Today - Wednesday, March 12, 2014
9:36 AM| Comment!
- Jeffrey Clarke, the chairman of travel site Orbitz (OWW) and once an exec at CA and H-P, has been named Kodak's (KODK) new CEO. (PR)
- Kodak emerged from Chap. 11 last September, after selling $406M in equity to creditors and unloading its personalized document/imaging ops. The company will focus on commercial printing/imaging and touch sensor products going forward.
9:15 AM| Comment!
6:36 AM| Comment!
- Media-holding company Cox Enterprises and London-based private-equity firm Apax Partners are interested in bidding for auto-sales Web site Cars.com, Bloomberg reports.
- A deal would add to the AutoTrader.com sites that Cox and Apax already own.
- Cars.com's owner, newspaper consortium Classified Ventures, is hoping to fetch $3B in a sale. Classified's investors are Gannett (GCI), McClatchy (MNI), Tribune (TRBAA), A.H. Belo (AHC) and Graham Holdings (GHC).
- Microsoft (MSFT) has named Mason Morfit, the President of activist investor ValueAct Capital, to its board and audit committee as part of a deal that was agreed in the summer.
- Microsoft offered Morfit the board seat in August after ValueAct Capital bought a $2B holding in the company in April and began to agitate for change.
- Microsoft also declared a quarterly dividend of $0.28 a share. The dividend is payable on June 12 to shareholders of record on May 15. The ex-dividend date will be May 13. (PR)
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
- 9to5 Mac reports iOS 8 will feature a major overhaul of Apple Maps (AAPL). The UI will be revamped; transportation/POI data from recent acquisitions BroadMap, HopStop, and Embark will be included, and public transit directions (frequently requested) will be added.
- Apple is also said to have "begun work on augmented reality functionality that leverages the iPhone’s compass hardware to visually see nearby points of interest," though this feature isn't expected in iOS 8. The report comes as Google launches Project Tango, a 3D-scanning/motion-tracking solution.
- Japanese site Macotakara (has a mixed track record) reports Apple plans to launch 4.7" and 5.7" next-gen iPhones, and that the devices will take design cues from the iPod Nano (uses anodized aluminum, is available in several colors). Other reports have stated 4.7" and 5.5" iPhones are on tap.
- An Edison Research survey of 2K Americans aged 12 and older found 8% claiming to use iTunes Radio. That figure is above Spotify's 6%, and nearly matches iHeartRadio's 9%. Pandora (P) still dominates with a 31% share.
- Earlier: Pac Crest upgrades Apple
- Intel's (INTC) new MXC server interconnect cables leverage the chip giant's silicon photonics tech and optical fibers developed by Corning (GLW) to enable 1.6Tbps transfer speeds (800Gbps each way) via 64 fibers running at 25Gbps apiece. Traditional solutions work at 10Gbps, and max out at 12-24 fibers.
- Corning plans to begin selling MXC cable assemblies, which have a range of 300 meters, in Q3. Intel asserts the technology's per-fiber throughput could eventually double to 50Gbps. The companies think supercomputer (HPC) vendors and cloud computing firms will be among the first buyers.
- Over time, MXC's blistering speeds stand to further Intel's goal of creating server architectures in which CPU, memory, storage, networking, and other resources can be separately pooled and upgraded as needed. "The ability to take my memory and stash it a rack away, optical can enable that," says Intel exec Mario Paniccia.
- Intel's efforts pose a challenge to optical component vendor Finisar (FNSR), whose shares sold off a year ago on worries about Intel and Cisco's silicon photonics efforts. They're also a challenge to high-speed interconnect leader Mellanox (MLNX), which last year acquired silicon photonics startup Kotura and 100G interconnect developer IPtronics. Since then, Mellanox has said it will ship 100G silicon photonics products in late 2014 or early 2015.
- Anne Sweeney, the head of Disney's (DIS) ABC unit and the co-chair of its cable network ops, tells the Hollywood Reporter in a joint interview with CEO Bob Iger she's leaving by year's end to become a TV director.
- Iger suggests Sweeney's replacement will be an internal hire, and that a decision will be made quickly. "My goal is to do it fast because Anne and I both feel that getting someone in the job while pilot season is in full swing [through May] so that they can at least have some direct experience..."
- Meanwhile, the NY Post reports Facebook (FB) COO/ad chief Sheryl Sandberg, already a Disney board member, has "had conversations about her interest" in becoming Disney's CEO following Iger's planned 2016 departure.
- Though CFO Jay Rasulo and parks chief Thomas Staggs have been viewed as the media giant's top CEO candidates, the board reportedly wants to "cast a wider net."
- The Daily Mail reported last week Sandberg was planning a 2016 California Senate run. But a source close to Sandberg denied the report to Business Insider soon afterwards.
- Castlight Health (CSLT) has hiked the price range for its 11.1M-share IPO to $13-$15 from a prior $9-$11. The company is now looking to raise $144M-$165M, and sport an IPO valuation of $981M-$1.13B.
- Castlight's software allows the employees of its 106 customers to access and manage their healthcare info. The company had 2013 revenue of just $13M (up over 3x Y/Y), a net loss of $62.2M, and a year-end deferred revenue balance of $11.5M. Sales/marketing spend totaled $33.7M, and R&D spend $15.2M..
5:07 PM| Comment!
- MagnaChip's (MX) audit committee has determined the company "incorrectly recognized revenue on certain transactions." Restatements are planned for 2011, 2012, and the first three quarters of 2013. (PR)
- In addition, MagnaChip is withdrawing its prior Q4 guidance due to the review. The company doesn't expect its restatements will affects its reported cash/debt balances for the covered periods.
- CFO Margaret Sakai will no longer serve as MagnaChip's principal accounting officer. Jonathan W. Kim, once the CFO of cloud software firm Zero Desktop, is now MagnaChip's chief accounting officer.
- MagnaChip originally delayed its Q4 report on Jan. 27 to give itself more time to review its numbers.
- Alibaba (ABABA) is spending $805M to buy a 60% stake in ChinaVision Media, a Hong Kong-based producer of films and TV dramas.
- The deal represents a big expansion of the Chinese e-commerce giant's attempts to carve a foothold in China's fast-growing and fragmented online/mobile video market. Though Youku (YOKU) remains the market's biggest player, strong competition is provided by Baidu, Sohu, and Tencent.
- Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent have been constantly finding ways to encroach on each others' turf. Yesterday, Tencent announced it's buying a 15% stake in #2 Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com.
- VeriFone (PAY) expects FQ2 revenue of $440M-$445M and EPS of $0.30-$0.32 vs. a consensus of $439.1M and $0.31. FY14 (ends in Oct.) guidance is for revenue of $1.78B-$1.81B and EPS of $1.40 vs. a consensus of $1.79B and $1.39.
- After declining 12% Y/Y in FQ4, revenue grew 2% in FQ1 thanks to a 19% increase in services revenue (boosted some by acquisitions) to $174.9M. System (hardware) revenue fell 7% to $261.2M, but that's better than FQ4's 23% drop.
- Gross margin fell 200 bps Y/Y to 42%. Opex jumped 18% Y/Y to $152M (exc. amortization costs), with R&D and G&A spend each rising 27%. Sales/marketing spend rose 10.5%.
- North American sales -2% Y/Y, Latin America -3.4%, EMEA +3.4%, Asia-Pac +6.3%.
- Shares have crossed their 52-week high of $30.72 in AH trading.
- FQ1 results, PR