Charter Communications, Inc.NASDAQ
Thu, Dec. 1, 1:33 PM| 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)
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."
- Pay TV players: CMCSA, CHTR, CVC/OTCPK:OTCPK:ATCEY, T, DISH, VZ, FTR, CTL
- Previously: FCC pulls set-top box vote from today's meeting agenda (Sep. 29 2016)
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.
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, 8:03 AM
Wed, Nov. 2, 5:30 PM
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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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Pay TV players: CMCSA, CHTR, CVC/OTCPK:OTCPK:ATCEY, T, DISH, VZ, FTR, CTL
Thu, Sep. 22, 12:02 PM
- Asked about announcements earlier at the Communacopia Conference regarding Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and now Charter's (CHTR +0.6%) entries into wireless service, T-Mobile (TMUS +1.3%) COO Mike Sievert was sanguine: "Things in cable happen at the pace of cable."
- "We think it's great," he says. "If you're a T-Mobile shareholder it's hard to figure out how it could go badly for you," he says, pointing to T-Mobile's focus. If the companies come in and take customers, that's a market of not four but six carriers "in a world where T-Mobile is highly efficacious" at mobile. "Let's say they stumble, but they still believe in the vision of convergence. Also good. Or if they lose interest, and take their toys and go home ... also good."
- T-Mobile earlier this week released preliminary Q3 subscriber results that said it added 753,000 branded postpaid phone subs. Any benefit from the new iPhone 7? "Most of the benefit of the switching is in Q4, because we don't report the add until the phone ships to the customer, and most of the shipments are after Oct. 1," Sievert said. The company's free iPhone 7 trade-in promotion is ending Sunday, they said.
- Separately, the company suffered a significant overnight outage of its data service. It confirmed issues at 3:31 a.m. ET, and said service was back at 5:47 a.m.
Wed, Sep. 21, 5:51 PM
- At the Communacopia Conference, Charter (CHTR +3.7%) CEO Tom Rutledge didn't dissuade speculation that the company would join Comcast in wireless ambitions, saying they've told Verizon to activate their MVNO service-resale agreement (as Comcast did last year).
- On wireless Internet competition: "When I was at the FCC recently ... I constantly told them that the cellular industry should be looked at as a competitor." But he's confident in Charter. "We're on a pathway to get 10 gigs symmetrical to each house. There's capital involved but not a complete rebuild or retrenching of all the fiber in the country ... We think we have the best architecture to bring speeds up ... and virtual reality will become the way we work and play."
- "When we talk internally we say we're goin' straight to 6G ... a way of saying: 5G is a telco standard that's not even developed ... but we have the capability of having very powerful networks in every home with relatively small cells."
- Net debt on trailing 12-months pro forma adjusted EBITDA is sitting at 4.4 times after the acquisitions, and capital allocation wasn't likely to change until the company got closer to a target of 4 times. With free cash flow generation, though, Charter's heading there quickly. "What is the opportunity when that moment arrives? Do we have an acquisition model that's accretive, do we want to buy back our stock, do we want a dividend? ... The order we'd want to do them is what I just said."
- But is there bandwidth for more acquisitions after swallowing two cable companies for a combined $88.4B? "It's just cable," Rutledge deadpans. But seriously, "look how long it takes to get approved. If you have an opportunity to invest in the business, and think the business is a good business, we'd like to do that ... These opportunities come along when they do; you can't force them."