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  • Tue, Nov. 29, 5:45 AM
    • British media regulator Ofcom is proceeding with a formal notification to legally separate Openreach from BT, the division that develops and maintains the U.K.'s main telecoms networks.
    • Sky (OTCQX:SKYAY), Talktalk (OTC:TKTCY), Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) and of course, BT, all use Openreach networks.
    • In a statement, BT said it was open to Ofcom's proposal for legal corporation and "has proposed a model that is fair, sustainable, and proportionate."
    | Tue, Nov. 29, 5:45 AM | 1 Comment
  • Mon, Nov. 21, 3:41 AM
    • U.K. regulator Ofcom has made a move to increase competition for mobile bandwidth ahead of its next auction.
    • It placed a cap on the amount of spectrum that the bigger players such as BT Group (NYSE:BT) and Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) can buy, in a bid to leave space for smaller firms.
    • It means, on the lower band, BT will be barred from the bidding as it already owns 45% of the market.
    | Mon, Nov. 21, 3:41 AM
  • Wed, Nov. 16, 3:56 PM
    • Perhaps seeing writing on the wall at the FCC, Chairman Tom Wheeler has dropped a planned reform of the the U.S. business data services market, a $45B industry occupied by key telecom infrastructure players.
    • Following pressure from Republicans on Congress' oversight panels, Wheeler pulled a vote on the BDS reform from tomorrow's agenda. Any measures approved in the next couple of months would face reversal if president-elect Donald Trump restocks the FCC as a Republican-majority panel.
    • Wheeler had already scaled back original plans for reforming BDS, a market that covers special access lines that run much of modern society (including ATMs and credit card readers among other financial networks, and hospital/school networks, as well as mobile backhaul).
    • Key BDS players are moving into the close: T +1.1%, VZ +1.2%, CTL -0.7%, FTR +3.8%, BT -0.7%.
    • Previously: With White House changing, set-top box reform may be on life support (Nov. 16 2016)
    • Previously: Frontier Communications issues statement on FCC fact sheet; FTR, CTL jump (Oct. 07 2016)
    | Wed, Nov. 16, 3:56 PM | 17 Comments
  • Mon, Nov. 7, 12:22 PM
    • While UK telecom BT Group (BT -0.3%) has dug in regarding pressure to unload its Openreach infrastructure arm, one shareholder has reportedly suggested it should consider a sell-off.
    • Aviva Investors says BT should ponder the move, one which would ease regulatory pressures and please rivals, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
    • "They obviously have been clear that they don't want to do it, but that doesn't mean it can't be done," said Trevor Green, Aviva's head of UK equities, according to the paper. "We just think it should be something which should be explored."
    • Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) has been vocal about pressing for the move, along with Sky (OTCQX:SKYAY) and TalkTalk (OTC:TKTCY) -- all of whom want to maintain access to the wholesale infrastructure at favorable terms. Meanwhile, UK regulators continue to consider whether breaking it up is in the public interest.
    | Mon, Nov. 7, 12:22 PM | 6 Comments
  • Fri, Nov. 4, 12:51 PM
    • More Brexit fallout: Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY -0.7%) is thinking of selling its 12% stake of British incumbent telecom BT Group (NYSE:BT), Reuters reports, depending largely on what kind of deal the UK strikes to get out of the European Union.
    • BT is off 1.8% in U.S. trading; it closed down 2.6% in London.
    • That stake is worth about £4.4B ($5.5B), and Deutsche Telekom may see that money as better deployed elsewhere with a falling pound and projections for shrinking growth.
    • The company (BT's biggest shareholder after the EE acquisition) can't sell the stake through normal means due to a lock-up lasting until August 2017; it can agree to an off-market deal with investors.
    • DT is also rumored to be selling its British IT and consulting business, run through its T-Systems unit; it once tried to merge that business with BT's Global Services.
    | Fri, Nov. 4, 12:51 PM
  • Thu, Oct. 27, 3:51 PM
    • BT Group (NYSE:BT) is off 2.4% today after Q2 earnings came in quite strong, adding users across the board, and the company boosted its dividend 10%.
    • Revenue grew to £6B -- up 34.5%, but up 1.1% adjusting for the purchase of wireless firm EE. EPS fell 10% on an as-reported basis, though (adjusted EPS up 4%).
    • BT logged monthly net additions in mobile pay of 280,000, and hit broadband net adds of 76,000. Openreach added 440,000 fiber broadband net adds, with half of those from external providers for the first time.
    • "Our consumer facing lines of business have performed well, but in the enterprise space, UK public sector continues to be a challenging market," says CEO Gavin Patterson.
    • Revenue breakout: Consumer, £1.25B (up 11%); EE, £1.28B (new); Business and Public Sector, £1.18B (up 15%); Global Services, £1.41B (up 16%); Wholesale and Ventures, £522M (down 9%); Openreach, £1.27B (flat).
    • Press Release
    | Thu, Oct. 27, 3:51 PM
  • Thu, Oct. 27, 8:57 AM
    • BT Group (NYSE:BT): Q2 EPS of £0.07
    • Revenue of £6B (+34.5% Y/Y)
    • Press Release
    | Thu, Oct. 27, 8:57 AM
  • 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
    | Wed, Oct. 19, 12:01 PM
  • Tue, Oct. 11, 5:35 PM
    • Top gainers, as of 5.25 p.m.: VOXX +15.6%. CUDA +6.4%. VOD +5.0%. IHG +2.8%. BT +2.2%.
    • Top losers, as of 5.25p.m.: FTNT -13.4%. PANW -4.3%. BBL -4.0%. SIMO -2.4%. FEYE -2.1%.
    | Tue, Oct. 11, 5:35 PM | 6 Comments
  • 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)
    | Mon, Oct. 10, 7:08 PM | 2 Comments
  • 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.
    | Tue, Sep. 20, 1:02 PM
  • 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.
    | Mon, Aug. 8, 11:18 AM
  • Thu, Jul. 28, 9:28 AM
    • BT Group (NYSE:BT): Q1 EPS of £0.06
    • Revenue of £5.78B (+35% Y/Y)
    • Press Release
    | 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.
    | Tue, Jul. 26, 3:45 AM
  • 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.
    | Mon, Jul. 25, 9:55 AM
  • 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.
    | Sun, Jul. 3, 2:50 PM | 14 Comments