Mon, Nov. 9, 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)
Wed, Nov. 4, 11:16 AM
- Cable TV networks are sinking in reaction to sharply lowered guidance from Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), which is using its conference call to lower expectations for ratings and subscribers in 2016.
- Disney (NYSE:DIS) was positive earlier but has tumbled 2.6%; Twenty-First Century Fox is off (FOX -4.6%, FOXA -4.9%); Viacom has sunk (VIA -5.2%, VIAB -6.2%); Discovery Communications as well (DISCA -4.3%).
- AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX) is off 3.5% and Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) down 2.1%.
- Time Warner is now -10% in reaction to its conference call, still ongoing.
- Previously: Time Warner dives 7.9%, cutting 2016 outlook on call (Nov. 04 2015)
- Previously: Time Warner -0.7% early after Q3 beats on strength at HBO, Warner Bros. (Nov. 04 2015)
Fri, Oct. 30, 12:27 PM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) is off 10% following its Q3 earnings miss yesterday as analysts come in with downgrades and price target cuts.
- Credit Agricole and CLSA lowered ratings by a few notches, setting shares to Underperform from a previous Buy rating.
- Meanwhile, FBR lowered its price target to $40, from $44, and Pivotal reduced its target to $35, from $37. Shares are currently trading at $33.50.
- FBR holds an Outperform rating while Pivotal rates the stock a Hold.
- In an unusual step, Starz commented on the suit filed by former senior VP Keno Thomas (against the company, along with CEO Chris Albrecht, CRO Michael Thornton and Liberty Media) over discrimination claims tied to his firing that also includes allegations that the network wanted him to falsify revenue and subscriber numbers for the company's board.
- “Normally, we would not comment on pending litigation, and, in this instance the company has not even been served,” says a spokesperson. “However, based on reading the complaint in the press, rest assured that Starz, as well as the other defendants cited, will defend themselves vigorously against these scurrilous, unsubstantiated and offensive attacks by a disgruntled former employee.”
- Previously: Starz misses as distribution declines offset network gains (Oct. 29 2015)
Thu, Oct. 29, 4:58 PM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) is flat in after-hours trading following a third quarter report where it missed slightly on top and bottom lines, though revenues increased at Starz Networks as subscribers increased.
- Overall revenue declined 1% to $404.1M; Starz Networks revenue rose to $329.3M. Its Distribution business revenue fell 11% to $65.6M. Consolidated adjusted OIBDA was up 4% to $114.7M ($120.2M expected).
- The Network business saw an increase in programming costs for original series while advertising and marketing costs fell. In distribution, revenues slipped on lower revenue from AMC's The Walking Dead that wasn't offset by significant new Starz series. OIBDA rose to $0.9M, though, based on distributing films for The Weinstein Co.
- Conference call to come at 5 p.m. ET.
- Press release
Thu, Oct. 29, 4:54 PM
Wed, Oct. 28, 2:33 PM
- It's not even Halloween yet, but Starz (STRZA +2.3%) has given an early renewal to its original series Ash vs. Evil Dead.
- The show, set to premiere on Saturday, is a follow-up to the Sam Raimi Evil Dead film series (1981-1992).
- Starz has ordered a second season of 10 episodes that will return principals, including Bruce Campbell as chainsaw-handed Ash and Lucy Lawless.
- Licensing deals are bringing Ash vs. Evil Dead to more than 100 countries/territories for a simultaneous premiere Halloween night.
Thu, Oct. 22, 3:27 PM
- Starz (STRZA +0.8%) has launched its Starz Play service for "select" Android TV-powered devices.
- The move brings the "TV Everywhere" offering to devices including Google's Nexus Player, Nvidia's Shield and Sony's Android-powered TVs.
- It comes in time for the network's upcoming Halloween premiere of Ash vs. Evil Dead.
- Starz Play was already available on Roku devices, Amazon Fire TV devices, Xbox, Chromecast, and a number of iOS/Android phones and tablets as well as PCs and Macs.
Tue, Oct. 20, 8:04 PM
- After a lot of talk about the evolution of TV upfronts, a swath of hyped premieres and political debates and the return of football, TV ad spending for Q3 was flat Y/Y.
- Cable spending rose 1% for the quarter, but broadcast ads fell 3%, according to Standard Media Index. Local-focused spot spending was up 2%.
- Syndication spending fell 6%; local cable, MSO and satellite TV slipped 1%.
- There were few positive signs, but the scatter market rose 6% for the quarter, and Scripps Networks (NYSE:SNI) and AMC (NASDAQ:AMCX) showed ad spending growth, as did broadcasters Telemundo and ABC (NYSE:DIS).
- Local broadcast stocks: SBGI, MEG, SNI, GTN, MDP, TGNA, NXST
- Other network stocks: AMCX, DIS, CMCSA, CBS, FOX, FOXA, VIA, VIAB, STRZA, DISCA
Tue, Oct. 13, 11:56 AM
- Starz (STRZA +0.7%) has entered into a deal with C More Entertainment for exclusive pay TV and subscription video on demand rights in Scandinavia.
- The pact -- between C More, Starz Digital and Starz Worldwide Distribution -- means that the company can provide subscribers in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland with Starz's new original series (including Ash vs. Evil Dead, Flesh and Bone, The Girlfriend Experience) shortly after the U.S. airing, and library content including Power, Black Sails and Survivor's Remorse, the LeBron James-produced basketball series.
- The deal also includes premiere rights for the first Starz Original movie, The Dresser.
Mon, Oct. 5, 5:31 PM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) and Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF) are in advanced talks about a merger, the Los Angeles Times is reporting -- a move that's been much discussed as investors divined John Malone's intentions.
- Starz is up 1.6% after hours; LGF is up 7.5% in late trading.
- According to the sources, Lions Gate management would run a combined company but find a key role for Starz CEO Chris Albrecht.
- Earlier this year, Malone hinted at a bigger tie-up after taking a minority stake in Lions Gate via a stock swap
- An outright deal isn't the only possible outcome, the Times said; a variety of closer partnerships are part of the discussions as well.
- Previously: Report: Lions Gate was close to Starz buyout (Apr. 29 2015)
- Previously: Maffei: More might come from Malone-Lions Gate relationship (Mar. 09 2015)
- Previously: Starz, Lions Gate deal may presage closer relationship (Feb. 11 2015)
Tue, Sep. 29, 5:28 PM
- In musical TV news, Starz (STRZA -1.9%) has expanded its partnership with rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, executive producer of its biggest original hit, Power.
- A new two-year exclusive deal means that Jackson's G Unit Film & Television will produce new projects for the network along with keeping Jackson on to star in and produce Power.
- In other rap collaborations, ABC Family (DIS +1%) gives the go-ahead to a new series from Nicki Minaj, who like Jackson will executive produce and star in her show. It'll be based on immigration with her family from Trinidad.
Wed, Sep. 16, 10:20 AM
- With traditional pay TV subscribers on the wane, a potential purchase of Starz (STRZA +5.6%) is not the best way to spend AMC Networks' (AMCX -1.1%) "M&A powder," says Stifel Nicolaus' Benjamin Mogil.
- Adding Starz won't change AMC's affiliate positioning, he writes, though for Starz (up solidly today), the combination makes more sense as a way to accelerate a possible discussion with Lions Gate (LGF +0.9%).
- He rates AMC Networks as a Buy and Starz at Hold.
- A deal here could speed up additional consolidation in the space, writes Macquarie's Amy Yong, who holds a Neutral rating on AMCX and Outperform on STRZA.
Tue, Sep. 15, 5:42 PM
Tue, Sep. 15, 5:39 PM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) is up 7% in after-hours trading on news that it's in talks to be acquired by AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX), itself up 2.5% after hours.
- Bloomberg reported the preliminary talks, which come after a few abortive attempts by suitors to acquire Starz in the past year. “They probably ultimately need to combine with others at least from a bundler point of view, if not from an ownership point of view,” John Malone -- Starz's top individual investor -- said last week.
- An AMC deal would require the sign-off of the Dolan family, who control voting power after AMC was spun off from Cablevision four years ago.
- Starz has a market cap of $3.9B and an enterprise value that's grown to more than $5B from $4B last year, during a period when it was often linked to Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF). Shares in Starz are up 26.1% over the past 12 months.
Thu, Sep. 3, 2:17 PM
- Starz (STRZA +1.1%) expands a multi-year deal with Super Channel, the only national English pay TV network in Canada.
- The move means that original programming Starz has been ramping up will be provided to Super Channel, including Ash Vs. Evil Dead and Flesh and Bone, along with forthcoming series The Girlfriend Experience and Starz's first original movie, The Dresser.
- The output deal also includes an annual collection of movies sent via Starz Worldwide Distribution.
Tue, Sep. 1, 5:41 PM
- Starz (STRZA -1.8%) has added its Starz Play service to Roku's streaming platform.
- The service is Starz's TV Everywhere offering for authenticated subscribers. It's offering Roku owners a growing slate of original programming, along with early-window films from Disney, Sony, and others.
- The move adds to Starz Play's reach; it's also available on Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Xbox One/Xbox 360, and Chromecast, as well as iOS/Android devices.
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