Seeking Alpha
  • Today - Monday, September 1, 2014

  • 1:56 AM
    • America Movil (NYSE:AMX) has hired Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) to sell a significant amount of its wireline/mobile assets, in order to lower its market share by less than 50%.
    • Potential buyers include AT&T (NYSE:T) and SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY), a source tells Bloomberg.
    • The move is in response to new Mexican regulation designed to curb the company's dominance. America Movil announced the sale in July.
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  • Friday, August 29, 2014

  • 7:06 PM
    • Broadcom's (NASDAQ:BRCM) WICED Sense kit contains a Bluetooth chip, five MEMS sensors (a gyroscope, an accelerometer, a compass, a barometer, and a temperature/humidity sensor), and related software. An iOS app meant to interact with the kit has been published in the App Store.
    • Developers can use the kit to grab sensor data and add Web connectivity to a variety of embedded/wearable devices (the proverbial Internet of Things). Cited examples include sending a text alert if the temperature in an area of one's home rises above a certain level, and improving one's tennis stroke via sensor data obtained by attaching the kit to a racquet.
    • Broadcom is hoping the kit sparks broader OEM design activity for its WICED platform, which (with the help of a Wi-Fi modem and Bluetooth bridging), aims to provide connectivity for products ranging from cameras to fridges to thermostats. Qualcomm, Intel, and Texas Instruments are some of the other companies hoping to aggressively grow their embedded chip sales.
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  • 6:31 PM
    • "Since Ferguson, inquiries have increased, conservatively, five fold," Digital Ally (DGLY +19%) CEO Stanton Ross is quoted telling USA Today in a column about DGLY's post-Ferguson popularity.
    • Ross also says a recent $1.1M Michigan order, together with other sales, will help DGLY deliver 2014 revenue of $22.5M.
    • In an 8-K released after the close, DGLY cautions "there can be no assurance that the Company will achieve" Ross' revenue forecast.
    • Shares managed to rise 386% over the course of August. DGLY's market cap is now at $50.5M.
  • 5:55 PM
    • Amir Faintuch, the president of Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) Atheros Wi-Fi/connectivity chip unit, has been hired by Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) to be an SVP/co-GM for its Platform Engineering Group (handles chip R&D).
    • Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy talks up Faintuch's expertise in SoC development - though best known for its Wi-Fi offerings, Atheros' product line now also covers Bluetooth, GPS, and home networking ICs, as well as Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo chips.
    • Intel's bio page currently shows 3 Platform Engineering GMs: Rani Borkar, Aicha Evans, and Joshua M. Walden. However, each has the title of VP rather than SVP.
    • Qualcomm is only a year removed from seeing Faintuch's predecessor, Craig Barratt, leave for Google. More recently, the company saw business development/Qualcomm Labs chief Peggy Johnson leave for Microsoft.
    • Separately, Intel has launched new Core i7 Extreme Edition CPUs. Though the 22nm chips are (high-margin) niche products meant for gaming rigs and low-end workstations, they're notable for being the first Intel desktop CPU line to support eight cores and DDR4 RAM (previous). Pricing ranges from $389-$999.
    • Update: Reuters has updated its column to state Faintuch will co-manage the Platform Engineering Group with Walden.
  • 5:19 PM
    • Hercules Technology Growth Capital's (NYSE:HTGC) COO Harry A. Feuerstein has resigned for "personal reasons."  He'll remain with the company as an "outside consultant."
  • 5:04 PM
    • Casco Automotive is a supplier of data connectivity, power, charging, and sensor products to automakers. The company has annual sales of $220M, and employs 1.3K+ people.
    • Amphenol (NYSE:APH) is buying Casco from component vendor Cap-Con Automotive. The deal is expected to close by year's end, and be accretive to EPS in its first year. More details will be given following Amphenol's Oct. 22 Q3 report.
    • Last year, Amphenol struck a deal to buy GE's advanced sensors unit for $318M. Rival TE Connectivity has also been expanding via M&A.
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  • 4:44 PM
    • BofA/Merrill's Nat Schneider sees plenty of bullish takeaways for (COUP +9.5%) in NCH Marketing's mid-year coupon industry report.
    • Among the takeaways: 1) Digital coupon distribution volume is up 31% Y/Y. 2) Redemptions have risen to 15% for print-at-home coupons, albeit while dropping slightly to 8.3% for paperless coupons. 3) Digital coupons now account for 12% of redemptions, compared with 49% for free standing inserts (FSIs).
    • Shares have recovered some of the huge losses they saw earlier in August after offered light revenue guidance and reported a Q/Q transaction drop.
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  • 4:41 PM
    • Shortly after the NYT and others reported Time Warner has ended talks to buy a stake in Vice Media, the FT has reported Vice is wrapping up a deal to sell a 10% stake to A&E Networks for $250M. The deal's $2.5B valuation is well above the $1.4B valuation Vice received while selling a 5% stake to Fox last year.
    • Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Hearst each own 50% of A&E. Thus, the deal would give Disney a 5% indirect stake in Vice. The media giant only 5 months removed from agreeing to buy YouTube content provider Maker Studios for up to $950M.
    • Vice's assets include the site, a large network of online content channels, a TV studio, and a branding agency. Its viewer base skews young.
    • The FT adds Vice will "produce digital and cable programming for A&E as part of the deal," but won't take over any of A&E's channels.
    • Vice CEO Shane Smith: "It’s a great deal for us ... It means we can preserve our independence and it gives us a war chest for another three years of dramatic growth."
  • 4:15 PM
    • Pixelworks (NASDAQ:PXLW) has filed to sell up to $50M in common stock through future offerings. The company only says any proceeds will be used for "general corporate purposes." (prospectus)
    • The video-processing SoC developer had $20.9M in cash as of June 30, and $4.8M in debt.
    • Shares -0.7% AH.
  • 4:06 PM
    • Three days after American Airlines pulled its fares from Orbitz (OWW +3.5%), the online travel agency announces it has reached a deal to bring them back. The deal covers both American and merger partner US Airways.
    • Orbitz spiked shortly before the close on the news. Shares are up another 1% AH.
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  • 2:37 PM
    • Stifel's Patrick Newton has launched coverage on Stratasys (SSYS +1.3%) at Buy, and ExOne (XONE -3.1%) at Hold. 3D Systems has also been launched at Buy, but isn't moving much in response.
    • Newton calls Stratasys his "favorite idea" in 3D printing (he's not alone), and thinks the company can deliver 30%+ annual growth. He talks up Stratasys' consumer market leadership (courtesy of MakerBot), and says its lack of a metal printer offering is its "only noticeable weakness" in the industrial space.
    • He thinks ExOne can deliver strong revenue and margin growth on the back of rising services/materials sales and growing demand for its binder jetting industrial printers. But like others, Newton has his doubts ExOne can hit management's forecast for 40%-50% sales growth, given recent results.
    • Stratasys took off 3 weeks ago thanks to a Q2 beat and guidance hike. Though still down YTD, the company has easily outperformed 3D printing peers in 2014.
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  • 2:07 PM
    • Beaten-down Ascent Solar (ASTI +53.8%) has skyrocketed on volume that's over 10x its daily average of 119K.
    • No news has hit the wires to explain the move. The solar-powered accessory maker is just two days removed from carrying out a 1:10 reverse split to meet the Nasdaq's $1.00 minimum bid requirement.
  • 1:59 PM
    • With Sony (SNE +1%) TV sales remaining soft and its smartphone ops facing tough price competition from Chinese Android vendors, CEO Kazuo Hirai has decided to take direct responsibility for the electronics giant's product development/strategy.
    • Officially, Hirai has been named Sony's Officer in charge of UX (user experience), Product Strategy, Sales & Marketing Platform. Four existing Sony departments - its business development division, UX/product strategy group, brand strategy department, and sales/marketing group - will be transferred to Hirai's unit.
    • Separately, Reuters reports Sprint and parent SoftBank (Japan's #2 carrier) both plan to sell Sony's next-gen Android flagship, the Xperia Z3. Neither company has sold a Sony smartphone to date. Sony has a solid presence in the Japanese smartphone market, but has struggled to make headway in the U.S., where Apple and Samsung dominate the high-end.
    | 1 Comment
  • 1:23 PM
    • A 33% FQ2 price cut for the Splunk Cloud machine data analytics platform (Amazon price cuts were passed on) appears to be paying off, says CLSA after taking stock of Splunk's (SPLK +19.4%) FQ2 beat and strong guidance. The firm thinks the cuts, along with the launch of an online sandbox for prospective buyers led to "an influx" of new entry-level clients in FQ2.
    • Cowen likes the fact term licenses (as opposed to perpetual licenses) made up 37% of license bookings, much better than the firm's 25% forecast and "indicative of an even stronger quarter than it initially appears." Pac Crest is pleased with CC remarks (transcript) about improving sales productivity (a recent concern) and strong government orders.
    • Morgan Stanley likes Splunk's top-line and customer growth, but remains worried about competition (rival Sumo Logic has been claiming strong growth) and notes management has hinted at further price cuts.
    • Analytics/data visualization software vendors Tableau (DATA +6.3%) and Qlik (QLIK +1.9%) are following Splunk higher.
    • Prior Splunk earnings coverage
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  • 1:00 PM
    • Low expectations and a high short interest (11.9M shares as of Aug. 15) are proving a good mix for Veeva (VEEV +18.1%) following its FQ2 beat and guidance hike. Several firms have raised their targets.
    • Workday (WDAY +5.5%), which sold off yesterday (and took peers down with it) following its FQ2 report, is following Veeva higher. As are Veeva partner Salesforce (CRM +2.1%) and several other cloud software names. NOW +2.9%. CTCT +3.4%. JIVE +2.5%. CSOD +2%. ULTI +1.9%. MKTO +1.9%.
    • "We like [Veeva's] momentum with new products, the pace of customer deployments, and view the second-half guidance as likely conservative," says Deutsche (Buy).
    • Pac Crest (Outperform) likes the fact Veeva's billings and subscription revenue each rose over 60% Y/Y, and that its large deal activity also grew. It sees a $5B addressable market for life sciences CRM/content management software.
  • 11:55 AM
    • Re/code's John Paczkowski: "So that new wearable device Apple (AAPL +0.2%) is introducing on September 9? It’s going to be a while before anyone is actually wearing it. Sources in position to know tell me it won’t arrive at market for a few months."
    • He doesn't have an exact ETA, but says his understanding is that "we’re unlikely to see [the device] at retail until after the holiday season — think early 2015."
    • It was only two days ago Paczkowski reported Apple would show off the device - he refrains from calling it the iWatch - at a Sep. 9 event. Apple sent out invites for the event yesterday.
  • 11:44 AM
    • A report stating leading ad agency Publicis is close to a deal to acquire Criteo is providing a lift to fellow online ad retargeting firm Rocket Fuel (FUEL +3.6%).
    • The gains come in spite of a downgrade to Neutral from Citi, which cites industry challenges. Rocket Fuel cratered earlier in August after providing light guidance that was blamed on tighter control of client spend by agency trading desks, a shift among advertisers towards direct licensing, and industry concerns about ad inventory quality.
  • 11:29 AM
    • Take-Two (TTWO +4.1%) president Karl Slatoff says his company is weighing the pros and cons of bringing Grand Theft Auto to the big screen. He adds Take-Two doesn't think a weak box office showing would hurt the GTA game franchise.
    • Dan Houser, the co-founder of GTA developer Rockstar Games, also appears open to doing a GTA movie. However, he insists Rockstar would want to make the film on its own.
    • Benchmark's Mike Hickey thinks a GTA film makes sense, and that it could compel Activision (ATVI +0.3%), rumored to be hatching plans for its own movie studio, to acquire Take-Two.
    • Hickey calls an Activision/Take-Two deal a "no-brainer," given Take-Two's developer talent, IP, and low valuation. He notes Activision can lower its business volatility by staggering Rockstar, Bungie, and Blizzard releases, and that Take-Two could help offset World of Warcraft's ongoing decline and Skylanders competition from Disney.
  • 11:03 AM
    • Avago (AVGO +8.1%) has received a slew of target hikes after beating FQ3 estimates, reporting strong margins, and issuing healthy FQ4 guidance. RF component peers Skyworks (SWKS +1.6%), RF Micro (RFMD +4.5%), and TriQuint (TQNT +5.2%) are also higher.
    • "We believe Street continues to under-appreciate this self-help story where mgmt has a proven record of cutting costs, paying down debt, and executing on multiple secular growth cycles," says BofA/Merrill. Its FY14 and FY15 EPS forecasts have respectively been raised by 20% and 25%.
    • Credit Suisse: "Avago's leverage to structural growth drivers including content increases in the Industrials/autos end-mkts and accelerating demand for bandwidth, as well as, product cycles (4G/LTE wireless ramps at Apple and China) should allow the company to outperform peers." The diversification provided by the LSI deal is seen providing "further stability."
    • Morgan Stanley expresses "high conviction in management's ability to execute on driving LSI's [operating margin] from 17% to 30% over the next few years," given Avago has doubled its op. margin to 30% since its 2005 LBO.
    • On the CC (transcript), CEO Hock Tan mentioned wireless sales are expected to rise over 60% Q/Q thanks to "the ramp of a new phone model and a North American smartphone customer" (a clear iPhone 6 reference). Demand for FBAR filters and related products in 4G phones remains strong.
    • Wired infrastructure is expected to grow at a low-single digit rate (switch/router ASIC growth offsetting flat optical component demand), and enterprise storage is expected to see mid-single digit growth excluding the PLX acquisition.
    | 1 Comment
  • 10:17 AM
    • France's Les Echos reports ad agency giant Publicis (OTCQX:PUBGY) is in talks to buy Criteo (CRTO +18.1%), and that a deal could be reached within days.
    • Publicis has said it's looking for smaller M&A targets after its planned merger with Omnicom was called off. Buying Criteo (a fellow French company) would allow Publicis to include a popular online ad retargeting platform on its list of advertiser services.
    • Video ad tech provider TubeMogul (TUBE +3.3%) is also rallying. Its shares blasted off earlier this week following a big Q2 beat.
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