Tue, Mar. 1, 4:58 PM
- Hutchison (OTCPK:HUWHY) is headed to a closed-door meeting with EU regulators to address objections to its £10.3B deal to buy out rival telecom O2 (TEF +4.3%), Reuters reports.
- The company will meet with the European Commission on March 7, along with rivals Sky (OTCQX:SKYAY +2.4%), Virgin Media (LBTYA +2.8%), TalkTalk (OTC:TKTCY), Vodafone (VOD +3.1%) and BT Group (BT +3.4%). Iliad (OTCPK:ILIAY +2.5%), the small provider owned by French billionaire Xavier Niel, could also take part.
- The long-in-the-works deal has generated plenty of heat, as the combination of Hutchison's Three UK (the country's No. 4 wireless provider) with Telefonica's O2 (the No. 2 provider) would create the country's largest, reducing the market to three major competitors.
- When the EC opened a full probe into the deal in October, the move suggested that heavy concessions were likely on the way to make the deal happen -- and they may include creating a smaller competitor. (TalkTalk has said it would love to help.)
- The UK tried to take over the probe, but the EC rejected that request and kept control of the deal investigation in early December.
- After hours: TEF -4.2%; LBTYA, VOD, BT flat.
- Previously: Europe rejects UK's effort to examine Three's O2 buyout (Dec. 04 2015)
- Previously: Europe opens full probe into Telefonica-Hutchison UK mobile merger (Oct. 30 2015)
Tue, Feb. 23, 2:03 PM
- BT Group (BT -2.2%) chief Gavin Patterson continued lobbying against a spinoff of the company's Openreach infrastructure unit at Mobile World Congress, saying the company would increase network spending if regulators decides to leave things be.
- "There's a significant investment that we are ready to make now in the next generation of technology, more fiber to the premise, G.fast, fiber to the cabinet," Patterson said in Barcelona. Regulator Ofcom has been reviewing the UK telecom market and deciding whether Openreach should remain part of the longtime incumbent
- Ofcom chief Sharon White said in December that the status quo with Openreach isn't an option. The unit sells wholesale capacity to BT rivals including Vodafone (VOD -1.9%), Sky (OTCQX:SKYAY -0.6%) and TalkTalk (OTC:TKTCY) and is managed at arm's reach, though not to the full pleasure of those competitors.
- Previously: BT Group finishes up 2.8% post-earnings as analysts adjust targets (Feb. 01 2016)
- Previously: BT closing EE deal as telecom giant - with Openreach as room's elephant (Jan. 29 2016)
Mon, Feb. 1, 4:27 PM
- BT Group (NYSE:BT) finished today up 2.8% in U.S. trading after it grew profits 14% in its Q3 -- and after analysts reiterated some divergent views on the stock.
- Deutsche Bank reiterated its Sell rating and holds a 430-pence price target. Meanwhile, Jefferies reiterated a Buy, and its 515-pence price target -- about 3% upside from today's closing quote of 498.36 pence. Shares closed up 2.8% in London.
- S&P Equity Research maintained its Sell rating and gave the stock a 475-pence price target.
- Previously: BT Group +3% after consumer results help boost profits 14% (Feb. 01 2016)
Mon, Feb. 1, 11:17 AM
- BT Group (NYSE:BT) is up 3% after posting fiscal Q3 results where it grew profits 14% and underlying revenue (excluding transit) 4.7%, the best result in that area in seven years.
- Revenue by segment: BT Global Services, £1.675B (down 1%); BT Business, £779M (down 1%); BT Consumer, £1.205B (up 11%); BT Wholesale, £527M (down 1%); Openreach, £1.294B (up 3%).
- Consumer results led the way and the unit increased its overall line base for the first time in more than 10 years.
- Openreach, meanwhile, saw record fiber broadband net additions of 494,000. CEO Gavin Patterson again took the opportunity to say splitting Openreach from the company, as rivals and some UK politicians are arguing, would cause "huge instability."
- BT Group reaffirmed its 2015-16 outlook for EBITDA and cash flow and said it expected revenue growth of 1-2%.
Mon, Jan. 25, 11:40 AM
- BT Group (NYSE:BT) has closed down 3.3% in London in its first trading day after a bipartisan group of UK MPs called on the company to sell Openreach, its infrastructure arm.
- "Unless BT and Openreach are formally separated to become two entirely independent companies little will change," the politicians' report says. "They will continue to paper over gaping cracks,"
- As is typical, the call was resisted by BT chief Gavin Patterson: "We take any criticism seriously but we think this report and its recommendations are misleading and ill-judged."
- The report -- titled Broadbad -- criticizes BT's approach to use G.fast technology to upgrade the speed of its existing network ("trying to strain every last bit of profit they can from the outdated and struggling copper network") vs. deploying fiber-to-the-home.
- In the fall, the company argued to regulators that there was no case for splitting Openreach from the parent firm, and last summer Patterson suggested there might be a decade of litigation if the company was forced to sell it.
- Clive Selley was recently named to take over as CEO of Openreach.
- BT Group is down 4.3% in U.S. trading.
- Previously: BT Group -4.8%; Deutsche Bank reiterates Sell rating (Jan. 25 2016)
Mon, Jan. 25, 10:46 AM
- BT Group (NYSE:BT) is off 4.8% in U.S. trading following a reiterated Sell rating at Deutsche Bank, though a pair of other firms reiterated bullish takes on the incumbent UK telecom.
- Deutsche Bank has a price target of 430 pence on shares that are currently trading at 469 pence, down 3.8% in London shortly before the close.
- RBC Capital, meanwhile, has a Buy rating and 580-pence target, implying 23.7% upside. Haitong Securities also reiterated its Buy rating with a 570-pence price target.
- ADRs are trading at $33.59, their lowest point in U.S. action today.
Fri, Jan. 22, 4:50 PM
- BT Group (NYSE:BT) rose 5.5% today to its highest point in U.S. trading in a month, after getting some positive takes from analysts, including a nice price target from HSBC.
- The analysts set a target of 580 pence; shares closed in London today up 3.1% to 480.04 pence, implying near-21% upside in the target.
- Credit Suisse reiterated its Outperform rating with a 510-pence target. But Raymond James today stayed bearish, reiterating an Underperform rating and its 423-pence price target.
- Earlier this month, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays and Societe Generale reiterated their Overweight ratings, while Deutsche Bank reiterated a Sell rating.
- Previously: BT Group names Selley to take over Openreach CEO post (Jan. 11 2016)
Wed, Jan. 13, 7:43 PM
- Rogers Communications (RCI -2.7%) and BT Sport (BT -1.6%) are partnering with the NBA to deliver the league's first live game presented in 4K.
- Tomorrow's game between the Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic in London gets the honors, with a high-definition broadcast going to the UK and Canada.
- The two companies have been making investments in providing live 4K sports programming. Last year, Rogers launched a new set-top box and announced more than 100 live sporting events to be broadcast with the technology, which offers more than 4,000-pixel resolution.
- After hours: BT +1.6%.
Nov. 17, 2015, 1:36 PM
- Credit Suisse is looking ahead to rising rates and thinking defensively, which is prompting the firm to reduce its overweight position in pharmaceuticals -- which it says is one of the worst performing sectors amid higher inflation expectations.
- The prospect of a possible Clinton administration, and the maintenance of Obama-era healthcare policies, also has the firm thinking pharmaceuticals will be subdued.
- It's instead increasing an overweight stance in European telecoms based on their "proxy cyclical" nature. High leverage in that area means outperformance as credit spreads narrow, the firm says, with a particular liking for BT Group (BT +1.8%) and Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY +1.9%).
- Meanwhile, Credit Suisse today cut its price target on Dish Network (DISH -0.3%) to $65; DISH is trading currently at $62.28.
- Previously: Chief of BT Group's wholesale business leaving firm in spring (Nov. 16 2015)
- Previously: Reuters: Warburg Pincus enters fray for T-Mobile Netherlands (Nov. 12 2015)
Nov. 2, 2015, 7:36 PM
- Internationally ambitious Discovery Communications (DISCA +2.1%) could be in a group of numerous bidders for Britain's Channel 4, a Public Service Broadcaster that the government may be readying for a sale that could draw $1.5B.
- Though government-owned, Channel 4 is ad-supported, unlike the BBC. Other interested bidders could include private-equity players as well as telecom giant BT Group (NYSE:BT).
- Discovery had considered getting into the bidding for similar broadcaster Channel 5 last year before ceding it to Viacom for an eventual $700M.
- Discovery also has a stake in All3Media, a key content partner for Channel 4.
Oct. 28, 2015, 10:09 AM
- BT Group (NYSE:BT) is up 3.5% in U.S. trading following the UK's provisional clearance of its £12.5B merger with mobile market leader EE.
- The telecom giant had made its case to regulators for the takeover in early May. Opponents, particularly Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD), have been vocal about the combination of the UK's biggest fixed-line telecom with its biggest mobile operator.
- And despite a harder-line stance by EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager -- whose opposition led to TeliaSonera and Telenor calling off a Danish merger -- the EU's digital economy commissioner, Guenther Oettinger, thinks consolidation will continue to run: "I believe the consolidation process will continue - we have rather too many than too few companies in Europe."
- As for Vestager's approach: "She sets a lot of store by variety of offerings, by competition, that's the one important factor. The other is that we need competitive companies who are big enough in the global competitive context."
- Also up today: EE owners Orange (ORAN +0.5%) and Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY +1%).
- Previously: TeliaSonera, Telenor call off Danish merger as regulators balk (Sep. 11 2015)
Oct. 15, 2015, 10:31 AM
- BT Group (NYSE:BT) is up 1.5% in U.S. trading after Jefferies Group reiterated its Buy rating.
- Shares are up 1.9% in London. Jefferies set a price target of 515 pence; with BT trading at 424.90p, that implies 21% upside.
- The ADRs have lost 10% of value over the past three months. BT is facing regulatory scrutiny in a strategic review by the UK's telecom regulator, Ofcom, which is evaluating its holdings of Openreach, its wholesale access business.
- Previously: BT Group to regulators: No case for splitting Openreach (Oct. 09 2015)
Sep. 22, 2015, 9:56 AM
- Speaking at a company conference (and playing defense after a new attack from rivals), BT Group (BT -2.1%) chief Gavin Patterson said the company's ultra-fast broadband service (300-500 Mbps) would be delivered to 10M premises by 2020.
- "We want to forge an ultra-fast future for Britain and stand ready to help government deliver the broadband speeds necessary for every property to enjoy modern-day Internet services, such as high definition TV streaming and cloud computing," Patterson says. "To achieve this, we need a collaborative effort across industry and government."
- The statement comes after a fresh offensive from competitors led by Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) over splitting the wholesale Openreach business from BT.
- BT has opened a trial of its G.fast offering involving up to 4,000 premises. It plans to hit the 10M-premise target with a combination of G.fast and fiber to the premises.
- A hint of 1-Gbps service suggests the company may also bring fiber-on-demand back from the dead.
- Previously: Vodafone, rivals renew call for BT Openreach split (Sep. 21 2015)
Aug. 24, 2015, 11:38 AM
- BT Group's (BT -4%) Americas president has charged Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and AT&T (NYSE:T) with hurting competitors by abusing landline monopolies, and called for tough regulations to force access to the networks.
- The UK telecom serves hundreds of customers in the U.S. but pays to reach the "special access network" -- the portion that goes the last mile into homes and offices -- of which Verizon and AT&T control about 80%.
- The FCC requested data from telecoms on the special access networks last year. BT's Bas Burger points to research suggesting the top two U.S. telecoms are overcharging for that access by about $9B/year.
- Burger is calling for regulated prices there. “For a western world country it is the worst I’ve seen."
- “There is not sufficient regulation to create competition," he says; "almost all access is being provided by two companies and they have divided the country among themselves.”
Jul. 30, 2015, 4:00 PM
- BT Group ADRs (NYSE:BT) are down 1.3% after fiscal Q1 profits came in ahead of expectations and growth in the consumer business mitigated revenue declines in business and Global Services.
- Shares closed in London down 1.2% after regaining the worst of early losses.
- Underlying revenue was flat even as the headline number fell 1.6%. EBITDA of £1.449B was up 1% but missed an expected £1.46B.
- Revenue by segment: BT Global Services, £1.54B (down 6%); BT Business, £749M (down 2%); BT Consumer, £$1.07B (up 3%); BT Wholesale, £530M (up 1%); Openreach, £1.249B (flat). Other and intragroup items were -£867M.
- The company was mostly mum about its takeover of EE -- the UK's largest mobile provider -- even amid salvos from competitors about resulting market dominance: "We're also looking forward to completing our acquisition of EE, which will allow us to create a true UK digital champion, providing customers with greater choice and value and helping to deliver the UK's connected future," said Patterson.
- "Our financial results show we're on track to achieve our outlook for the full year," Patterson said.
- Regulator Ofcom is examining whether Openreach -- the infrastructure division that sells access to the wireline network -- needs to be separated from the company for competitive purposes.
Jul. 27, 2015, 9:24 AM
- BT Group (NYSE:BT) is up 1.6% premarket in U.S. trading corresponding with a move up in London after weekend news that it is setting price hikes for the fall.
- Several prices are reported to be growing by 6-7%; landline charges are reported to be growing by £1/month (and an Anytime calls package rising 50p to £7.95), and broadband prices increasing by nearly 7%.
- A consumer group says the increases are hard to justify, and they come amid a growing outcry from competitors to break up BT's market power.
- Previously: Vodafone call: CEO Colao again presses for BT breakup (Jul. 24 2015)
- Previously: BT CEO threatens decade of litigation if forced to divest wholesale unit (Jul. 20 2015)
BT Group Plc provides communication solutions and services. Its principal activities include networked IT services, local, national and international telecommunications services and higher value broadband and Internet products and services. The company has five customer-facing Iines of business:... More
Industry: Telecom Services - Foreign
Country: United Kingdom
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