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  • Fri, Oct. 21, 5:23 PM
    • AT&T's (T -3%) interest in Time Warner (TWX +7.8%) progressed quickly from "had talks" to "advanced talks" and now a deal could be set by Monday -- which Bloomberg says is due to a sped-up timetable caused by Bloomberg's initial report.
    • That's because AT&T is said to be concerned that the publicity could allow other interested suitors like Apple (AAPL -0.4%) or Alphabet (GOOG +0.3%, GOOGL +0.3%) to jump in -- and indeed Apple is said to be monitoring the deal talks, after it made its own approach to Time Warner a few months ago, The Wall Street Journal reports.
    • Those talks involved execs under Apple chief Tim Cook and didn't get beyond a preliminary stage. A source tells the WSJ that Google doesn't look interested in an offer for Time Warner.
    • But the story of the deal points out just how much behind-the-scenes strategic talk is going on in the media/telecom spaces, as companies vie to be among the new leaders in an upended, converged digital media climate.
    • Sumner Redstone was said to be considering not only the merger of CBS (CBS +2.1%) and Viacom (VIA +2.7%, VIAB +2.8%) that he's already pushing for, but also to combine that entity with Time Warner.
    • Meanwhile, Comcast (CMCSA -0.5%) could join another company to get involved, the WSJ says, though that makes more sense if Time Warner's open to being parted out.
    • Unlikely to join in this time: Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX +2.2%, FOXA +2.2%), whose own pursuit of Time Warner failed in 2014 at $85/share, and Walt Disney (DIS +1.1%).
    • Previously: Time Warner at 15-year highs on merger talk; media companies rise (Oct. 21 2016)
    | Fri, Oct. 21, 5:23 PM | 64 Comments
  • Tue, Oct. 18, 4:47 AM
    • Disney (NYSE:DIS) decided against buying Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) partly due to concerns that the hate speech that's rampant on the social network would undermine Disney's family friendly image, Bloomberg reports.
    • Another reason is that although Twitter has a market cap of almost $12B, it continues to lose money, which brought out some of Disney's largest investors in opposition to a deal.
    • Other potential suitors to end their interest in Twitter were Salesforce and Google.
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    | Tue, Oct. 18, 4:47 AM | 60 Comments
  • Thu, Oct. 6, 7:13 AM
    | Thu, Oct. 6, 7:13 AM | 54 Comments
  • Wed, Oct. 5, 7:08 PM
    | Wed, Oct. 5, 7:08 PM | 121 Comments
  • Tue, Oct. 4, 7:03 PM
    • Twitter (TWTR -2%) is expected to field bids from suitors this week, and an especially interested Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com calls it an "unpolished jewel," The Wall Street Journal reports.
    • Twitter has moved up 3% after hours following the news.
    • Gathering actual bids suggests the sale of the company is much closer than before. And while Salesforce (CRM +3%) would love to make a splash by acquiring Twitter's voluminous data, Google (GOOG +0.5%, GOOGL +0.3%) and Disney (DIS +0.1%) are expected to be part of the action too, according to WSJ's sources.
    • Twitter has untapped potential in advertising, e-commerce and data-rich applications, Salesforce chief Benioff figures -- though he may also be motivated by losing out to Microsoft in a race to buy LinkedIn. And at a price of $20B or more, it would be tougher to swallow for Salesforce (market cap of $49.2B) than for Alphabet ($539.9B) or Disney ($148.2B).
    • After hours: CRM -0.8%.
    | Tue, Oct. 4, 7:03 PM | 92 Comments
  • Wed, Sep. 28, 8:44 AM
    • "Any way we slice the data, we just can’t get enthusiastic about this potential transaction," says Citigroup's Jason Bazinet, outlining four reasons why Disney (NYSE:DIS) shouldn't buy Twitter (NYSE:TWTR).
    • 1) Previous Internet and media marriages have tended not to work out well (see AOL/Time Warner, MySpace/News Corp).
    • 2) Twitter's challenges, ranging from lame user growth to management turnover.
    • 3) Whether a cash or stock deal, Citi sees declines for Disney in both scenarios.
    • 4) The team at Citi can't see many ways for Disney to actually help Twitter, and note their belief that both Twitter and Yahoo lost money on the deal to stream NFL games online - so why would even more content on the social media platform be of financial benefit?
    • Hoping stories of Disney's interest are wrong, Bazinet retains his Buy rating on DIS.
    • TWTR -1% premarket
    | Wed, Sep. 28, 8:44 AM | 28 Comments
  • Mon, Sep. 26, 3:32 PM
    • With Salesforce (reportedly working with Bank of America) (CRM -0.2%), Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL) and The Walt Disney Co. (DIS -1.3%) rumored to be in the mix, Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) is said to be gearing up to present itself to potential acquirers.
    • While a bid by Salesforce is seen as unlikely and unfavorable by some (Citi, Morgan Stanley), last Friday it appeared firmly in the mx. Alphabet, meanwhile, is considered a favorite by others, with the available cash, advertising expertise and social network tie-in possibilities to make Twitter work under a new parent organization. Now that Disney is the latest to reportedly join the group, sports, distribution and video prospects are being weighed.
    • Trading up more mildly than Friday's run on this development, it appears analysts, investors and Twitter itself are unsure of what direction the company will take next. The negative reaction of Salesforce shares on Friday and Disney shares today, though, may signal difficulty in attaining favorable terms for all parties involved in a deal should one come closer to materialization.
    • Update (3:41 PM ET): CNBC's David Faber adds Microsoft (MSFT -0.8%) in as a potential bidder.
    | Mon, Sep. 26, 3:32 PM | 81 Comments
  • Mon, Sep. 26, 2:28 PM
    • With stocks moving on a report that Disney (NYSE:DIS) is talking to advisers about a possible bid for Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), Disney chief Bob Iger last week gave a clue to one aspect of synergy: Twitter's moves into video.
    • Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference last week, Iger pointed out that "new entrants" to sports broadcasting (obliquely including Twitter, which is streaming Thursday Night Football) will have a rough time competing against incumbent owners of sports broadcasting rights, most prominently Disney's ESPN.
    • "Nobody can monetize sports better than ESPN," he said. "If you think about [new entrants] in terms of direct competitors to incumbent sports rights owners," not just ESPN but NBC, CBS, Fox, Turner -- new entrants "have the capital, but would dig deep into their pockets and do something that would be a loss leader and then some. It's gonna be hard for them to compete on an equal playing field, no pun intended."
    • Meanwhile, he said the company's $1B investment in streaming firm BAMTech was an "enabler" for Disney in digital video, and that the company's moves are all about an effort to "reach more sports fans" -- a timely opportunity considering Twitter's audience for Thursday broadcasts rose 34% from the prior week, but with a lot of room to grow (327,000 average users per minute, up from the prior week's 243,000).
    • After the volume spike in both stocks, TWTR now up 0.8%; DIS down 1.6%.
    | Mon, Sep. 26, 2:28 PM | 39 Comments
  • Mon, Sep. 26, 1:55 PM
    | Mon, Sep. 26, 1:55 PM | 53 Comments
  • Tue, Aug. 23, 10:57 AM
    • Keeping up a push by Chinese firms into Hollywood, China's richest man says he has two billion-dollar deals in the pipeline and an eye beyond that to taking over one of the industry's Big Six.
    • Wang Jianlin, of Dalian Wanda Group, tells Reuters that after acquiring a pair of non-production companies, he'd like to take over one of the major studios: Twentieth Century Fox (FOX, FOXA), Warner Brothers (NYSE:TWX), Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), Universal Pictures (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Columbia (NYSE:SNE), along with Paramount (VIA, VIAB), for which Wanda was said to be nearing a $4B purchase of 49%.
    • Paramount is certainly in play, with flagging performance and a parent (Viacom) struggling with that and its TV business. But that's not all Wang has his eye on: "We are interested not only in Paramount, but all of them. If one of the Big Six would be willing to be sold to us, we would be interested."
    • That's a "necessary step" to building a "real movie empire," Wang says. "Only the six are real global film companies, while the rest are not."
    • Wanda bought control of production company Legendary Entertainment for $3.5B this year and wants to triple revenue from its cultural division to 150B yuan ($22.6B) by 2020.
    • The conglomerate also controls theater firm AMC Entertainment, and with the completion of acquisitions of Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group and Carmike Cinemas, would control 15% of global box office revenues.
    | Tue, Aug. 23, 10:57 AM | 36 Comments
  • Thu, May 26, 9:27 AM
    • Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) is up 3.7% premarket, and Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) up 0.9%, after the two were linked as takeover targets in a story about Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) content ambitions.
    • The Financial Times reports that Apple exec Eddy Cue raised the idea of buying Time Warner at a meeting with the company's head of corporate strategy at the end of last year.
    • Those ideas didn't get to Apple chief Tim Cook or Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, sources told the FT, but the story does suggest Apple may not be content just talking about licensing others' content for a future TV service.
    • Meanwhile, several bankers suggest to the FT that Netflix is a more likely target for Apple, since an Apple service could then still support a wider range of content makers.
    • Several media companies would be bad targets for Apple because of dual-share structures that favor founders or family ownership (like Comcast, Fox, CBS, and Viacom). Notable exceptions to that concern are Time Warner and Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS).
    | Thu, May 26, 9:27 AM | 50 Comments
  • Fri, Apr. 8, 7:00 PM
    • Disney (DIS +0.3%) has run into a bit of a hurdle in its succession plan after Monday's surprise news that COO and likely CEO candidate Tom Staggs was leaving his post.
    • Observers speculate that the board didn't see the creative strength in Staggs that the company would need in a replacement for chief executive Bob Iger, planning to step down in two years. The company's also faced down woes over its TV business, both at broadcast net ABC as well as at ESPN.
    • BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield has the answer to both problems: Disney should buy Netflix (NFLX -0.6%).
    • Then it gets a future leader with a creative streak in Netflix's "visionary CEO" Reed Hastings, as well as a substantial established stake in on-demand video.
    • "Netflix is already a great friend of Disney," Greenfield says. "In fact, Iger has repeatedly acknowledged how they are in part responsible for Netflix’s success. Disney continues to sell more and more content to Netflix spanning movies and television series, while at the same time struggling to get their own direct-to-consumer content business off the ground in the UK."
    • But a deal would be huge. "Buying Netflix is an awfully expensive acquire, but it could be Disney’s only hope. Disney’s market cap is currently $157 billion and its enterprise value is $176 billion compared to Netflix’s $45 billion market cap and enterprise value."
    • Now read Did Disney's Board Get What It Wanted? »
    | Fri, Apr. 8, 7:00 PM | 91 Comments
  • Dec. 22, 2015, 6:20 PM
    • Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) is in talks to get out of its joint venture in digital network Fusion, which it launched in 2013 with Univision.
    • The talks concern Univision taking full control of ownership and operation of the network, which includes digital properties as well as its cable channel.
    • Fusion moved rapidly from an early focus on second-generation Latinos to target the entire millennial demographic, and its journalistic coverage has come to address a wide swath of topics and general-interest subject matter.
    • The cable channel, though, has struggle to get traction as it's not carried by No. 1 U.S. carrier Comcast.
    • For its part, Univision recently acquired African-American focused The Root as part of its moves to expand its digital footprint.
    | Dec. 22, 2015, 6:20 PM | 11 Comments
  • Dec. 2, 2015, 9:42 PM
    • While speculation about buyers for Yahoo's (NASDAQ:YHOO) core Internet business is focused on private equity, Yahoo's evolution as a media company means a number of media/telecom firms are in play for all or part of the business.
    • A sale of the core business might not happen -- it's not the main purpose of Yahoo's meeting -- but on the other hand, a transaction would certainly value it at more than where it is locked up in Yahoo, which may be less than zero because of the investments in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan.
    • Estimates vary widely on the Internet business' value, from just under $2B to as much as near $4B. Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) could have room for that after it failed to acquire Time Warner Cable; it's been spreading out investments in a number of media and Internet companies this year, and it could lump in Yahoo's properties with its own Xfinity online video.
    • Like Verizon (NYSE:VZ), another potential Yahoo Internet suitor, Comcast has also been shoring up its ad-tech bona fides with some 2015 acquisitions. Verizon could use Yahoo's data to present a better competitive face to Google and Facebook, though it would have redundancies to deal with.
    • Other companies like News Corp. (NWS, NWSA) or Time Inc. (NYSE:TIME) may be more interested in some pieces of Yahoo's business rather than the whole. SunTrust analyst Robert Peck even considers AT&T (NYSE:T) and Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) prospective buyers; Disney for tapping the data to market theme parts and movies, and AT&T trying to match up better against the Verizon/AOL combo.
    • Previously: FT: P-E firms show interest in Yahoo's core business (updated) (Dec. 02 2015)
    | Dec. 2, 2015, 9:42 PM | 15 Comments
  • Sep. 2, 2015, 4:57 PM
    • Prestige studio Miramax, previously rumored to be exploring a sale, has hired Morgan Stanley to find a buyer, Bloomberg reports.
    • Qatari investment bank QInvest will co-advise on the process, which is said to start formally after the Labor Day holiday. The studio is part-owned by Qatar through the country's sovereign wealth fund.
    • Miramax could be looking for up to $1B after its current owners bought it from Disney for $660M in 2010, and bidders could include streaming services like Hulu (CMCSA, DIS, FOX, FOXA), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) or Amazon.com's Instant Video (NASDAQ:AMZN), or studios like MGM or oft-rumored buyer Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF).
    • Miramax's most recent release is Mr. Holmes, with Ian McKellen as famed detective Sherlock Holmes, and it currently produces From Dusk Till Dawn, the TV adaptation of the film now in its second season on the El Rey network.
    | Sep. 2, 2015, 4:57 PM | 8 Comments
  • Jul. 17, 2015, 8:27 PM
    • Miramax, the studio home for prestige films founded by Harvey and Bob Weinstein, is looking for a buyer in a sale it hopes will draw $1B, Bloomberg reports.
    • Investment is coming back to the film sector in a rebound year for movies, and studio owners Colony Capital and Qatar Holding are betting that content-hungry distributors will take an interest in an award-heavy film library, including Oscar winners like Shakespeare in Love, Pulp Fiction and Good Will Hunting.
    • Colony Capital and the Qatar sovereign wealth fund were among the group that bought Miramax from Disney for $660M five years ago.
    • Potential buyers? That could include content-acquisitive streaming services like Hulu (CMCSA, DIS, FOXA), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) or Amazon.com's Instant Video (NASDAQ:AMZN), or studios like MGM or oft-rumored buyer Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF), says Variety's James Rainey. A price of $1B is too steep for some of them, but with low information, it's tough to put a solid value on Miramax.
    | Jul. 17, 2015, 8:27 PM | 23 Comments