AMC Networks: The Price Is Much More Logical, But Risks Continue
Vince Martin • 14 Comments
Vince Martin • 14 Comments
AMC Networks Still Doesn't Look Cheap
Sep. 16, 2015, 10:20 AM
- With traditional pay TV subscribers on the wane, a potential purchase of Starz (STRZA +5.6%) is not the best way to spend AMC Networks' (AMCX -1.1%) "M&A powder," says Stifel Nicolaus' Benjamin Mogil.
- Adding Starz won't change AMC's affiliate positioning, he writes, though for Starz (up solidly today), the combination makes more sense as a way to accelerate a possible discussion with Lions Gate (LGF +0.9%).
- He rates AMC Networks as a Buy and Starz at Hold.
- A deal here could speed up additional consolidation in the space, writes Macquarie's Amy Yong, who holds a Neutral rating on AMCX and Outperform on STRZA.
Sep. 15, 2015, 5:39 PM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) is up 7% in after-hours trading on news that it's in talks to be acquired by AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX), itself up 2.5% after hours.
- Bloomberg reported the preliminary talks, which come after a few abortive attempts by suitors to acquire Starz in the past year. “They probably ultimately need to combine with others at least from a bundler point of view, if not from an ownership point of view,” John Malone -- Starz's top individual investor -- said last week.
- An AMC deal would require the sign-off of the Dolan family, who control voting power after AMC was spun off from Cablevision four years ago.
- Starz has a market cap of $3.9B and an enterprise value that's grown to more than $5B from $4B last year, during a period when it was often linked to Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF). Shares in Starz are up 26.1% over the past 12 months.
Jun. 3, 2015, 4:41 PM
- A revitalized John Malone is ready to push consolidation across media firms, with his eye on content now that the Charter-Time Warner Cable wheels are in motion.
- The "bundle" is coming apart, he tells the WSJ, and as he hinted at earlier this spring, Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) could play a key role in content mergers.
- “Lions Gate could buy Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) and potentially other free radicals in the industry,” Malone said. Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE:SNI) or AMC (NASDAQ:AMCX) could be targets though those agreements might be difficult.
- Malone engineered a stock-swap earlier this year between Lions Gate and Starz that put him on LGF's board in exchange for 4.51% of Starz, and Lions Gate was reportedly close to a Starz buyout before valuation concern killed the deal.
- Asked at an investor meeting about CBS and Viacom, Malone didn't announce any plans, pointing to the Sumner Redstone succession issue (Redstone controls near 80% of both companies) -- though there's wide belief that either could be for sale after Redstone's death.
- Aside from his involvement in Starz and Lions Gate, Malone also has a 29% voting stake in Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) as well as a stake in ITV (OTCPK:ITVPF), not to mention his position in the various Liberty companies. (Liberty Broadband is backing Charter in its TWC takeover.)
- After a flat day, Starz spiked 1.5% heading into the close, and Lions Gate finished the day up 1.8% as Malone's comments came to light.
Feb. 25, 2015, 8:39 PM
- The addition of Gregg Seibert, the former investment banker, as vice chairman of AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX) has folks talking about whether the network is now a much more likely candidate for an acquisition.
- "Clearly he is there to do deals," FBN Securities' Robert Routh says. "Either it's going to be a sale or a big acquisition or possibly a privatization. The question is, what is it?"
- Speculation has floated about AMC as a takeover target for some time, with CBS or Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) among the names listed as potential buyers.
- AMC has sported high-quality programming that's attractive to partners, including Mad Men, The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad, and has been garnering critical acclaim for its spinoff Better Call Saul, though as hits end, they'll need to be replenished. Rich Tullo at Albert Fried called for AMC to go with an a la carte service.
- AMCX announces earnings in the morning; expectations are for EPS of $1.01 on revenues of $603.1M.
Dec. 31, 2014, 8:42 AM
- Streaming: Sony (NYSE:SNE), HBO (NYSE:TWX), CBS (NYSE:CBS), and Dish Networks (NASDAQ:DISH) are set to unveil streaming products in 2015. The theory of the companies that the skinny bundles will draw in more cord-cutters and cord-nevers than they will cannibalize current pay-TV subscribers will be put to the test. The rush of streaming options could help or hurt Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) depending upon which analysis an investor leans on.
- Theater traffic rebound: Exhibitors (CNK, RGC, AMC, CKEC, IMAX) and movie studios (LGF, VIA, VIAB, DIS, FOXA, CMCSA, TWX) maintain that the decline in theater attendance in 2014 (-6%) was due to a slate of films light on blockbusters. A bounce is forecast for 2015 with high-profile films such as Avengers: The Age of Ultron, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Fifty Shades of Grey, Jurassic World, Spectre (James Bond), and Mission Impossible 5 all set to premiere - along with the reboot of the Star Wars franchise in December. Capex spending on theater upgrades could also help boost in-theater spending and average ticket price for exhibitors.
- Mergers: If regulators allow the Comcast-Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) and AT&T-DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) mergers to sail through it could clear a path for other media combinations, note analysts. Potential buyers include Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), Wanda Group, Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBY), and a TWX-rebuffed 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA). Content producers which could be targets include Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA), Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF), DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA), AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX), and Scripps Networks (NYSE:SNI). A split-up Madison Square Garden (NASDAQ:MSG) could also be enticing.
Oct. 18, 2014, 11:15 AM
- AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX) plans to ramp up the production of original drama series heading into next year.
- A network producer meeting this week included pitches on seven new series, according to Deadline.
- AMC has been the network which may have benefited the most from SVOD and time-shifted viewing trends with Breaking Bad (2008-2013), The Walking Dead (2010-present), and Mad Men (2007-2015) all late-breaking hits - while Halt and Catch Fire (2014-present) is tapped to be next breakthrough.
- What to watch: Media analysts think AMC's formidable track record of producing engaging content puts it in a strong position even if the pay-TV model cracks (new streamers: CBS, HBO). The company is considered by some an enticing takeover target for a larger media company. CBS (NYSE:CBS) and 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) come to mind.
Sep. 29, 2014, 6:16 PM
- According to the reported deal terms, AMC (NASDAQ:AMCX) would own almost 50% of BBC America, while government-controlled BBC would retain the rest.
- AMC would be able to add BBC America to the stable of TV networks it sells to pay-TV networks, thereby giving it more bargaining power. Meanwhile, BBC America would benefit from AMC's programming and ad resources.
- BBC America currently reaches ~80M U.S. households. Reports of a deal first emerged in July.
Jul. 31, 2014, 6:38 AM
- AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX) is in talks to acquire a minority stake in BBC America.
- Under the deal being discussed, AMC would represent BBC America in distribution negotiations with pay-TV operators, granting BBC America the chance to expand its presence in U.S. households and raise the fee it receives from operators.
Jul. 16, 2014, 10:01 AM
- Rupert Murdoch's interest in Time Warner is giving a bit of a boost to other content-heavy media companies.
- The combination of content-heavy studios with powerful media distribution firms has been a hot topic over the last week.
- CBS (CBS +1.9%) is out-performing with speculation picking up that it will make a nice fit for a tech giant someday.
- Other gainers: Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) +6.2%, Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) +4.5%, Viacom (VIA, VIAB) +5.1%, AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX) +3.5%.
- Related: Content owners smile with tech heavyweights in the house, Time Warner-21st Century Fox timeline.
Feb. 13, 2014, 12:48 PM
- The media industry is busy evaluating the impact of a Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger even if the DOJ clips the size of the deal a bit.
- A key word for content providers today is leverage. A larger Comcast (CMCSA), (broadband and Pay-TV) would give it additional clout in negotiating retransmission contracts with networks (CBS, FOXA, AMCX, DISCA, SNI) and studios (DIS, TWX, LGF, SNE, DWA, VIAB) for home video sales.
- The relationship between streaming firms and Comcast could get more complicated. Though studios rake in money from Netflix, if Comcast ever decides to charge its massive base of broadband subscribers on a usage basis - both Netflix (NFLX) and Hulu are in harm's way.
- Companies with future ambitions in the online TV area (think Sony) might see additional pressures from a larger Comcast. In theory, the media giant could launch a similar national service.
- Related ETFs: PBS
Dec. 19, 2013, 9:11 AM
- Consolidation in the media industry will involve more than just deals between heavyweights such as Time Warner Cable, Charter Communication, Cox, and Comcast, according to analysis from MoffettNathanson.
- Due to the negotiating leverage of broadcast networks and sports rights owners, the investment firm sees subscale content owners combining forces in the sector.
- On watch: Discovery Communications (DISCA), Scripps Network Interactive (SNI), AMC Networks (AMCX), Starz (STRZA), Madison Square Garden (MSG).
- Related ETFs: PBS
Oct. 28, 2013, 6:49 AM| Oct. 28, 2013, 6:49 AM
AMC Networks, Inc. is a holding company that owns and operates cable television networks through its subsidiaries. The company operates its business through two segments: National Networks and International & Other. The National Networks segment principally includes four nationally distributed... More
Industry: Entertainment - Diversified
Country: United States