Charter Communications, Inc.NASDAQ
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  • Yesterday, 2:27 PM
    • Investors in Charter Communications (CHTR -1.5%) can expect big share buybacks, says the founder of hedge fund TCI -- and maybe even a Big Four telecom takeover bid.
    • Speaking at the Sohn Conference in London, TCI founder Chris Hohn (who owns 5% of Charter) said Verizon (VZ -0.4%) could be interested in a takeover bid "over time."
    • "Margins are going to be much higher than consensus assumes," he says, which would feed profits and then extensive buybacks of up to 35% of outstanding shares.
    | Yesterday, 2:27 PM | 6 Comments
  • Wed, Dec. 7, 2:35 PM
    • Sprint (S +7.2%) is partnering with Niantic to turn its more than 10.5K U.S. locations into PokeStops and Gyms, beginning Dec. 12.
    • As for sector consolidation, yesterday's meeting between Softbank's chief and Trump, and Softbank's (OTCPK:SFTBY +5.7%) promised $50B U.S. investment could foreshadow a Sprint/T-Mobile (TMUS +3.9%) merger, says Oppenheimer's Tim Horan.
    • The objective of a tie-up between the two, says Horan, would be "quad-play offering" to attack cable's "triple-play." T-Mobile, he says, is the "king maker" in the process thanks to its combined spectrum portfolio.
    • Look for Comcast (CMCSA +0.6%) or Charter (CHTR +3%) to make competing bids, but they'd have to be big numbers to win out over Sprint.
    • Source: Bloomberg
    | Wed, Dec. 7, 2:35 PM | 53 Comments
  • Thu, Dec. 1, 1:33 PM
    • From $280 previously.
    • Analyst Matthew Harrigan, reiterating a Buy rating, cites confidence in cable technology roadmap, Spectrum brand marketing and expected additional wireless benefits to come.
    • Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR), lower by 1.82% on the day, is currently priced at $270.29.
    | Thu, Dec. 1, 1:33 PM
  • Tue, Nov. 22, 3:33 PM
    • Looking at the top 50 hedge fund hotels, it's probably little surprise that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) top the list, with Amazon making for a top 10 holding in 61 funds, and Facebook in 57.
    • Rounding out the top 10 are Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR), Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), Allergan (NYSE:AGN), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), and Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN).
    • Looking at another gauge - the percent of market cap owned by hedge funds - shows CommScope (NASDAQ:COMM) leading the way, with hedge funds owning 37%. Next is Dell Technologies (NYSE:DVMT) and Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) at 30%, and after that: Liberty Broadband (NASDAQ:LBRDK) at 24%, LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) at 21%, Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) at 20%, and Humana (NYSE:HUM) and WhiteWave Foods (NYSE:WWAV) at 19%.
    • Previously: Goldman's list of shorts mattering most to hedge funds (Nov. 22)
    | Tue, Nov. 22, 3:33 PM | 12 Comments
  • Wed, Nov. 16, 3:31 PM
    • With Donald Trump set to take over the White House, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's plan to reform the pay TV set-top box market is "95% dead," according to one analyst.
    • Wheeler's proposal to kill off the boxes met with opposition from the industry even after it was modified to be much closer to pay TV providers' app-focused approach. The FCC said the market for the boxes sat at $20B a year and that the cost of renting them had gone up 185% since 1994, while other consumer electronics dropped 90% in price over that period.
    • "I would say it's 95 percent dead," said Bloomberg Intelligence's Matthew Schettenhelm. "It's a very long road to get this done.”
    • House Republicans have asked Wheeler to focus on the ongoing broadcast incentive spectrum auction, and not to move forward with “complex and controversial items that the new Congress and Administration will have an interest in reviewing."
    • That includes an open item on Business Data Services as well, not to mention lengthy reviews ahead for AT&T/Time Warner and Level 3/CenturyLink deals.
    • Public Knowledge's Chris Lewis says it's too early to hold a funeral: "We don't know what Trump thinks about set-top boxes."
    • Previously: FCC pulls set-top box vote from today's meeting agenda (Sep. 29 2016)
    | Wed, Nov. 16, 3:31 PM | 33 Comments
  • Wed, Nov. 9, 11:34 AM
    • While Time Warner is trading lower as investors digest a slimmer chance of a buyout by AT&T under a Trump administration, Sprint (NYSE:S) -- a company long thought to again become a merger prospect after a change in the White House -- is up 12.5% and hitting two-year highs today.
    • Its oft-discussed merger matchup partner, T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS) is up 3.8%.
    • Meanwhile, changes are likely coming to the FCC, Wells Fargo argues: It will at least be more conservative, if not working under new leadership soon; expecting Chairman Tom Wheeler to stay a full term is "no longer realistic."
    • "If the rhetoric of those surrounding Trump’s campaign rings true, we can expect a Republican FCC to make a big push to roll back some of the regulations put in place under President Obama such as the Title II/Net Neutrality rules," writes analyst Jennifer Fritzsche. "There may also be a push to roll back some or all of what the FCC just did on privacy."
    • "It’s unclear whether Chairman Wheeler will be able to act on the open items related to Business Data Services or set top box reform before he departs and if he does not, some suggest a Republican FCC will reverse course on these two items. There is also a big question on how a Trump FCC will view transactions including the recently announced T/TWX merger and the LVLT/CTL transaction."
    • LVLT +0.4%; CTL +0.5%. TWX -1%. Names tied to net neutrality: T, VZ, CMCSA, CHTR, OTCPK:ATCEY, CTL, FTR, CCOI, DISH.
    | Wed, Nov. 9, 11:34 AM | 219 Comments
  • Thu, Nov. 3, 9:59 AM
    • Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) is up strong, +2.9%, on Q3 earnings where profits missed but revenues rose 7.5% (on a pro forma basis) and surpassed expectations.
    • On an as-reported basis, revenues more than quadrupled, juiced by the addition of Time Warner Cable. EBITDA of $3.6B was up 14.5% on a pro forma basis and beat an expected $3.55B.
    • Revenue by segment: Video, $4.1B (up 258%); Internet, $3.21B (up 320.5%); Voice, $728M (up 441%); Small and Medium Business, $868M (up 347%); Enterprise, $508M (up 453%); Advertising sales, $419M (up 448.5%); other, $214M (up 353.5%).
    • Total customer relationships rose by 279,000. Total residential and SMB primary service units were up by 409,000 (vs. a year-ago 669,000 on a pro forma basis).
    • Conference call to come at 10 a.m. ET.
    • Press Release
    | Thu, Nov. 3, 9:59 AM
  • Thu, Nov. 3, 8:03 AM
    • Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR): Q3 EPS of $0.69
    • Revenue of $10.04B (+7.5% Y/Y)
    • Press Release
    | Thu, Nov. 3, 8:03 AM
  • Wed, Nov. 2, 5:30 PM
  • Wed, Nov. 2, 12:45 PM
    • In an extraordinary move, the Justice Dept. is suing AT&T (T -0.3%), charging that its DirecTV unit led a campaign to illegally block carriage of the Los Angeles Dodgers' TV channel.
    • In the suit, the DOJ says DirecTV led an effort with then-separate AT&T, and Cox Communications and Charter Communications (CHTR +0.6%), to refuse carriage of Dodgers-owned SportsNet LA, sharing nonpublic information to do so -- all to gain bargaining power with Time Warner Cable (itself now part of Charter).
    • DirecTV and Cox have balked at the cost of carrying the channel, and its struggles have been well documented as Southern Californians labored to find how to watch the Dodgers on television.
    • AT&T, of course, will need DOJ approval to move forward with an $85B deal to buy out Time Warner (TWX -0.8%).
    • SportsNet LA coverage
    • Updated: AT&T responds. “We respect the DOJ’s important role in protecting consumers, but in this case, which occurred before AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV, we see the facts differently," says General Counsel David McAtee in a statement. "The reason why no other major TV provider chose to carry this content was that no one wanted to force all of their customers to pay the inflated prices that Time Warner Cable was demanding for a channel devoted solely to L.A. Dodgers baseball. We make our carriage decisions independently, legally and only after thorough negotiations with the content owner. We look forward to presenting these facts in court.”
    | Wed, Nov. 2, 12:45 PM | 27 Comments
  • Thu, Oct. 27, 2:02 PM
    • The FCC split on party lines again today in adopting tough new privacy regulations on broadband Internet providers, rules that require an opt-in before sharing most customer data.
    • That could present a problem growing advertising for big providers including Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Charter (NASDAQ:CHTR), AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ).
    • The vote passed 3-2 with strong dissents from the panel's two Republican commissioners. More public information (names, addresses) will be treated leniently, but providers will need to ask permission before sharing more sensitive data (like phone-tracked location, or sites visited and apps used).
    • The new rules, while scaled back, have drawn heavy criticism from cable/telecom and advertising sectors, with companies that fret that the move will restructure the Internet's free-content approach.
    • Other players: OTCPK:ATCEY, FTR, CTL, WIN, S, TMUS, CCOI
    | Thu, Oct. 27, 2:02 PM | 11 Comments
  • Tue, Oct. 18, 5:40 PM
    • Charter Communications (CHTR +0.9%) is hiring hundreds of workers in San Antonio, part of the company's plans to "onshore" workers and build up its call center staff in the U.S.
    • With its acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, the company has looked to nearly double its call center footprint in the San Antonio area, a popular location for call centers. It also inherited a TWC call center in Harlingen, Texas.
    • The company has said it plans to relocate 20,000 jobs to the U.S. in connection with the acquisitions.
    • Last week, Charter filed a mass-layoff notice tied to letting go 258 workers (in accounting and finance) in North Carolina.
    | Tue, Oct. 18, 5:40 PM
  • Fri, Oct. 14, 1:58 PM
    • Charter Communications (CHTR +0.6%) is laying off 258 North Carolina employees according to a mass-layoff notice the company filed.
    • Layoffs of the workers at the company's Charlotte location will run from Nov. 1 to the end of June, and hit finance and accounting staff -- a common outcome when mergers (such as Charter's buyouts of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks) create redundancies in those areas.
    • Some 70 senior accountants are set for layoff, along with 11 financial auditors, 18 accounting managers, and five VPs of finance.
    • Charter currently employs 1,367 in Charlotte.
    | Fri, Oct. 14, 1:58 PM | 3 Comments
  • Wed, Oct. 12, 12:16 PM
    • Arris (ARRS +0.3%) will be a key partner in the development of Charter Communications' (CHTR +0.2%) WorldBox 2.0 platform, targeted at traditional TV sets across the Charter footprint.
    • The next-gen WorldBox 2.0 is a hybrid video platform that expands on Charter's downloadable conditional access capabilities as well as adding more graphics capabilities and processing power. The platform "gives Charter the flexibility to deploy a single platform across our entire expanded network," says Charter's Jim Blackley.
    • The two companies had recently entered into a warrant agreement providing for Charter to acquire Arris shares based on targeted sales of Arris equipment to Charter over the next three years.
    | Wed, Oct. 12, 12:16 PM
  • Fri, Oct. 7, 7:25 PM
    • Stock in set-top box maker Arris (ARRS +6.8%) jumped today after it detailed a warrant agreement with Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR), now the second-largest cable company in the U.S., and analysts came in with bullish takes.
    • The agreement gives Charter a warrant to buy up to 6M shares of Arris stock at a strike price of $28.54 (vs. today's close of $29.65) after Charter buys a certain amount of products from Arris.
    • Needham reiterated a Buy rating and price target of $32. "While it's difficult to precisely quantify the impact of the Charter agreement, we are qualitatively encouraged by Charter's willingness to sign an agreement that incentivizes it [to] purchase an increasing amount of product from ARRS in two consecutive years," writes analyst Richard Valera.
    • Arris had entered a similar arrangement with top cable company Comcast this summer.
    | Fri, Oct. 7, 7:25 PM | 1 Comment
  • Thu, Sep. 29, 10:37 AM
    • FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal for new rules governing pay TV set-top boxes -- set for a vote today, but facing opposition from the industry and even a swing-vote Democrat on the panel -- has been pulled from today's meeting (now getting under way), but will stay in circulation.
    • Wheeler had changed a previous proposal and appeared to move closer to pay-TV industry wishes for an app-based approach, but still faced pushback from service providers and resistance from Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who along with Republican Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly could form the three votes to sink the proposal.
    | Thu, Sep. 29, 10:37 AM | 11 Comments