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  • Dec. 2, 2015, 9:42 PM
    • While speculation about buyers for Yahoo's (NASDAQ:YHOO) core Internet business is focused on private equity, Yahoo's evolution as a media company means a number of media/telecom firms are in play for all or part of the business.
    • A sale of the core business might not happen -- it's not the main purpose of Yahoo's meeting -- but on the other hand, a transaction would certainly value it at more than where it is locked up in Yahoo, which may be less than zero because of the investments in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan.
    • Estimates vary widely on the Internet business' value, from just under $2B to as much as near $4B. Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) could have room for that after it failed to acquire Time Warner Cable; it's been spreading out investments in a number of media and Internet companies this year, and it could lump in Yahoo's properties with its own Xfinity online video.
    • Like Verizon (NYSE:VZ), another potential Yahoo Internet suitor, Comcast has also been shoring up its ad-tech bona fides with some 2015 acquisitions. Verizon could use Yahoo's data to present a better competitive face to Google and Facebook, though it would have redundancies to deal with.
    • Other companies like News Corp. (NWS, NWSA) or Time Inc. (NYSE:TIME) may be more interested in some pieces of Yahoo's business rather than the whole. SunTrust analyst Robert Peck even considers AT&T (NYSE:T) and Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) prospective buyers; Disney for tapping the data to market theme parts and movies, and AT&T trying to match up better against the Verizon/AOL combo.
    • Previously: FT: P-E firms show interest in Yahoo's core business (updated) (Dec. 02 2015)
    | Dec. 2, 2015, 9:42 PM | 15 Comments
  • Nov. 23, 2015, 8:34 PM
    • Data center operators probably aren't in a buying mood for facilities that might be for sale -- particularly CenturyLink's, Macquarie suggests in a new report -- but private-equity firms could come in with bids.
    • CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL), the nation's third-largest local phone company, plans to sell 59 centers worldwide, and while Macquarie had thought Digital Realty Trust (NYSE:DLR) would get involved, analyst Kevin Smithen has changed his view after attending an industry trade show.
    • He now doubts that a buyer will come from among Digital Realty, DuPont Fabros (NYSE:DFT), Equinix (NASDAQ:EQIX), CyrusOne (NASDAQ:CONE), CoreSite or QTS Realty, with a limited "pool of logical and capable buyers" for assets from CenturyLink, or from Verizon (NYSE:VZ) or AT&T (NYSE:T). But near term, "private equity seems like the most likely acquirer of assets this size."
    • While CenturyLink assets are for sale, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo tried to shut down "speculative" reports that the company would pursue $10B in asset sales.
    | Nov. 23, 2015, 8:34 PM | 3 Comments
  • Oct. 21, 2015, 4:18 PM
    • Comcast (CMCSA -0.7%) is inching toward introducing its own wireless service, triggering part of a 2012 airwaves deal that lets it resell Verizon's (NYSE:VZ) service, Bloomberg reports.
    • Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said during the company's earnings call yesterday that unnamed cable companies had said they'd execute their right to resell Verizon airwaves as part of the deal where Verizon bought spectrum from a cable consortium.
    • Bloomberg says that Comcast plans a hybrid cellular/Wi-Fi service, not unlike Google's Project Fi and which would draw on Comcast's network of Wi-Fi hotspots that may be 10M strong.
    • With notification of Verizon, Comcast could start a market trial within six months and offer it commercially by this time next year.
    • Good for T-Mobile (TMUS -1.2%) either way? The carrier comes up in rumors about a Comcast merger -- though Comcast denied them earlier this year -- but in any cast, a Comcast entry would press the big two of AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon more. “This will be bad for the carriers, with the possible exception of T-Mobile, and good for cable,” says New Street Research's Jonathan Chaplin.
    • And T-Mobile chief John Legere has been not-too-subtly dropping lines about a merger with his company: "You really believe that the Comcast future in wireless is to be an MVNO with Verizon? I mean, give me a break."
    • Previously: Legere: T-Mobile will bid in auction; Verizon video a 'debacle' (Sep. 18 2015)
    • Previously: Comcast source denies interest in T-Mobile purchase (Jun. 17 2015)
    | Oct. 21, 2015, 4:18 PM | 9 Comments
  • Oct. 14, 2015, 8:05 PM
    | Oct. 14, 2015, 8:05 PM
  • Sep. 22, 2015, 7:24 PM
    • With most observers thinking any theoretical merger between T-Mobile (TMUS -1.1%) and Sprint (S +0.3%) would have to wait until a new U.S. administration (and John Legere saying "Oh yeah ... the only possible coming together of Sprint and T-Mobile is if we pick them up off the sidewalk"), analysts at Evercore say the two could combine network assets.
    • It would be a sort of a merger, into a new company (a REIT in particular) that would hold their network resources. Bigger investments at lower cost would come, along with a speedier network once spectrum assets were blended.
    • Given up, of course, would be the chance to differentiate, and snipe the rival over network power.
    • Combined, the two control 255 MHz of spectrum, more than the 147 MHz at AT&T (T -0.9%) or the 116 MHz of Verizon (VZ -0.9%). A new "NetCo" would rent the network back to the two, as well as possibly others, and support MVNO customers.
    • As a final entry in the "pro" column, the analysts note a combined network would make any future merger more headache-free.
    | Sep. 22, 2015, 7:24 PM | 21 Comments
  • Sep. 21, 2015, 3:36 PM
    • Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBGI +0.6%), the nation's biggest local broadcaster, has held talks to acquire the Tennis Channel, The Wall Street Journal reports.
    • Sinclair has engaged in multiple rounds of talks with the various private-equity owners of the network, which include Apollo Global Management and Bain Capital Ventures. DirecTV (NYSE:T) and Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) also have small stakes.
    • The ownership is seeking a healthy premium, asking $500M or more for the Tennis Channel.
    • It would be a bid for more content by Sinclair, which is dependent on the big four broadcasters for much of what it puts on TV.
    | Sep. 21, 2015, 3:36 PM | 2 Comments
  • Jul. 24, 2015, 4:00 PM
    • With official FCC approval in hand, AT&T (T +1.1%) has closed its deal for DirecTV (DTV +1.3%), making it the country's largest pay TV provider with more than 26M total subscribers.
    • Comcast has nearly 23M subscribers in the U.S. AT&T also now boasts more than 19M TV customers in Latin America.
    • DirecTV shareholders received 1.892 shares of AT&T common stock and $28.50 in cash per DirecTV share owned.
    • Current DirecTV customers won't see any difference, AT&T says, as integration happens over the coming months. It plans to roll out new promotions for bundled services in the coming weeks.
    • The company's named John Stankey its CEO of AT&T Entertainment & Internet Services, leading the combined Home Solutions operations, as DirecTV Chairman and CEO Mike White will retire.
    • FCC-mandated conditions include offering fiber-to-the-premises to 12.5M locations within four years; offering gigabit service to any school or library in the all-fiber footprint; offering low-income discounts in the wireline footprint; no favorable treatment for video under data caps; submitting interconnection deals to the FCC.
    • AT&T now expects by year's end its revenue streams will be (from highest to lowest): Business Solutions (both wireless and wireline); Entertainment & Internet; Consumer Mobility; and International Mobility and Video.
    | Jul. 24, 2015, 4:00 PM | 33 Comments
  • Jul. 24, 2015, 2:34 PM
    | Jul. 24, 2015, 2:34 PM | 10 Comments
  • Jul. 23, 2015, 9:13 PM
    | Jul. 23, 2015, 9:13 PM | 18 Comments
  • Jul. 21, 2015, 6:50 PM
    • FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler confirms that an order has been circulated to agency commissioners recommending approval of AT&T's $49B purchase of DirecTV, with conditions.
    • If approved by the FCC, "2.5 million customer locations will have access to a competitive high-speed fiber connection," Wheeler writes. "This additional build-out is about 10 times the size of AT&T’s current fiber-to-the-premise deployment, increases the entire nation’s residential fiber build by more than 40 percent, and more than triples the number of metropolitan areas AT&T has announced plans to serve."
    • Two other key points: AT&T won't be able to exclude its affiliate video services from broadband data caps (which would give its own products a toll-free leg up), and will have to submit all completed interconnection agreements to the FCC, along with network performance reports.
    • Updated 7:05 p.m.: "We are pleased the Department of Justice has completed its review of our acquisition of DirecTV," says AT&T in its statement. "We look forward to gaining the approval of the Federal Communications Commission so we can quickly begin providing consumers with the benefits of this combination."
    • After hours: DTV +1.1%; T +0.1%.
    • Previously: WSJ: FCC ready to OK $49B AT&T/DirecTV deal (Jul. 21 2015)
    | Jul. 21, 2015, 6:50 PM | 17 Comments
  • Jul. 21, 2015, 4:53 PM
    • The FCC is ready to approve AT&T's (NYSE:T) $49B deal for DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV), The Wall Street Journal is reporting.
    • Agency Chairman Tom Wheeler is about to circulate the order for approval to the other commissioners, sources told the WSJ.
    • Approval would bring an end to a year-plus long process and set up the biggest media acquisition of the past year. The FCC's OK is the last hurdle, as the Justice Department has already cleared the deal.
    • Still unknown is what conditions AT&T may have agreed to; various sources have AT&T agreeing to various net neutrality rules regardless of pending litigation over the regulations.
    • In after-hours trade, AT&T is currently -0.3%; DTV +0.3%.
    | Jul. 21, 2015, 4:53 PM | 19 Comments
  • Jul. 7, 2015, 8:20 PM
    • As a sweetener for approval of its takeover of DirecTV (DTV +0.3%), AT&T (T +0.5%) has agreed to offer a low-priced Internet option for four years to food stamp recipients -- an alternative that the FCC showed a desire for in a letter to the company last week.
    • Users would get up to 5 Mbps for $10/month for the first year, or in slower-speed areas, 1.5 Mbps for $5/month. The costs would go up to $20 and $10 respectively after the year is up. But the customers must not only be on food stamps -- they cannot be current or recent AT&T wireline broadband customers, or be in collection action with AT&T.
    • The telco is eagerly awaiting the result of a regulatory review that has been going on for months.
    • Previously: AT&T gains as analysts get bullish on DirecTV strategy (Jul. 02 2015)
    • Previously: AT&T-DirecTV merger approval expected next week (Jul. 01 2015)
    | Jul. 7, 2015, 8:20 PM | 18 Comments
  • Jul. 2, 2015, 12:54 PM
    • AT&T (NYSE:T) is up 0.6% following Cowen and Company's upgrade to Outperform, pointing to the firm's "non-consensus view" that the DirecTV (DTV +0.2%) purchase will be as important strategically as it is financially.
    • Colby Synesael raised Cowen's price target for AT&T to $40 from $35. Shares are trading at $35.77.
    • Cost synergies of $2.5B are reflected in Cowen's DTV model, Synesael says: Some $1B will come from content costs, but the other $1.5B are from more traditional areas and should occur more quickly.
    • Meanwhile, the key advantage is strategic in how AT&T might pursue a "truly TV Everywhere experience" that would rely on "bundling its in-home video solution (U-Verse or DTV) with its mobile platform and leveraging the lower content costs that its combined scale affords. As part of this effort we expect AT&T to push hard to convert subs of DTV to AT&T Wireless (and vice versa) which we’d argue could become a meaningful source of revenue synergies."
    • Buckingham Research also initiated coverage of AT&T today at Buy, with a $41 price target.
    | Jul. 2, 2015, 12:54 PM | 20 Comments
  • Jul. 1, 2015, 2:19 AM
    • AT&T's (NYSE:T) proposed $48.5B acquisition of DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) is expected to get U.S. regulatory approval as soon as next week, sources told Reuters.
    • The Department of Justice, which assesses whether deals violate antitrust law, has completed its review of the merger and is waiting on the FCC to wrap up its own.
    • The move would create the country's largest pay-TV company, giving DirecTV a broadband product and AT&T new avenues of growth beyond wireless service.
    • Previously: AT&T, DirecTV extend merger end date to get regulator OK (Jun. 29 2015)
    | Jul. 1, 2015, 2:19 AM | 12 Comments
  • Jun. 29, 2015, 6:54 PM
    • With approval of a deal seeming to drag, AT&T (T -1%) has extended the end date for its merger with DirecTV (DTV -0.9%) again, for a "short period of time" to facilitate regulatory approval.
    • In its 8-K filing, the company says it "expects that the merger will be consummated shortly."
    • It's the second extension in two months; the two extended their end date on May 15 as well.
    • Previously: AT&T, DirecTV extend termination date for merger a bit longer (May. 15 2015)
    | Jun. 29, 2015, 6:54 PM | 11 Comments
  • Jun. 12, 2015, 12:06 PM
    • While a federal court sided with the FCC yesterday -- and thus against AT&T (NYSE:T), in its litigation against net neutrality regulations -- is it really a silver lining for the big telecom?
    • Analysts say with tough new rules taking effect today, the FCC has less reason to set tougher conditions on AT&T's proposed deal to acquire DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV).
    • "Now that the net neutrality rules are set to go into effect today for all carriers, there probably isn't as much pressure for the FCC to attempt to single AT&T out or get AT&T to proactively agree to abide by stricter net neutrality rules," says Elevation's Stephen Sweeney, "so this may simplify the ongoing remedy/concessions negotiations that are ongoing with the regulators at the moment."
    • Earlier this month, sources pointed to an AT&T ready to make concessions, including agreement to strict guidelines on net neutrality, in order to get the deal done.
    • "The ruling (may be) a positive for AT&T-DirecTV because the FCC probably will face less pressure from public interest groups to apply the full net neutrality rules to AT&T as a merger condition (which might have been the case if the court had blocked the FCC's Title II ruling)," says Guggenheim's Paul Gallant.
    • Previously: AT&T, Cogent enter new interconnection pact (Jun. 10 2015)
    • Previously: Report: AT&T to agree to concessions for DirecTV deal (Jun. 02 2015)
    • Previously: AT&T/DirecTV deal review still paused at FCC (May. 28 2015)
    | Jun. 12, 2015, 12:06 PM | 7 Comments