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Wed, Jan. 6, 6:09 PM
- Gabelli & Co. has put out its "Best Ideas" analyst roll-up for 2016, and in the technology, media, telecom area, it's highlighting a set: CBS, TRCO, TMUS, LMCA and EMC.
- The company's analysts see T-Mobile (TMUS -0.4%) as an attractive acquisition candidate -- “essentially the only way for a domestic or foreign company to enter the U.S. wireless market in a meaningful way" -- and Sergey Dluzhevshiy names Dish Network (DISH -2.3%) or Charter (CHTR -0.5%) as possible suitors.
- Meanwhile, the analysts see "more things that can go right for Tribune Media (NYSE:TRCO) than wrong," and echo Les Moonves' frequent assertions that CBS is "uniquely positioned to compete in a more fragmented and competitive U.S. TV ecosystem.”
- And Gabelli reiterated its Buy rating on EMC (EMC -1%), which it calls the market leader in enterprise storage.
- After hours: DISH +0.4%; CHTR -0.2%; EMC flat.
Nov. 16, 2015, 7:46 AM
- The latest 13F from Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) shows a new 59.3M share stake in AT&T (NYSE:T), and the GM stake taken up to 50M shares from 41M. At least part, if not all of the T stake is the result of shares received in the DirecTV merger.
- Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX) is up to 61.5M shares from about 30M; Kraft Heinz (NASDAQ:KHC) 325.6M shares from zero; Suncor (NYSE:SU) 30M shares from 23.3M, John Malone (LMCK, LMCA) a total of about 24M shares from about 13M.
- Buffett trimmed his Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) position to 56.2M shares from 58.3M.
- AT&T +1.4% premarket
Nov. 12, 2015, 2:56 PM
- Sirius XM (SIRI -0.6%) says it's hoping to get a renewal from flagship radio host Howard Stern next month when his contract expires, but at least the company knows what it comes down to: money.
- Speaking from the investor day of majority owner Liberty Media (LMCA +1.8%), Sirius chief James Meyer said he's happy with the show's quality and the two sides disagree on just "one thing," the valuation of the new deal. Stern is estimated to get about $80M/year currently.
- Buybacks (currently about $2B worth a year) are the "best use of our capital," Meyer says. "We just haven't found anything that magically fits" in the space where acquisitions are clearly strategic or clearly accretive, he says.
- Earlier, Liberty Media said it would recapitalize into three tracking stocks, one of which will be Liberty Sirius Group to track its 60.7% holding in Sirius XM.
- Previously: Liberty Media to recapitalize into three tracking stock groups (Nov. 12 2015)
Nov. 12, 2015, 7:35 AM
- One will be designated as the Liberty Braves Group, one as the Liberty Media Group, and one as the Liberty Sirius Group.
- Owners of Liberty's Series A, Series B, and Series C common stock would receive shares of the corresponding series of the new stock groups.
- CEO Greg Maffei will discuss this and more at the company's investor meeting today beginning at 12:30 ET.
Nov. 9, 2015, 8:05 PM
- With the review of Charter Communications' (NASDAQ:CHTR) buyout of Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) proceeding apace at the FCC, the agency is sending requests tied to cable mogul John Malone's holdings not only in Charter but in content companies like Discovery (NASDAQ:DISCA) and Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA), which supply Charter rivals.
- The agency has sent letters to the companies that list Malone as their chairman -- Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA), Liberty Interactive (NASDAQ:QVCA) and Liberty Broadband (NASDAQ:LBRDA), which holds 26% of Charter -- and asked about Malone's influence over those entities as well as the content creators and DirecTV.
- It's a "pretty meaningful request," says BTIG's Rich Greenfield, while Craig Moffett points at the Comcast deal for NBCUniversal in saying that Malone's tangled ownership is "probably not a big issue."
- Malone has a 46.6% voting interest in Liberty Broadband, which would be entitled to vote no more than 25.01% of shares in the new combination, Charter has said. His interests in Discovery and Starz are "minority interests" where he wouldn't control day-to-day decisions.
- The American Cable Association (representing smaller providers) argues that Malone's interests aren't insubstantial and that consumers can expect higher rates unless the FCC imposes conditions on the deal.
- Previously: BTIG: Are TWC, Charter too strong separately to sell merger case? (Nov. 02 2015)
- Previously: Charter call: Talking wireless ambitions, slamming password sharing (Oct. 29 2015)
Nov. 4, 2015, 4:29 PM
- Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA): Q3 Net income of $167M
- Revenue of $1.28B (+8.5% Y/Y) in-line.
Nov. 4, 2015, 4:28 PM
- Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) is down 0.5% after hours as its Q3 earnings saw revenue of $1.28B that beat expectations, and adjusted OIBDA that rose $81M, to $473M.
- Once again, the results were dominated by those of Sirius XM -- Liberty holds an increased stake of 60.7% of Sirius XM, with a stake that is 90% of Liberty Media's market cap -- though total revenue featured $315M in other revenues aside from subscriber revenues of $969M.
- The hedging period on its forward purchase of Live Nation shares is complete; when settled, its stake in Live Nation (NYSE:LYV) increases to 34.4%.
- From the beginning of August to the end of October, the company bought back 1M shares of its LMCK class at an average price of $36.87, for a total cost of $38.3M.
- Total debt was up $0.3B due to Sirius XM revolving borrowings. The company has $1.3B left on its repurchase authorization.
- Conference call to come at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Oct. 21, 2015, 12:19 PM
- Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA), owner of shopping network QVC and online-invitation company Evite, has led a $3.3M funding round through one of its funds for Jifiti, an online gift-giving startup.
- Jifiti had partnered with Evite previously, bolting on a gift-giving option to online invitations.
- The company, which has 20 developers in Israel, hasn't disclosed revenue, though co-founder and CMO Shaul Weisband says it's growing. Retailers pay the company a fee per transaction without adding to a shopper's price.
Oct. 5, 2015, 8:29 PM
- Sirius XM (NASDAQ:SIRI) gained 1% today to close at $3.87, its highest point in three weeks.
- Buckingham Research is recommending getting exposure to the company, which it has Buy-rated -- but instead through Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) rather than a direct purchase.
- The vast majority of Liberty's market cap has been tied up in holding a majority stake in Sirius XM (59.4% as of July 24). And while Sirius is market priced, Buckingham says, Liberty Media's at a 17% discount to net asset value.
- Analyst James Ratcliffe has a $4.50 price target on Sirius XM; that implies 16%-plus upside from today's close. He has a $48 target on Liberty Media, which closed today up 1% to $37.55, implying 28% upside.
- Previously FBR had reiterated its Outperform rating on Sirius XM in looking at strong auto sales providing a good funnel. Buckingham agrees, expecting an above-guidance 1.95M net added subscribers for 2015.
Sep. 22, 2015, 6:46 PM
- Global satellite leader Intelsat (I -5.5%) is looking at selling key assets, the Financial Times reports, to pay off a pile of $14B in debt.
- The firm has reportedly hired bankers for the sale that have approached Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) and French rival Eutelsat (OTCPK:ETCMY) to find interest.
- Intelsat has an enterprise value of $15B vs. the $14B in debt. Among its key assets are its Americas media unit, which distributes programming like HBO series around the world, and its government/military unit.
Aug. 5, 2015, 8:22 AM
- Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA): Q2 Net Income of $103M.
- Revenue of $1.22B (+5.2% Y/Y) misses by $20M.
Aug. 4, 2015, 11:41 AM
- Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) is up 1.2% after Deutsche Bank upgraded it to Buy, pointing out catalysts in the long term and setting a price target of $46.
- That's up from DB's previous target of $43. Shares closed yesterday at $38.04 and are currently trading at $38.50, implying 19.5% upside from here in that target.
- Discount to NAV has widened to 17%, from a year-ago 9%, despite a more focused portfolio, Bryan Kraft notes: "We understand that absent a catalyst, investing capital into a narrowing discount story doesn't seem that compelling. However, we do see catalysts, although they appear to be 1-2 years away."
- "Eventually, we think accretion in Liberty's Sirius ownership from Sirius' repurchase program will drive an elimination of the discount over time."
- Meanwhile, Wunderlich raised its price target to $49. The firm maintains a Buy rating on Liberty Media.
Jul. 9, 2015, 5:29 PM
- There's been little news coming out of secretive Sun Valley -- where media moguls gather at the Allen & Co. conference for "summer camp" and sometimes rearrange billions of dollars with game-changing M&A -- but John Malone today dropped more hints about content consolidation.
- While media distribution companies have more obvious benefits from consolidation, Malone -- who has hands in Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA), Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA), Liberty Interactive (NASDAQ:QVCA), Charter (NASDAQ:CHTR) and Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) -- said economies can apply to content too.
- "It's all about global scale," he told CNBC. "If you want to be a meaningful player in most of any of these media communication businesses, you have to think about it."
- And while speculation boils about a tie-up between Malone's Starz (STRZA) and Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) after the two swapped stock, Malone focused on the educational side: "I'm an engineer; what the hell do I know about content? Trying to understand where these ideas come from, how they get created and produced. The development of stories is really going to be important in this random-access world that Reed Hastings (NASDAQ:NFLX) is driving us into."
- Malone said Netflix changed the game, and that his companies "missed the boat a little bit" on over-the-top offerings.
- Today: NFLX +2.4%; LGF +0.9%; QVCA +0.3%; CHTR +0.2%.
Jun. 2, 2015, 6:46 PM
- Mogul John Malone floated an interesting idea today: Forget Sprint and T-Mobile -- the wireless industry could get its third major alternative to Verizon and AT&T (NYSE:T) with the merger of Charter Communications (CHTR -1.6%) and Time Warner Cable (TWC -0.9%).
- Malone was speaking at his various Liberty companies' annual meetings and noted that in 2012, the cable consortium SpectrumCo got an option to participate in a wireless MVNO service with Verizon (NYSE:VZ) after the wireless firm bought $3.9B in frequencies.
- Charter wasn't in SpectrumCo then, but merger partners TWC and Bright House are. “The concept that Comcast, a greatly enlarged Charter and Cox could together offer a WiFi-optimized connectivity service with a default to a Verizon MVNO is an interesting concept," Malone said.
- He thinks "there's very little dirty underwear" left to be found in a regulatory review of Charter-TWC after the past year's scrutiny.
- Also of interest regarding Charter capex and the dividend: “Everybody's going to say, ‘Oh he’s spending too much capital,’ but I think the end result with be worth it ... To a large degree we’re betting on Tom Rutledge and his team to wake up a sleepy cable company that was treading water in all honesty for a while and trying to satisfy shareholder pressures with buybacks and dividends as opposed to putting the money into having a competitive service offering.”
- Malone company shares today: LMCA -0.1%; LMCB flat; LMCK flat; LTRPA -0.9%; LTRPB +2.2%; QVCA +0.8%; LBRDA +0.1%; OTCQB:LBRDB flat; LBRDK -0.1%.
May 18, 2015, 4:31 AM
- Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) CEO David Zaslav received total compensation of $156M in 2014, making him the highest-paid boss of a U.S.-listed company, excluding the top private-equity firms, an NYT-commissioned survey finds.
- Next on the list is Liberty Global's (NASDAQ:LBTYA) Michael Fries with $112M, while Gregory Maffei earned $74M for heading Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) and Liberty Interactive (NASDAQ:LVNTA). With Charter Communications' (NASDAQ:CHTR) Thomas Rutledge raking in $16M, four CEOs of companies controlled by or heavily associated with media mogul John Malone took home over $350M.
- Still, the Malone boys have nothing on Kenneth Griffin, the founder and CEO of P-E firm Citadel, who earned a mere $1.3B.
May 8, 2015, 4:34 PM
- On a Q1 earnings call today, Liberty Media's (NASDAQ:LMCA) CEO Greg Maffei said any deal that Charter Communications (CHTR; partly owned by Liberty) would make for Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) would be "friendly," in contrast to Charter's early-2014 hostile attempt -- and that many partners are ready to step in if Charter needs more capital.
- "There's a wide range of things we could do there, starting with obviously the $700M of cash on the balance sheet," he said, before mentioning raising equity capital through rights offerings or the partners who would like to invest in such a deal.
- Asked about the dispute over management in the previous bid, Maffei said: "I believe any transaction that goes forward ... would be a friendly transaction, looking for the best of breed in both management teams, and trying to drive an improved experience both for consumers and shareholders."
- Whatever happens, Maffei says Liberty wants to keep its 25% ownership of Charter.
- More at the WSJ
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