Dec. 31, 2014, 8:42 AM
- Streaming: Sony (NYSE:SNE), HBO (NYSE:TWX), CBS (NYSE:CBS), and Dish Networks (NASDAQ:DISH) are set to unveil streaming products in 2015. The theory of the companies that the skinny bundles will draw in more cord-cutters and cord-nevers than they will cannibalize current pay-TV subscribers will be put to the test. The rush of streaming options could help or hurt Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) depending upon which analysis an investor leans on.
- Theater traffic rebound: Exhibitors (CNK, RGC, AMC, CKEC, IMAX) and movie studios (LGF, VIA, VIAB, DIS, FOXA, CMCSA, TWX) maintain that the decline in theater attendance in 2014 (-6%) was due to a slate of films light on blockbusters. A bounce is forecast for 2015 with high-profile films such as Avengers: The Age of Ultron, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Fifty Shades of Grey, Jurassic World, Spectre (James Bond), and Mission Impossible 5 all set to premiere - along with the reboot of the Star Wars franchise in December. Capex spending on theater upgrades could also help boost in-theater spending and average ticket price for exhibitors.
- Mergers: If regulators allow the Comcast-Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) and AT&T-DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) mergers to sail through it could clear a path for other media combinations, note analysts. Potential buyers include Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), Wanda Group, Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBY), and a TWX-rebuffed 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA). Content producers which could be targets include Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA), Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF), DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA), AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX), and Scripps Networks (NYSE:SNI). A split-up Madison Square Garden (NASDAQ:MSG) could also be enticing.
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. 28, 2014, 5:06 AM
- SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY) is in talks to buy DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA) in a deal that would value the company at $3.4B, states The Hollywood Reporter.
- Under the proposed deal, DWA founder and CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg would sign a five-year contract to remain with the company.
- SoftBank is said to have offered $32 per share for DreamWorks, a substantial premium to the stock's Friday closing price of $22.36.
Sep. 1, 2014, 1:56 AM
- America Movil (NYSE:AMX) has hired Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) to sell a significant amount of its wireline/mobile assets, in order to lower its market share by less than 50%.
- Potential buyers include AT&T (NYSE:T) and SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY), a source tells Bloomberg.
- The move is in response to new Mexican regulation designed to curb the company's dominance. America Movil announced the sale in July.
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.
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. 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
Jun. 4, 2014, 5:56 PM
- Bloomberg reports Sprint (S) and T-Mobile USA (TMUS) are near an agreement for a deal that would value T-Mobile at ~$40/share. The WSJ is also reporting a ~$40/share price.
- S +3.7% AH. TMUS +3.2% to $36.02 - a price that points to ongoing regulatory worries.
- Sprint's offer will reportedly feature a 50-50 cash/stock split, and leave Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY), which currently owns 67% of T-Mobile, with a 15% stake in the combined company. Bloomberg's sources state an announcement could happen by July.
- In addition, the carriers are reportedly close to agreeing on a breakup fee - Sprint and parent SoftBank (SFTBF) have reportedly been pushing for a smaller breakup fee for a deal that's bound to face tough DOJ/FCC scrutiny; T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom have wanted a bigger one.
- More on Sprint/T-Mobile
May. 19, 2014, 11:59 AM
- Yahoo Japan (YAHOF) has abandoned its plan to acquire Japanese mobile/broadband services firm eAccess from SoftBank (SFTBF) for $3.2B (previous). Instead, the company will launch a low-cost mobile broadband service using eAccess' network.
- The eAccess deal was part of an effort by SoftBank, which owns 42.6% of Yahoo Japan, to restructure its assets and raise funds for M&A (including a possible Sprint/T-Mobile merger). But the company is already raising ¥300B in debt, and stands to reap a post-IPO windfall from its 34.4% stake in Alibaba.
- Yahoo (YHOO +0.6%) owns 35% of Yahoo Japan, whose shares fell 2.8% in Tokyo overnight. At current levels, Yahoo's stake is worth $8.1B. Yahoo Japan's sales fell 14% Y/Y in Q4 to $1.03B, and its net income 11% to $304M.
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