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)
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 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
Mar. 11, 2015, 10:56 PM
- "Using Live Nation (NYSE:LYV) to differentiate Sirius (NASDAQ:SIRI) and using Sirius to promote Live Nation is very logical," says Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) CEO Greg Maffei of the two entertainment companies in which his firm is a major shareholder: 57% of SIRI, 27% of LYV. "But I remain somewhat disappointed that more things haven't happened there." Maffei was speaking to the Deutsche Bank conference.
- Macquarie's Amy Yong agrees: It's not that the satellite radio and concert promotion companies need a merger (which would be complicated by the ownership), but: "If both worked more closely, they can help each other cross promote or market their products/services," she says.
- There may be opportunities for Sirius to broadcast LYV concerts, and for LYV to promote Sirius among its heavy people traffic, but as for tie-ups: "We are the consolidators," says Live Nation's chief Michael Rapino, preferring to focus on his acquisitions. "Geographically, if there was a ticketing company in the right market that we thought could accel our operation versus building, we'd look."
Mar. 9, 2015, 8:04 PM
- Don't be surprised if there's more to John Malone's tie-up with Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF), says Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) CEO Greg Maffei -- but don't count on it either.
- Speaking to Deutsche Bank's Media, Internet & Telecom conference, Maffei hinted that Liberty Chairman Malone joining the Lions Gate board as part of a Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) stock swap would help both parties get to know each other.
- “You need to have partnerships, you need to do more,” Maffei said. “Whether that ultimately leads to acquisitions ... you need to be able to do more with bigger people.”
- Maffei says HBO's rollout of its streaming service bodes well for Starz, demonstrating how to distribute product in more ways, though "I think we can do it in a way that is in conjunction with our cable, telco, and satellite partners. which is attractive."
- Previously: Starz, Lions Gate deal may presage closer relationship (Feb. 11 2015)
- Previously: Lions Gate adds Liberty's Malone to board in Starz stock-swap deal (Feb. 11 2015)
Feb. 19, 2014, 4:22 AM
- John Malone has given the rights of first refusal to the CEOs of Discovery Communications (DISCA) and Liberty Global (LBTYA) to buy his holdings in their respective companies.
- Discovery chief David Zaslav will be able to purchase Malone's 29% voting stake in the TV broadcaster; at Liberty, Michael Fries will be able to acquire Malone's 27% voting interest.
- However, Malone has no intention of reducing his involvement in the businesses just yet, nor has he laid out any similar plans for his holding in Liberty Media (LMCA). Rather, the rights given to Zaslav and Fries represent planning for the future.
Jan. 26, 2014, 1:39 AM
- Comcast (CMCSA) reportedly prefers joining up up with Charter Communications (CHTR) to bid for Time Warner Cable rather (TWC) than making an offer on its own.
- Comcast thinks TWC's asking price of $160 a share is too high, while the latter isn't interested in selling itself in a piecemeal fashion.
- Charter is willing to let Comcast have TWC's New York-area cable systems in exchange for Comcast backing Charter's bid. The New York network would fit in nicely with Comcast's operations in Connecticut and New Jersey.
Nov. 25, 2013, 1:59 AM
- Comcast (CMCSA) and Charter (CHTR) have reportedly discussed breaking up Time Warner Cable (TWC) in any joint bid for the company in order to overcome antitrust objections to a deal.
- The transaction would resemble Comcast's and Time Warner's acquisition of Adelphia Communications in 2006, when Comcast gained 1.7M customers and Time Warner 3.3M.
- A break-up of Time Warner would also make it easier for Charter to gain financing, given that it's much smaller than Time Warner.
- Meanwhile, the NYT carries a profile of John Malone, whose Liberty Media (LMCA) owns 27% of Charter. The article reports that Time Warner Cable has contacted Comcast about a possible transaction, leading to early talks.
Liberty Media Corp. engages in the media, communications and entertainment industries. The company operates through its subsidiaries provides equipment and technology that deliver location-based services to wireless users. Liberty Media was founded on January 11, 2013 and is headquartered in... More
Industry: Broadcasting - TV
Country: United States