rated quarterly dividend of $.0659/share to shareholders of record as on Apr 10 which is conditional to the closing of spin-off.
    • Following the distribution of CS&L shares, Windstream shareholders will have 1-for-6 reverse stock split and expects to pay annual dividend of $0.60/share.
    • CS&L expects to list its common stock on Nasdaq under the symbol (CSAL) and intends to pay an annual dividend of $2.40 per share.
    • Windstream re-affirmed its financial guidance for 2015.
  • 2:20 PM
    • Reuters reports an investor group led by SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF) is in talks with Indian phone OEM Micromax to buy a 20% stake in the company for $800M-$1B.
    • Canalys recently estimated Micromax passed Samsung to become India's top-selling smartphone vendor (Samsung begged to differ). The company's Android and feature phones have gained a strong following thanks both to their low prices and focus on the needs of emerging markets users.
    • Micromax was reported in January to be planning an IPO with Goldman and Morgan Stanley's help. As the owner of Sprint and Japan's #2 carrier, SoftBank could help Micromax expand into the world's two largest developed phone markets.
    | Comment!
  • 2:05 PM
    • MKM's Michael Genovese is pleased with Infinera's (NASDAQ:INFN) recent unveiling of two new photonic integrated circuits (PICs) that will go into optical transport systems aimed at 100G metro networks. "PICs are the source of the company's competitive advantage in long haul, and we expect the new more flexible and granular PICs to form the basis of a compelling Metro 100G aggregation/Telecom product later this year."
    • Infinera asserts its new PICs offer more flexibility by allowing capacity to be "divided at a granular optical level with each slice capable of being routed in a different direction as it exits the line card or the system housing it." One PIC (the ePIC-500) delivers 500Gbps of capacity at network hub locations, and the other (the oPIC-100) 100Gbps at network spoke locations.
    • Infinera claims tests showed "an estimated average reduction of 28 percent in modules, 31 percent in power and 45 percent in bandwidth inefficiencies as compared to conventional, commercial off the shelf technologies that deliver single-wavelength or super-channel solutions for 100G, 200G or 400G."
    • Genovese sees Infinera's addressable market expanding to ~$20B in 2018 from ~$5B in 2014 as it "competes in end-to-end Optical Transport including Metro and [data center infrastructure]," and as its systems handle traffic forwarding features traditionally handled by routers - the latter could pose challenges for Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) and Juniper (NYSE:JNPR).
    • Infinera is once more within a dollar of a 52-week high of $19.48.
    | Comment!
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