Oct. 30, 2013, 12:05 AM
Oct. 29, 2013, 5:30 PM| Oct. 29, 2013, 5:30 PM | 1 Comment
Sep. 17, 2013, 12:55 PM
- Bloomberg reports AT&T (T +0.6%) is looking for a buyer for its massive cell tower portfolio in a deal that could be worth $5B.
- American Tower (AMT -0.3%), Crown Castle (CCI +0.1%), and SBA (SBAC) are natural potential suitors for part or all of the portfolio. AMT is fresh off announcing a $4.8B deal to acquire private tower owner Global Tower, whose assets are mostly U.S.-based.
- AT&T has spiked slightly higher on the report. A tower sale would help Ma Bell pay down some of the $75.2B in debt it held at the end of Q2, and thus strengthen its balance sheet as it turns its eyes toward Europe.
- Back in March, RBC speculated AT&T could sell its tower assets for a "mid-$5 billion" or higher price tag.
Sep. 16, 2013, 9:45 AM
- American Tower (AMT +1.6%) has been upgraded to Buy by Nomura 10 days after the company announced its $4.8B purchase of Global Tower Partners. Nomura apparently has a different view of the cell tower owner than Muddy Waters.
- EZchip (EZCH -1.1%) has been cut to Market Perform by Oppenheimer four days after Cisco unveiled its nPower X1 network processor.
- Gigamon (GIMO -3.3%) has been cut to Market Perform by Raymond James.
Sep. 8, 2013, 11:10 PM
- "We're more skeptical than ever," writes Muddy Waters, surprising no one by maintaining its Strong Sell on American Tower (AMT) following the purchase of Global Tower Partners.
- The $4.8B price tag is "astoundingly expensive" at about 19x 2014 EBITDA, says the research firm, questioning how management will be able to keep its promise to rapidly de-lever after paying so much.
- "We always think about possible ulterior motivations ... Might AMT management, which certainly has a record of being less than transparent about its overseas business, be desperate to augment its tower base by 25% in order to obscure [slowing] organic growth going forward, and to maintain the optics of 20% dividend growth at any cost?"
- Previous: In mid-July, Muddy Waters issues its initial Strong Sell and $44 PT on American Tower - AMT was at about $74 per share then; it closed at $71.91 on Friday after a post-deal 4.6% gain.
Sep. 6, 2013, 10:15 AM
- SBA (SBAC +2.1%) and Crown Castle (CCI +3.2%) have joined American Tower (AMT +4.4%) in rallying following news AMT is acquiring giant private cell tower owner Global Tower Partners for $4.8B ($3.3B in cash + the assumption of $1.5B in debt).
- The WSJ reported a month ago Global Tower, controlled by a REIT managed by Macquarie, was being shopped. The company owns 5.4K U.S. towers and 500 Costa Rican sites, and also has management rights to 9K+ U.S. sites (mostly rooftop assets) and property interests in another 800.
- The deal is expected to close in Q4, and will increase the size of AMT's debt load to $10.3B (offset by just $1B in cash/investments). The announcement comes a month after AMT announced an $811M Mexican/Brazilian tower purchase/lease-back deal with NII Holdings (NIHD +1.4%), and 10 months after it reached a deal to buy 2K German cell sites from KPN for $502M. NII has additional tower assets that could be on the block.
- In July, Muddy Waters criticized the accounting behind an earlier Brazilian tower purchase by AMT. The company strongly refuted Muddy Waters' claims.
Sep. 6, 2013, 8:23 AM
- American Tower (AMT) announces it struck a deal to acquire Global Tower Partners through its parent company for $4.8B - consisting of cash and the assumption of debt.
- The company says it sees the deal adding $345M in 2014 revenue and $270M in gross margin to its portfolio and being immediately accretive to the firm's results.
- AMT +3.3% premarket.
Aug. 9, 2013, 1:54 PM
- NII Holdings (NIHD +1.1%) enters into a sale/leaseback agreement with American Tower (AMT +2%). The former will sell 2,790 towers in Brazil and 1,666 towers in Mexico to the latter for $811M and sign a minimum 12-year lease agreement with the option to renew.
- The sale of 4,000 of the towers will close in Q4.
- The transaction will boost NII's liquidity. The Latin American carrier had $5.7B+ in debt on its balance sheet as of June 30, and nearly $1.8B in cash/investments.
- NII will account for the newly-leased towers as capital leases, and expects the transactions to have a positive impact on OIBDA.
- The company has now executed on its two liquidity initiatives (outlined in the Q4 CC). The other initiative, a $700M debt refinancing deal, took place in May.
Aug. 8, 2013, 7:45 PM
- Goldman strategist David Kostin has identified what he thinks are the top 40 most undervalued stocks; at the time he issued the note yesterday, each stock had at least 20% upside to his price target.
- The list: MPC, ADSK, VTR, CRM, AMT, SPG, HAL, DVN, EXPE, SWN, R, ESV, BRCM, CAM, NBL, WYNN, WYN, NE, VMC, PSX, NBR, CCI, APC, EL, NFX, FSLR, GM, YHOO, CERN, EOG, CTSH, GT, QCOM, MON, VLO, SLB, PCP, AMAT, BMY, NOV.
Aug. 6, 2013, 10:36 PM
- The WSJ reports private cell tower owner Global Tower Partners "is being shopped to larger rivals." Analysts think the company could fetch $4B.
- Global Tower, owned by funds managed by Australian i-bank Macquarie, owns/operates/leases 16K cell sites, 6.4K of which are in the U.S., Mexico, and Costa Rica.
- Publicly-traded tower owners American Tower (AMT - $27.8B market cap), Crown Castle (CCI - $20.5B), and SBA (SBAC - $9.5B) have all shown a willingness to grow their footprints via M&A (I, II, III).
- The recent performance of their shares could make a deal easier to come by. Likewise, the higher valuations being assigned to tower owners (fueled by expectations 4G investments/mobile traffic growth will keep demand strong) could be motivating Macquarie to put Global Tower on sale.
Jul. 31, 2013, 12:05 AM
Jul. 30, 2013, 5:30 PM
Jul. 17, 2013, 6:34 PM
American Tower (AMT) says it "disputes a number of statements" in Muddy Waters' report, and provides some details about its 2011 purchase of 666 Brazilian towers. AMT, accused by Muddy Waters of paying $250M less for the towers than claimed, says it paid a full $585M for them via $335M in intercompany loans, $184M in equity contributions, and cash from operations. The company adds it "retained an internationally-recognized accounting firm to assist in the purchase price allocation of the acquisition" (8-K)| Jul. 17, 2013, 6:34 PM | 2 Comments
Jul. 17, 2013, 10:35 AMMuddy Waters releases its rumored report on American Tower (AMT -2.4%), declaring the cell tower owner a Strong Sell and setting a $44.57 PT. The firm accuses AMT of overstating the price it paid for 666 Brazilian towers by $250M (citing sources and financial documents), makes note of insider selling and perceived corporate governance issues, and deems the rise of carrier Wi-Fi and small cell networks a threat to tower growth. Also, AMT's international ops are accused of overvaluing assets, and of overpaying for towers in exchange for excess rent payments (an arrangement deemed a de facto loan). CCI -1.4%. SBAC -0.8%. (slides - .ppt) | Jul. 17, 2013, 10:35 AM | 5 Comments
Jul. 17, 2013, 9:14 AM
Jul. 15, 2013, 10:00 AMA roundup of tech analyst ratings changes: 1) Qualcomm (QCOM -1.6%) has been cut to Neutral by Lazard. 2) NetApp (NTAP +2.6%) has been upgraded to Overweight by Morgan Stanley. 3) ExOne (XONE -5.8%) has been cut to Hold by BB&T. 4) AppliedMicro (AMCC +13.2%) has been upgraded to Strong Buy by Raymond James. 5) Portugal Telecom (PT -2.8%) has been cut to Underperform by BNP Paribas. 6) eGain (EGAN +2.8%) has been started at Outperform by Northland. 7) Himax (HIMX +2.1%) has been started at Buy by Craig-Hallum. 8) American Tower (AMT -1.4%) has been cut to Neutral by ISI. 9) QLogic (QLGC -3.8%) has been cut to Underweight by Morgan Stanley. 10) Linear (LLTC -1%) has been cut to Neutral by Credit Suisse. | Jul. 15, 2013, 10:00 AM