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  • Mon, Mar. 23, 10:58 AM
    • A California case over DirecTV's (NASDAQ:DTV) enforcement of arbitration clauses is headed for the Supreme Court.
    • A state appeals court had ruled that customers of the satellite provider weren't bound by a provision in the service agreement requiring private arbitration of disputes rather than class actions.
    • The case goes back to class-action suits filed in 2008 over cancellation fees. DirecTV says the appeals court ruling conflicts with one it won on the matter in U.S. Circuit Court.
    | Mon, Mar. 23, 10:58 AM | Comment!
  • Tue, Mar. 17, 2:03 PM
    • With the proposed merger of Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) getting all the oxygen from the post-net-neutrality FCC, the $48.5B deal that AT&T (NYSE:T) has to acquire DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) appears to be getting a relatively free pass.
    • Both deals will create a company controlling more than a quarter of pay TV -- so it may be Internet access that's drawing extra scrutiny. The combined Comcast-TWC company would serve high-speed Internet to almost 40% of Americans.
    • Even FCC petitions opposing the deals are telling: 20 against Comcast-TWC, five against AT&T-DirecTV. And 88,000 brief comments opposing Comcast-TWC, 14,000 opposing AT&T-DirecTV.
    • One critic of the T-DTV deal told Reuters that Justice Department reviewers responded in a meeting with "few questions" and "blank stares."
    • Today: CMCSA -0.7%; TWC -1%; T +0.1%; DTV +0.2%.
    • Previously: FCC pauses review of Comcast-TWC, AT&T-DTV; likely weeks away (Mar. 13 2015)
    • Previously: Brean downgrades DirecTV to Hold; AT&T offer priced in (Feb. 23 2015)
    | Tue, Mar. 17, 2:03 PM | 5 Comments
  • Fri, Mar. 13, 4:28 PM
    • As signaled before, the FCC has paused the 180-day "shot clock" on reviewing two megamergers -- Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) deal for Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), and AT&T's (NYSE:T) deal to buy DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) -- as it's tied up with another case over programming contracts.
    • The review of the deals was set to expire by the end of March, but now may take somewhat longer, likely several more weeks.
    • The cause is the ongoing dispute with programming firms -- Disney (NYSE:DIS), CBS, Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA), Viacom (VIA, VIAB) and others -- over whether third parties commenting on the mergers will get access to private documents containing sensitive pricing and strategy information.
    • The FCC has argued it has sufficient protections to keep those details from getting out. But the merger reviews now appear to be dependent entirely on that case's timetable.
    • "In reaching this conclusion, the commission reserves the right to restart the clock as it believes will best serve the public interest," the FCC said.
    | Fri, Mar. 13, 4:28 PM | 12 Comments
  • Wed, Mar. 11, 12:21 PM
    • The FTC has charged DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) with deception in its advertising for satellite TV costs.
    • The agency says that DirecTV is advertising a discounted 12-month programming package that hides the fact that it requires a two-year contract -- and that costs go up by as much as $45/month in the second year. Customers trying to cancel before the two-year point face early termination fees of up to $480.
    • The FTC also calls an offer for three months of free premium channels a "negative option continuity plan" hiding the requirement for customers to proactively cancel to avoid expensive automatic charges.
    • "It’s a bedrock principle that the key terms of an offer to a consumer must be clear and conspicuous, not hidden in fine print," says FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez.
    • Along with a court order barring the conduct, the FTC seeks a monetary judgment that could provide refunds to DTV customers.
    | Wed, Mar. 11, 12:21 PM | 2 Comments
  • Mon, Mar. 2, 8:23 PM
    • Les Moonves said on CNBC last month that CBS was "very happy being alone," and the CEO doubled down on that talk at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom conference.
    • Moonves says his COO tells him that CBS will be a $100 stock in four years, so buyers or merger partners like Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) or Viacom (VIA, VIAB) would have to pay "a very high price." CBS shares gained 4.5% Monday to close at $61.75.
    • He also expressed little concern about smaller cable bundles or any lack of negotiating power by eschewing a merger, saying CBS will be in every bundle. "People can't live without CBS ... We like the hand we're playing."
    • The company faces new negotiations with DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) and Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) at the end of the year.
    • Previously: AMC Networks finally looking for a deal? (Feb. 25 2015)
    • Previously: Cumulus higher in late trade as CBS M&A chatter flies (Feb. 24 2015)
    | Mon, Mar. 2, 8:23 PM | 1 Comment
  • Fri, Feb. 27, 6:37 PM
    • Fresh off their vote for re-regulation of Internet transmissions, the five FCC commissioners will be spending mid-March on Capitol Hill answering to the GOP Congress.
    • The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding its hearing March 19, a day after the members are scheduled with the Senate Commerce Committee.
    • The chairmen of the two committees, Greg Walden and John Thune, are backing a bill that would reverse the FCC's Title II reclassification (treating Internet providers more like utilities) and substantively narrow its approach to ensuring net neutrality.
    • Following the 3-2 vote, major carriers indicated their strategy would be twofold: Lawsuits (CMCSA, T, VZ, CHTR worried about "years" of litigation); and legislative action to undo the move, with a cooperative congress apparently ready to act.
    • Other related stocks: CVC, TWC, CTL, FTR, ELNK, DISH, DTV, CCOI
    | Fri, Feb. 27, 6:37 PM | 66 Comments
  • Thu, Feb. 26, 1:39 PM
    • In the wake of the FCC's new regulations, key telecom and Internet stocks are tracking mostly where they were prior to the vote -- in part due to the fact that the vote's likely outcome was baked in, but also because details (including any late changes) are yet to be published.
    • The FCC majority must review and respond to the dissenters before publishing the result, which they will provide on the Web when it's ready.
    • Key stocks largely unchanged from the morning: Comcast (CMCSA -1.2%), Time Warner Cable (TWC -1.9%), Cablevision (CVC +1.3%), Charter (CHTR -1%), Centurylink (CTL +0.4%), Frontier (FTR +0.9%), Cogent (CCOI -1%).
    • AT&T (T +0.9%); Verizon (VZ +0.4%); Dish Network (DISH -0.6%); DirecTV (DTV +0.1%).
    • Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) -- whose traffic is such that the regulatory difference in its delivery costs may mean as much as $100M/year -- is up 1.6%. Interconnection fees may yet need some clarification.
    • For its part, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) uses its old-fashioned typewriter to put out a press release for "Feb. 26, 1934" warning that rules "written in the era of the steam locomotive and the telegraph" won't work today.
    • Speaking of Verizon: Next up will be lawsuits. Courts invalidated the FCC's last two attempts at net neutrality, most recently in January 2014.
    • Wheeler statement on vote
    • Previously: Report: AT&T, Verizon will sue FCC immediately after reclassification (Feb. 04 2015)
    | Thu, Feb. 26, 1:39 PM | 42 Comments
  • Thu, Feb. 26, 1:01 PM
    • The FCC approves tough net neutrality restrictions on the Internet -- reclassifying broadband services under Title II of the Telecommunications Act -- on a party-line vote of 3-2.
    • Republican commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly opposed the measure.
    • To open applause, Chairman Tom Wheeler said the action is an "irrefutable reflection of the principle that no one -- whether government or corporate -- should control free and open access to the Internet."
    • Pai thinks the result of reclassification will be even less competition, and calls the rules a "Kingsbury Commitment for the digital age ... If you loved Ma Bell in the 20th century, you will love Pa Broadband in the 21st."
    • Prior to the key net neutrality vote, the commission voted along the same party lines to pre-empt laws in North Carolina and Tennessee that put restrictions on municipal broadband initiatives.
    • Related stocks: CMCSA, CVC, TWC, CTL, CHTR, FTR, T, VZ, NFLX, ELNK, DISH, DTV, CCOI
    • Previously: FCC begins convening for historic net neutrality vote (Feb. 26 2015)
    | Thu, Feb. 26, 1:01 PM | 62 Comments
  • Thu, Feb. 26, 10:29 AM
    • The FCC is ready to begin a meeting at which it plans a historic vote on re-regulating Internet providers, though a bit of the drama has gone out of the vote as Congressional Republicans yesterday conceded approval is likely.
    • That's not to say some things aren't still in flux this morning: Democratic commissioner Mignon Clyburn is pressing Chairman Tom Wheeler for some more clarity on one part of the proposal, and Google lobbying on the "sender pays" issue has apparently moved Wheeler to last-minute revisions.
    • The vote is expected to end 3-2 in favor of Title II regulation, along party lines.
    • Republican commissioner Ajit Pai continues his full-court press against the rules and will hold his own response press conference after the meeting.
    • Meanwhile, Wheeler's proposal may not go far enough to achieve its goals, if key loopholes remain available to service providers.
    • The FCC will start meeting at 10:30 a.m. ET, and will first vote on whether to pre-empt laws in North Carolina and Tennessee restricting municipal broadband.
    • Related stocks: CMCSA, CVC, T, VZ, TWC, NFLX, CTL, CHTR, FTR, ELNK, DISH, DTV, CCOI
    | Thu, Feb. 26, 10:29 AM | 25 Comments
  • Thu, Feb. 26, 2:50 AM
    • The FCC is expected to approve Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposed "net neutrality" rules today, which will regulate broadband providers more heavily than in the past and restrict their power to control download speeds on the web.
    • The vote comes after a year of jostling between net neutrality advocates and cable and telecom companies, which are expected to launch a volley of lawsuits should the new rules be passed.
    • Related stocks: CMCSA, CVC, T, VZ, TWC, NFLX, CTL, CHTR, FTR, ELNK, DISH, DTV, CCOI
    | Thu, Feb. 26, 2:50 AM | 66 Comments
  • Tue, Feb. 24, 3:59 AM
    • Republicans are increasing pressure on the FCC to delay Thursday's net neutrality vote, saying the public needs time to see and review the plan.
    • The proposal has been subject to heated battle since Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed reclassifying broadband from a lightly regulated information service to a more strictly overseen telecommunications service.
    • Supporters of the approach say that without such rules, broadband companies could charge tolls to websites for their fastest speeds, while critics say the plan would give the agency the authority to regulate pricing.
    • Related stocks: CMCSA, CVC, T, VZ, TWC, NFLX, CTL, CHTR, FTR, ELNK, DISH, DTV, CCOI
    | Tue, Feb. 24, 3:59 AM | 32 Comments
  • Mon, Feb. 23, 3:53 PM
    • DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) is off 0.3% as Brean downgrades shares, noting that the arbitrage gap between DTV's price and AT&T's offer has "largely closed."
    • The analysts downgraded the satellite provider to Hold, from Buy.
    • Brean sees "continued momenmtum" in the U.S. and stabilizing results in Latin America, and think DTV will make AT&T stronger financially.
    | Mon, Feb. 23, 3:53 PM | 2 Comments
  • Fri, Feb. 20, 5:03 PM
    • Delays may be in store for two very high profile mergers -- Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) with Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), and AT&T (NYSE:T) with DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) -- as a federal court weighs a dispute over an FCC decision to provide deal opponents access to sensitive documents.
    • Content companies are arguing that letting merger opponents like Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) see hundreds of thousands of pages on their programming-negotiation pricing and strategies "would be highly damaging."
    • Content lawyer Robert Long says the FCC is "totally unprecedented" in providing the docs; the FCC responds that strong protections are in place and the details about buying power in programming are important in getting informed third-party input to consider approving the deals.
    • Judges reacted with skepticism toward the FCC's argument, but with no inkling of when they might rule, the timetable for the mergers may have to move later.
    • More coverage of Comcast-TWC merger
    • More on an AT&T/DirecTV deal
    | Fri, Feb. 20, 5:03 PM | 5 Comments
  • Thu, Feb. 19, 9:08 AM
    • DirecTV's (NASDAQ:DTV) Q4 featured revenues that grew 4% (to $8.92B), mainly due to strong ARPU in the U.S. unit. The revenues led full 2014 growth of 5% to a total of $26B in sales.
    • Operating profit before depreciation/amortization of $2B was down 2% and margin declined to 22.4%, on headwinds in Latin America.
    • U.S. ARPU of $117.30 was up solidly from $111.74. For the full year, U.S. ARPU was up 5.4%. U.S. net subscriber adds in Q4 of about 149K, on higher gross adds and a slight improvement in monthly churn. Subscribers at year-end of 20.35M.
    • Latin America ARPU of $46.48 declined from $51.47; for the full year, Latin America ARPU was down 6.3%. Regional net subscriber adds of 118K (down from 231K, as gross adds slipped to 980K and churn was up to 2.31% from 2.21%).
    • Free cash flow declined to $814M, chiefly due to a reduction in cash generated from working capital (customer receivables timing in U.S., vendor payment timing in Latin America). For the full year, free cash flow passed $3.1B; year-end cash balance of $4.6B.
    • Conference call at 2 p.m. ET.
    • Shares are up 0.5% premarket.
    • Press release
    | Thu, Feb. 19, 9:08 AM | Comment!
  • Thu, Feb. 19, 7:43 AM
    • DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV): Q4 EPS of $1.53 beats by $0.13.
    • Revenue of $8.92B (+3.8% Y/Y) beats by $10M.
    • Shares +2.44% PM.
    • Press Release
    | Thu, Feb. 19, 7:43 AM | Comment!
  • Wed, Feb. 18, 5:30 PM
Company Description
DirecTV is a provider of digital television entertainment in the United States and Latin America. It operates two direct-to-home, or DTH, business units: DIRECTV U.S. and DIRECTV Latin America.
Sector: Services
Industry: CATV Systems
Country: United States