Jun. 5, 2014, 11:09 AM
May 29, 2014, 4:15 AM
- Sprint (S) Chairman Masayoshi Son reasons that the rise in telecom and cable mergers should allow his company to buy rival T-Mobile (TMUS). Three big mergers have taken place in recent months with Verizon (VZ) acquiring Vodafone (VOD) for $130B, Comcast (CMCSA) buying Time Warner Cable (TWC) for $45B, and the AT&T (T) purchase of DirecTV (DTV) for $49B.
- "Access to the Internet is currently dominated by three giants with no sizable competitor," says Son.
- Although the company has not yet made a formal bid on T-Mobile, it looks to lay the framework for a future purchase.
- Antitrust authorities have previously frowned on such a deal, as it would cut the number of national competitors in the wireless industry to three from four.
May 19, 2014, 9:11 AM
- A report from the FCC indicates basic cable TV prices have risen at a rate 4X the rate of inflation over the last 18 years.
- In the last year alone, the average cost of basic service rose 4.6% to $63.03.
- What to watch: The FCC report, which is full of details on the impact of pricing in "non-competitive" markets, is likely to be referred to during discussion in Washington DC on the Time Warner Cable (TWC)- Comcast (CMCSA) merger.
- Related stocks: CVC, CHTR
- Full FCC report (.pdf)
May 15, 2014, 3:35 PM
May 15, 2014, 4:43 AM
- The Federal Communications Commission is due to vote today on a proposal to formally allow some "commercially reasonable" deals that would enable Internet content companies to pay fees so that their traffic receives priority on the network.
- Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR) and Google (GOOG, GOOGL) are among those opposed to "pay-for-priority," while Netflix (NFLX) is strongly in favor of net neutrality as well. The latter has reluctantly forged "direct-peering" agreements that remove bottlenecks between networks and ensure that its contents streams more smoothly.
- Advocates of net neutrality fear that pay-for-priority will lead to "fast lanes" for corporations that can afford it and slower traffic for others, and some even want Internet providers to be reclassified as utilities, as is the case with telephone operations.
- Meanwhile, the FCC is also scheduled to decide on rules for the sale of low-frequency airwaves to wireless carriers, with the regulations expected to limit how much Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) can purchase.
- Other relevant tickers: CMCSA, TWC, ALLT, LVLT, CCOI, FTR, WIN, CTL, CHTR, CVC, DISH.
Apr. 30, 2014, 1:37 PM
Apr. 28, 2014, 6:57 AM
- Charter (CHTR) will acquire 1.4M existing Time Warner Cable (TWC) customers, giving it 5.7M in total and making it the second-largest cable operator in the U.S.
- Charter and Comcast (CMCSA) will also each transfer approximately 1.6M subs respectively.
- Charter will acquire 33% in a new publicly-traded cable provider that Comcast will spin off to its shareholders and that will serve 2.5M customers. Charter will pay for the stake by issuing new stock to Comcast shareholders.
- After all the deals are finalized, Charter's managed residential subscribers will be below 30% of the U.S.'s total MVPD (multichannel video programming) subscribers.
- The value of the Comcast-Charter transactions wasn't provided, but the FT put a figure of $20B when it published a mostly accurate report about them over the weekend, prior to an official announcement today. (PR)
Apr. 28, 2014, 6:10 AM
Apr. 27, 2014, 1:39 AM
- Comcast (CMCSA) could this week announce a $20B three-part deal to divest subscribers as part of its attempt to assuage antitrust concerns about its proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable (TWC), the FT reports.
- Comcast would sell 1.4M subscribers from TWC's network to Charter (CHTR), while Comcast would also place 2.5M subscribers in a new company in which Charter would own 35%. Comcast and Charter would then swap 1.65M customers.
- The transactions are contingent on Comcast receiving approval for its takeover of TWC.
Apr. 24, 2014, 12:20 PM
- Time Warner Cable (TWC +0.2%) narrowed video customer losses to 34K in Q1 while adding 269K new broadband subscribers.
- At the end of the quarter, the company had 11.2M video customers and 11.4M broadband Internet customers in its fold.
- Average monthly programming costs per video subscriber rose 10.2% to $37.69, but overall the company kept a lid on cost increases.
Apr. 24, 2014, 6:03 AM
Apr. 21, 2014, 6:37 AM
Apr. 20, 2014, 2:24 AM
- Charter Communications (CHTR) is in negotiations to acquire 3M subscribers from Comcast (CMCSA) in a deal that could be worth $18-20B, Reuters reports.
- Charter could buy the subscribers through a straight purchase or Comcast could create a spin-off in which Charter would acquire a large minority holding.
- Other cable firms also are interested in obtaining the Comcast subscribers.
- Comcast has already committed to selling the subscribers in order to assuage antitrust concerns about its $45.3B takeover of Time Warner Cable (TWC).
Apr. 16, 2014, 8:42 AM
- The merger between Time Warner (TWC) and Comcast (CMCSA) should be approved with a watchful eye kept in place, argues an editorial in The Washington Post.
- The Post notes consolidation might be the only way for pay-TV operators to compete with online video services and broadband providers at scale.
- The regional differences between TWC and CMCSA keep consumers in a position that isn't far off from the status quo, reasons the Bezos-owned publication.
Apr. 15, 2014, 1:34 PM
- Aereo gets its day in the Supreme Court next week as it takes on a powerful group of broadcasters (DIS, CMCSA, CBS, FOXA) and the U.S. Solicitor General's office.
- Legal experts are deeply divided on which direction the court will rule in what could be a landmark case for the media industry. Justice Ginsburg is expected to side with the broadcasters and agree that Aereo violates copyright law, while Justice Breyer is tapped to side with Aereo. The other 7 justices are considered a bit of a tossup.
- What to watch: A win by Aereo could lead to a pricing war in the pay-TV industry (CHTR, TWC, CVC, DISH, DTV) due to the low monthly fee ($8-$12/month) it charges to customers. A thriving Aereo could also prompt one of the major providers to unbundle its network packages to move to a la carte pricing. Content providers (DISCA, AMCX, VIAB, SNI, TWX, CRWN,MSG) will be watching the developments closely.
Apr. 11, 2014, 8:25 AM
- Though Dish Network (DISH) resolved its differences with 25 Hearst-owned TV stations earlier this week after they went dark for around 14 hours amid a retransmission contract dispute, the mini-battle could be the tipping point that leads to a major industry change.
- Media analysts forecast that politicians in Washington may take notice as more negotiation stalemates in the industry lead to cable/satellite blackouts. A little noise from D.C. on the issue could tip the scales in the favor of the pay-TV industry (DTV, CMCSA, CHTR, TWC, CVC).
Time Warner Cable Inc provides video, high-speed data and voice services. The Company also offers security and home management services, networking and transport services and enterprise-class, cloud-enabled hosting, managed applications and services.
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