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Jul. 17, 2015, 1:50 PM
- Warner Bros. (TWX -2%) is reportedly again competing to bid for DramaFever, an online video distributor of South Korean soap operas that SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY) paid $100M for in October.
- Warner was among the bidders that were part of the fall sale, and acquiring control of DramaFever could speed up its own over-the-top service plans. SoftBank plans to keep a significant minority stake in the service.
- The site -- which provides South Korea's soap operas with subtitles for a largely U.S. audience -- operates with a Hulu-like model, and like Hulu has recently been focusing on its subscription side.
- During SoftBank's ownership, traffic to the site has tumbled nearly by half, to May's 1.18M unique visitors, though that measure doesn't count streamers such as Rokus or Apple TVs, and only accounts for some mobile viewing.
Jun. 5, 2015, 8:50 PM
- With T-Mobile and Dish Network talking about a tie-up that many agree makes sense, what about Sprint (S -0.8%), the struggling provider who's set to drop to fourth place in customer base?
- T-Mobile and Dish could take advantage of Dish's large spectrum holdings to amp up the wireless network and add a growth engine to a satellite business in decline. AT&T is already pursuing its own satellite combination, with DirecTV. Verizon's moving into mobile video, but it will need more spectrum sooner or later.
- Sprint, for its part, has large spectrum holdings but has had trouble building it out and holding on to customers. And with a cash burn problem, "it's running out of good options," says industry analyst Craig Moffett.
- Sprint could try again to get T-Mobile for itself. That idea fell apart before on regulatory concerns, but will the climate have changed (or will it if the two wait until after the 2016 presidential election)?
- If T-Mobile goes to Dish or another acquirer -- while Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBY -0.2%) invested in Sprint mainly to tie it to T-Mobile -- "Sprint's in a world of hurt," says Moffett.
- All options might be on the table: Aside from going for T-Mobile, there's trying to elbow it aside to partner with Dish itself; joining up with a more merger-shy Comcast; or selling some of its spectrum haul for cash it may soon need.
- Previously: Sprint CEO: We'll have best or second-best network in two years (May. 27 2015)
- Previously: Sprint network: No need to buy spectrum in auction, CFO says (May. 19 2015)
- Previously: Sprint: Amid network investment, cash burn back in focus (May. 06 2015)
Oct. 30, 2014, 1:49 PM
- The WSJ reports SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF) has tasked new Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure with "gathering information" on the Mexican telecom assets America Movil (AMX +0.4%) plans to sell to appease regulators.
- AMX was reported last month to have contacted SoftBank (among other carriers) to gauge its interest in buying the assets. BofA has estimated a sale could fetch $15B, but a WSJ source says bidders are eying a ~$10B price.
- AT&T has suggested it's looking to make an offer. Three weeks ago, Carlos Slim told Bloomberg the asset sale could extend beyond Mexico's eastern coast.
Oct. 14, 2014, 6:25 PM
- Fresh off taking a $250M stake in studio Legendary Entertainment, SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF) has bought DramaFever, a site that offers free (ad-supported) and subscription-based access to foreign movies and TV shows, much of it from South Korea. The price is undisclosed for now.
- Re/code previously reported InterActiveCorp (NASDAQ:IACI) was thinking about buying DramaFever, and said it heard of price tags ranging from $80M-$140M.
- The Legendary and DramaFever deals follow SoftBank's hiring of Google sales chief Nikesh Arora to be the conglomerate's vice chairman and Internet/media chief.
Sep. 30, 2014, 6:57 AM
- A new report has surfaced from The Hollywood Reporter stating that Japan's SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY) is in talks to acquire a minority stake in privately held movie studio Legendary Pictures. The publication says the talks have been going on for weeks.
- The news comes following reports that SoftBank's discussions to buy Dreamworks Animation have cooled.
Sep. 29, 2014, 5:47 PM
- The WSJ says it "wasn't immediately clear" what led buyout talks between SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF) and Dreamworks (NASDAQ:DWA) to cool. The paper now reports the companies "could ultimately strike a deal other than an outright takeover ... for instance some kind of content partnership."
- DWA -7.4% AH to $26.10. Shares rose 26% in regular trading on reports of acquisition talks featuring a $32/share offer.
Sep. 2, 2014, 10:38 AM
- The Nikkei speculates SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF) could make an offer for Vodafone (VOD +0.5%), given a Sprint/T-Mobile deal is off the table for now. Vodafone has turned positive after starting the day in the red.
- Though Sprint/T-Mobile has been shelved, SoftBank just raised $3.9B in debt, a move viewed by many as a precursor to fresh M&A activity. Moreover, SoftBank will soon have a chance to monetize its 34.1% Alibaba stake (could be worth over $60B pre-tax following the IPO).
- Nonetheless, Vodafone ($91B market cap) would be a very big fish for SoftBank ($87B market cap) to digest. This isn't the first time speculation about a deal between the carriers has emerged.
- Previous: Questionable Vodafone/AT&T rumor emerges
- Update (1:05PM ET): Shares have given back their gains, and are now down 0.6%.
Aug. 5, 2014, 6:58 PM
- The WSJ reports Sprint (NYSE:S) is abandoning its bid to acquire T-Mobile USA (NYSE:TMUS) due to excessive regulatory hurdles.
- There were already many doubts about the ability of a Sprint/T-Mobile deal to pass muster with regulators.
- If Sprint is out of the picture, the coast is clear for Iliad (OTC:ILIAF) to pursue T-Mobile, provided financing isn't an issue. There were multiple reports earlier today indicating T-Mobile is rejecting Iliad's initial $33/share offer for a 56.6% stake.
- TMUS -5.6% AH
- Related tickers: OTCQX:DTEGY, OTCPK:SFTBF
Aug. 5, 2014, 3:59 PM
- The WSJ reports T-Mobile USA (TMUS +0.8%) has rejected Iliad's (OTC:ILIAF) request for access to its books, and won't change its mind in the absence of a better bid. The FT reports a formal rejection of Iliad's $33/share offer for a 56.6% stake in T-Mobile could arrive tomorrow.
- As it is, Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY) was reported to have liked Sprint's (S -1.4%) offer better. Sprint and parent SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF) are rumored to be offering ~$40/share, but their bid also carries much more regulatory risk.
- Reuters reports Iliad is talking with investors for help in sweetening its offer. Sources state the carrier has engaged pay-TV providers Dish , Cox, and Charter, as well as infrastructure, pension, and sovereign wealth funds.
- The news service adds DT is (not surprisingly) skeptical about Iliad's claim a merger between a French carrier and a U.S. carrier will yield $10B in synergies.
Aug. 1, 2014, 4:08 AM
Jul. 31, 2014, 3:58 PM
- Sources tell Bloomberg T-Mobile USA (TMUS +6.7%) parent Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY) views Iliad's (OTC:ILIAF) $33/share offer for a 56.6% stake in T-Mobile as less competitive than Sprint's (S -5.9%) bid, previously reported to be around $40/share.
- Though Iliad declares its bid values the T-Mobile shares it won't own at $40.50, that figure includes $10B worth of synergies the French carrier predicts a merger will yield. Sprint and SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF), of course, predict their offer would also yield major synergies.
- "Iliad is about a third of the size of T-Mobile US, and we don't think there would be synergies from the deal," says analyst Jonathan Chaplin. He adds a deal will be tough to finance without Iliad founder/majority shareholder Xavier Neil surrendering control.
- Nonetheless, T-Mobile has rallied to $33 on news of Iliad's bid, which is bound to face less FCC/DOJ scrutiny if accepted and successfully financed.
- The offer is overshadowing a solid Q2 report from T-Mobile. The carrier saw 1.5M net customer adds in Q2 (up from 1.3M in Q1), slightly more than Verizon's Q2 adds and well above AT&T and Sprint's. Branded postpaid net adds totaled 908K (579K phone adds), and branded prepaid net adds 102K. Service revenue rose 7.1% Y/Y.
Jul. 31, 2014, 1:02 PM
- France's Iliad (OTC:ILIAF) is offering $15B in cash for a 56.6% stake in T-Mobile USA (TMUS +7.3%) at a price of $33/share. Iliad values the remaining 43.4% at $40.50/share. Sprint (S -5.3%) has been reported to be planning a ~$40/share deal.
- Iliad says it has obtained financing from unnamed banks, and would also do a capital raise to help pay for the deal. One issue: Iliad has a current market cap of just $16B, less than T-Mobile's $24.8B and Sprint's $30.6B. Sprint has reportedly lined up a $40B+ debt package to finance a T-Mobile deal.
- A source tells the WSJ Iliad, which has upended the French mobile market with its aggressive pricing, views a T-Mobile merger as a "one-time opportunity to enter the world's-largest telecoms market."
- Iliad also thinks (perhaps with good reason, given FCC/DOJ remarks) regulators will be more comfortable with its bid than Sprint's, since Iliad has no U.S. presence.
- AT&T (T -2%) and Verizon (VZ -2.3%) have joined Sprint in selling off, as investors mull the possibility of a deal that would leave the number of nationwide U.S. carriers at 4. Concerns about Iliad's pricing history might also be weighing on shares.
- Related tickers: OTCPK:SFTBF, OTCQX:DTEGY
- Earlier: Iliad reportedly bids for T-Mobile USA
Jul. 23, 2014, 9:40 PM
- After talking with an unnamed "large Yahoo shareholder that is preparing a presentation" featuring a similar thesis, fund manager Eric Jackson thinks there's a good chance Alibaba (Pending:BABA) or SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF) will acquire Yahoo (YHOO +3.3%).
- His reasoning: Whereas the value of Yahoo's stakes in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan (OTCPK:YAHOF) are currently discounted for future tax payments, the pre-tax valuations are what matter to Alibaba and SoftBank. The former would be buying back a 22.5% pre-IPO stake in itself, and the latter would be adding to its respective 34.3% and 43% stakes in Alibaba and YJ.
- Jackson estimates Yahoo's assets are worth $56/share to either acquirer - he values the post-IPO Alibaba stake at $33, the YJ stake at $9, and Yahoo's core business at $5, and adds $9 for cash (inc. IPO share sales).
- He speculates Alibaba (were it the buyer) could trade the YJ stake to SoftBank for part of its Alibaba stake (adding to the scope of its buyback), and notes new SoftBank Internet/media chief Nikesh Arora reportedly wanted to buy Yahoo while at Google.
- One caveat: Acquiring Yahoo would give SoftBank a 56.8% stake in Alibaba before factoring IPO dilution. The Chinese government likely wouldn't be pleased with that. Jackson suggests SoftBank could trade part of its Alibaba stake post-acquisition for "something of similar value," but doesn't say what.
- Previous: Alibaba reportedly planning September IPO
Jul. 11, 2014, 1:32 PM
- The Nikkei reports SoftBank (SFTBF) is close to a deal for a Sprint (S +4.4%)/T-Mobile (TMUS +1.9%) merger. Shares of both companies have moved higher.
- Reuters reported 3 weeks ago Sprint and T-Mobile were looking to announce a deal around August, and that the former had lined up a $40B+ debt package. Prior reports mentioned a ~$40/share T-Mobile acquisition price and a $2B breakup fee.
- T-Mobile is still below $34, as doubts about regulatory support for a deal remain high.
- Prior Sprint/T-Mobile coverage
Jun. 19, 2014, 6:06 PM
- Sprint (S) has "lined up eight banks" to finance a T-Mobile (TMUS) acquisition, Reuters reports. The companies will reportedly "seek to finalize details of the financing in the coming month so they could announce a merger around August."
- The financing includes a $40B+ debt package featuring a ~$20B bridge loan from Sprint parent SoftBank (SFTBF), and a $20B refinancing of T-Mobile's present debt. Sprint currently has $26.6B in net debt, and T-Mobile roughly $9B.
- Bloomberg reported on June 4 Sprint and T-Mobile were near a deal valuing the latter at ~$40/share. CNBC reported last Friday the companies had agreed on a $2B breakup fee, and to have the post-merger company (should regulators allow it to exist) go under the T-Mobile name.
- S +0.5% AH. TMUS +0.9%.
Jun. 13, 2014, 10:28 AM
- CNBC's reported breakup fee figure is higher than the $1B+ previously reported by the WSJ, but still well below the $4B T-Mobile (TMUS +0.2%) was paid by AT&T.
- The TV network also reports Sprint (S +1.8%) and T-Mobile have agreed the post-merger company will be called T-Mobile. Though the carriers are roughly equal in size, T-Mobile has been performing much better as of late, and keeping its name would please parent Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY), which uses the T-Mobile brand in other markets.
- Past reports have noted brash T-Mobile CEO John Legere will likely be the head of the combined company.
- Sprint is trading higher. With skepticism about regulatory approval still running high, a reports about a relatively low breakup fee might be going over well with the Street.
- Previous: Sprint, T-Mobile reportedly near agreement on ~$40/share deal