BT Group plcNYSE
Wed, Oct. 19, 12:01 PM
- Incumbent British telecom BT Group (BT -1%) -- in the middle of a lengthy public/government debate about whether it must spin off its Openreach infrastructure arm -- is maintaining that there's a "strong case" to invest in fiber if the company stays intact that doesn't add up in the case of a spin-off.
- A split would also force a difficult and expensive separation of pension liabilities, says BT CEO Gavin Patterson.
- "The case for more investment is quite strong," Patterson says. "There is going to be no shortage of opportunities to invest, the challenge for us as a company is to make sure the investment cycles are reasonable and we are able to make a return from them."
- In summer 2015, Patterson famously raised the specter of a decade of litigation if British regulators forced a spin-off of Openreach, which holds wholesale infrastructure used by telecom rivals to deliver service.
- Past Openreach coverage
Tue, Oct. 11, 5:35 PM
Mon, Oct. 10, 7:08 PM
- In a statement, UK incumbent BT Group (BT +0.4%) has praised a proposal from FCC chief Tom Wheeler to reform regulation of business data services.
- "BT and many other stakeholders have long called for true market competition, and thanks to the chairman's leadership, we are one step closer to real reform ensuring that American businesses and consumers benefit from an innovative, thriving, and job-creating broadband economy," BT says in the statement.
- "We look forward to learning more about the Commission's proposal and continue to encourage rules that reflect the reality of today's marketplace."
- Frontier Communications (NYSE:FTR) had spiked 6% on Friday after news of the proposal, but gave back some gains today, falling 1.9%. CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL), which rose 3% on Friday, was up another 0.3% today.
- After hours: BT +1.4%; FTR -0.5%; CTL flat.
- Previously: Frontier Communications issues statement on FCC fact sheet; FTR, CTL jump (Oct. 07 2016)
Tue, Sep. 20, 1:02 PM
- There's "reasonable grounds" to believe that broadcaster Sky (OTCQX:SKYAY -1.1%) broke consumer rules by making canceling service too difficult, a British regulator says.
- That includes problems customers had trying to switch to competitors like market-leading BT Group (BT +0.6%), Virgin Media (LBTYA +0.2%) and TalkTalk (OTC:TKTCY) -- and it could set Sky up for a major fine from Ofcom.
- The agency said Sky -- Britain's No. 2 broadband provider (24% market share), 39% owned by Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX -0.3%, FOXA -0.2%) -- may have broken the rules between May 2015 and July 2015 on landline and broadband services.
- For its part, Sky said it was "very disappointed" with the decision and would review it before a fuller response.
- The company has a month to produce a written response, or face a fine that could hit £1M, like what it levied against mobile operator EE for a similar complaint.
Mon, Aug. 8, 11:18 AM
- UK telecom regulator Ofcom is backing off a probe into TV soccer rights after figuring it doesn't have the people power to make a determination of harm.
- The office was working to assess whether a rights auction for broadcasting Premier League games was hurting consumers, but rather than weighing in on that, it will cite workload as a reason for ending the investigation, The Telegraph is reporting.
- The probe was spurred by a complaint from Virgin Media (LBTYA +1.3%), which claimed restricting live matches created a cost-hiking barrier to competition.
- The Premier League is reportedly making changes based on the outcry, with moves to boost live matches in the next auction to 190 from a current 168. Minority rights holder BT (BT -0.5%) is set to get more matches as well.
Thu, Jul. 28, 9:28 AM
Tue, Jul. 26, 3:45 AM
- Breaking up is hard to do! British telecom regulator Ofcom has called for BT's broadband network - Openreach - to become a standalone company, but stopped short of calling for a complete separation.
- "This is a practical plan that can be implemented within months, unlike a sell-off of Openreach which would take years," Ofcom chief Sharon White told BBC Radio 4's Today program.
Mon, Jul. 25, 9:55 AM
- With a regulatory report looming, BT Group (BT +1.7%) has offered to set up an independent board for its infrastructure arm Openreach in a bid to keep the division in the company.
- Openreach has become a bone of contention for rivals like Vodafone (VOD -0.3%), Sky (OTCQX:SKYAY +0.8%) and TalkTalk (OTC:TKTCY) that buy wholesale capacity from BT and who have argued for a breakup of the company to ensure fair competition.
- UK regulator Ofcom is set to issue a report tomorrow on how BT can improve its performance, and has been considering whether a split is in the industry's best interest; in December, the regulator's chief said the status quo wasn't an option with Openreach.
- "We believe very strongly ... that this would be the wrong time to break up BT and distract us from the remaining investment to get superfast and ultrafast broadband right across the country in the next two to three years," says Chairman Mike Rake.
Sun, Jul. 3, 2:50 PM
- via Barclays:
- "Although stocks in the U.S. and Europe have partially bounced back from the sharp selloff sparked by the U.K. referendum result, risks remain prevalent. [Analyst] Keith Parker foresees further equity downside alongside a prolonged market bottoming process, during which positioning is likely to turn much more defensive at active managers.
- "With this in mind, our stock screen this week highlights Overweight-rated stocks that screen defensively based on sector and equity beta but are also expected to generate superior ROE and free cash flows in FY1.
- "Our screen considers the following factors: i) Large-cap (US $5 billion+) stock in the consumer staples, utilities, telecom or healthcare sectors. ii) Adjusted beta less than 1.0. iii) Rated Overweight by Barclays equity research. iv) 15%+ ROE and 4.5%+ FCF yield expected in FY1, based on Barclays estimates."
- The stocks: Aetna (NYSE:AET), BT Group plc (NYSE:BT), Cardinal Health (NYSE:CAH), Coloplast (OTC:CLPBF, OTCPK:CLPBY), CVS (NYSE:CVS), Estee Lauder (NYSE:EL), Express Scripts (NASDAQ:ESRX), Glanbia (OTC:GLAPF, OTCPK:GLAPY), Grifols (NASDAQ:GRFS), Imperial Brands (OTCQX:IMBBY, OTCQX:ITYBF), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Ahold (OTCQX:AHONY, OTCQX:AHODF, OTCQX:AHOND), LabCorp (NYSE:LH), Perrigo (NYSE:PRGO), Telus (NYSE:TU), Unilever (UL, UN), UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH)
- See full table here.
Tue, Jun. 28, 9:18 AM| Tue, Jun. 28, 9:18 AM | 1 Comment
Mon, Jun. 27, 5:35 PM
Mon, Jun. 27, 9:18 AM
- British and European telecom stocks are headed back down in U.S. trading as post-Brexit fallout continues on the continent.
- BT Group (NYSE:BT) is down another 9.8% premarket; meanwhile, Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is 5.5% lower and Telefonica (NYSE:TEF) is down 2.8%.
- BT Group -- smacked by a precipitous decline in the pound's value Friday -- is now quoting a full 26% below Thursday's close. The pound is off another 3.3% against the dollar today.
- Vodafone, which has substantial operations in the UK, is quoting 12% below its Thursday U.S. close.
Mon, Jun. 27, 9:13 AM
Fri, Jun. 24, 3:30 PM
- The UK's vote to leave the EU is slamming European media/telecom firms today -- Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) is down 12.5%, Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI) has shed 19.8%, Telefonica (NYSE:TEF) has dropped 17.6%, BT Group (NYSE:BT) has fallen 18.2% and others have tumbled at least 5% -- but it could have the effect of kiboshing some cued-up M&A, Jefferies says.
- A much-discussed potential merger between Liberty Global and Vodafone (VOD -6.8%) could get complicated in an already tough antitrust review environment, the firm says.
- "To the extent that Vodafone is no longer perceived by the EU as a 'European champion' asset to be strengthened as a matter of industrial policy, any prospective acquisition of Liberty Global might receive tougher antitrust scrutiny at the EU level and from Germany," Jefferies writes.
- Still, Liberty Global is suffering unnecessarily today, the firm suggests -- mainly the "technicality of currency translation" against a noncyclical fundamental business character.
Fri, Jun. 24, 3:00 PM
Fri, Jun. 24, 12:45 PM