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Fri, Jan. 15, 6:03 PM
- Charter Communications (CHTR -4.2%) chief Tom Rutledge is coy about the odds -- "unlikely but not impossible" -- that Charter will bid in the upcoming broadcast incentive spectrum auction, pointing to its bid for Time Warner Cable (TWC -2.7%).
- "While we'd like to participate in the auction, it's a very awkward time for us," he tells Reuters. "If somehow we get a faster close, then we might."
- Applications for the March 29 auction will roll in from Jan. 26-Feb. 9; meanwhile, Rutledge thinks the FCC will rule on the merger in March.
- Eyes will be on cablecos like Charter and Comcast who aren't typical spectrum buyers but who have spoken of wireless ambitions. Charter has said it plans more Wi-Fi hotspots and some sort of mobile offering but hasn't detailed a strategy.
- Rutledge said he doesn't know which specific concerns were raised at the FCC by Time Warner and HBO, which have filed in opposition to the Charter-TWC deal.
- Previously: Time Warner opposes Charter-TWC deal on HBO streaming worries (Jan. 15 2016)
Fri, Jan. 15, 12:10 PM
- Time Warner (TWX -1.6%) has joined voices in opposition to Charter's (CHTR -3.6%) proposed buyout of Time Warner Cable (TWC -2.6%), touching one of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's hot buttons: It says HBO's push into streaming could be affected.
- The company launched its direct-to-consumer version of HBO, HBO Now, last April -- setting a key anchor point in the cord-cutting debate defining media companies today.
- Time Warner's concerned about statements by Charter management suggesting the combined company "would be inclined to take action directed at programmers in response to the development of 'over the top' services with the purpose and/or effect of slowing down the development of OTT options to the detriment of consumers."
- Dish Network (DISH -3.9%) has filed actively in opposition to the merger and Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen used a meeting with FCC staffers to make the same point: The combination could "degrade" or "destroy" online video competition, which includes its Sling TV service.
- "We think the (Charter-TWC) transaction is more likely than not to be approved," wrote Bernstein's Paul de Sa, "although a rejection is not out of the question, for example, if there is significant documentary evidence of anticompetitive intent toward over-the-top (OTT) video providers as Dish alleges."
Fri, Jan. 8, 1:14 PM
- Charter Communications (CHTR +1.7%) has gotten approval from New York state for its merger with Time Warner Cable (TWC +1.7%), a "significant step forward" for the deal.
- The company had made additional assurances to New York's Public Service Commission, including providing a minimum speed of 60 Mpbs and offering a tier at 300 Mbps throughout the state; building networks out to unserved areas in the footprint; and investing in customer service.
- The transaction is in the middle of a pause in its review at the FCC while the agency reviews a number of supplemental materials it received in December and examines the deals impact on residential customers and on regional sports networks.
- Previously: Charter, TWC trade lower as FCC delays merger review (Jan. 05 2016)
Mon, Jan. 4, 5:42 PM
- The FCC is delaying its review of Charter's (CHTR -3%) $55B bid to acquire Time Warner Cable (TWC -1.3%) by two weeks.
- The agency says its pause will end on Jan. 20, after it takes more time to look at the impact of the proposed deal on TWC's regional sports networks and Charter's residential pricing/packaging, among other issues.
- Comparing that with the agency's informal 180-day "shot clock," after the pause, the review is scheduled to wrap in late March.
- FCC's letter
Mon, Jan. 4, 12:25 PM
- Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) is rebounding somewhat against today's market selloff, now down just 1.6%, after an early release that 2015 was its best full year for residential subscriber growth.
- The company posted net additions of 618,000 customer relationships, it says.
- It also pointed to high-speed data net adds of 1M, voice net adds of 1.036M, and even video net adds of 32,000 -- its first residential video net additions in nine years.
- "Ordinarily we wouldn't announce subscriber results until our earnings release, but given our results, I couldn't wait to thank the team for its outstanding performance," said CEO Rob Marcus.
Dec. 4, 2015, 7:10 PM
- The spread of consumer hardware for TV viewing, including Roku devices and Apple TV as well as next-gen gaming consoles, could kill off set-top boxes and ease capex for cablecos.
- Analyst Craig Moffett sees costs decreasing for major pay-TV providers not only due to the boxes, but also once they complete a transition to next-gen transmission technologies, likely by 2019.
- Boxes won't go extinct, but the rapid uptake of consumer hardware means the providers will see lower customer premise equipment costs -- in some cases by quite a bit, he argues.
- "The idea that customers will eventually consume video through their own Apple TV or Roku boxes, or simply connect their cable to their smart TVs, Xboxes and Sony PlayStations, is neither new nor far-fetched," Moffett says. "There are good reasons to believe that CPE spending may come down significantly in future generations."
- Time Warner Cable (TWC +1.8%) began supporting Roku-only cable service in New York City last month. Assuming its takeover by Charter (CHTR +2.1%) goes through, the combined company's CPE spending could drop to $917M by 2019, from $2.97B this year, Moffett says. Pro forma capital spending at Charter will fall to $5.83B in 2019 from an estimated $6.97B today.
- He estimates Comcast (CMCSA +1.9%) CPE spending will drop to $1.6B in 2019, from $3.7B this year.
Dec. 2, 2015, 4:55 PM
- Dish Network (DISH -2.2%) has already filed against the merger of Charter (CHTR -1.1%) with Time Warner Cable (TWC -1%), but Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen used a key FCC meeting to amp up the rhetoric.
- Allowing the proposed merger could "degrade" or "destroy" online video competition, he said, and he reiterated language that Dish had used in previous filings that the deal would create a "suffocating duopoly" (New Charter and Comcast).
- Ergen has his own interests in streaming video -- Dish owns the subscription OTT service Sling TV. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has made protection of online video a key consideration in evaluating the deal.
- Ergen suggested that behavioral conditions wouldn't make up for the possible damage: "The applicants’ commitments are inadequate to mitigate the harm to consumers, competition, and innovation that would result from the merger as presently constructed,” he told almost two dozen top agency staffers.
- Previously: Dish Network: Charter-TWC not in public's interest (Nov. 13 2015)
- Previously: Dish Network files FCC petition to deny Charter-TWC merger (Oct. 13 2015)
Nov. 2, 2015, 3:50 PM
- Merger partners Time Warner Cable (TWC -1.2%) and Charter Communications (CHTR -2.1%) reported solid quarters last week (TWC, CHTR) -- so solid, in fact, that one analyst raised some doubts on the deal.
- The merger still has a better than 50% chance at approval, says BTIG Research's Rich Greenfield, but he says the more his team thinks about management commentary from the quarter, "the more we wonder whether regulators will buy into the supposed benefits of a merger that essentially creates another Comcast.”
- When Charter reported on Thursday, shares rose 5%; TWC shares were up 3.9%.
- Together, the company's conference calls and notices showed strength in new product, new subscribers and higher speeds, which makes Greenfield wonder whether BTIG was "too positive" on the merger's chances for regulatory approval.
- Previously: Charter call: Talking wireless ambitions, slamming password sharing (Oct. 29 2015)
- Previously: Charter up 1.6% on Q3 beat, subscriber growth (Oct. 29 2015)
- Previously: Time Warner Cable +2% on record subscriber gains (Oct. 29 2015)
Oct. 29, 2015, 10:17 AM
- Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) is trading up 2% after a Q3 report where it posted record subscriber gains and beat bottom-line expectations solidly.
- Revenues grew 3.6% though operating income and EPS dipped about 13% as the company posted higher depreciation expense from its TWC Maxx initiative.
- Revenue breakout: In residential ($4.735B), Video revenues of $2.453B (down 1.8%); High-speed data, $1.772B (up 9.4%); Voice, $483M (up 1.5%). In business services ($836M), Video revenues of $97M (up 4.3%); High-speed data, $412M (up 20.1%); Voice, $153M (up 15.9%); Wholesale transport, $122M (up 16.2%).
- In residential results, video subscribers declined again, but at -7,000 subscribers it was the company's best Q3 in that area since 2006. Overall, residential customer relationships were up a net 147K. Residential high-speed data net adds of 232K; residential voice net adds of 237K; residential triple-play net adds of 218K.
Oct. 14, 2015, 8:05 PM
- While Dish Network has taken a firm stance against the merger of Charter (CHTR -2.2%) and Time Warner Cable (TWC -0.9%), AT&T (NYSE:T) tells the FCC it's not opposed, but does want "careful scrutiny" on the subject of online video.
- The agency needs to "review the transaction carefully and consider the impact of cable consolidation and coordination on emerging competition," AT&T said in its letter.
- Dish Network yesterday filed a petition to deny the merger on public interest grounds.
- Charter's approach to TWC may be different than a failed attempt by Comcast, but "the Commission must ensure that the cable industry cannot use coordination to replicate the same mega-cable threat to competition." It pointed to John Malone, Charter's biggest shareholder, who has active interests in media and content firms.
- Previously: Dish Network files FCC petition to deny Charter-TWC merger (Oct. 13 2015)
- Previously: FCC review of Charter-TWC deal turns to broadband effects (Oct. 13 2015)
- Previously: NAB calls to suspend Charter-TWC deal review until broadcast rule reform (Oct. 12 2015)
Oct. 8, 2015, 4:40 PM
- Time Warner Cable (TWC +1.1%) has set a long-term interconnection deal with Cogent Communications (CCOI +1.2%) -- some timely playing nice as the FCC reviews Charter's (CHTR +1.5%) bid to take over TWC.
- Charter has promised settlement-free interconnection in its dealings, and to extend that to TWC systems if the merger goes through, although there are no details whether this deal was settlement-free. But it's that approach that is winning merger support from peering companies like Cogent and Netflix.
- The FCC last month sent a request to TWC for a copy of all interconnection deals (formal or not) struck since Jan. 1, 2013. Complaints about interconnection are actionable under the agency's new regulatory regime.
Sep. 21, 2015, 4:36 PM
- Shareholders for Charter Communications (CHTR +1.6%) voted near unanimously for the acquisitions of Time Warner Cable (TWC +0.9%) and Bright House Networks, the company reports.
- More than 99% of the votes were in favor, and more than 98% excluding votes associated with class A stock beneficially owned by Liberty Broadband.
- The closing is now subject to regulator approval. The FCC began a 180-day timer on its review 10 days ago.
- Previously: TWC shareholders approve buyout by Charter (Sep. 21 2015)
- Previously: Charter, Time Warner votes in focus (Sep. 21 2015)
- Previously: FCC starts 'shot clock' on Charter-TWC merger review (Sep. 11 2015)
Aug. 17, 2015, 3:34 PM
- With a rack of 13F filings on the weekend disclosing Q2 holdings, it turns out that Time Warner Cable (TWC +2.1%) was among the top adds by hedge funds and influential investors.
- The company -- in the long process of being acquired by Charter Communications (CHTR +3.6%) -- got new stakes from 7.7% of filers, according to WhaleWisdom.com, which tracks 196 funds. Among those, Soros Fund Management took a 1.45M-share position.
- Only Perrigo (PRGO +0.6%) was added by more filers, at 10.2%. Investors filing that they had opened new buys of TWC came to 16.7M shares added in aggregate.
- On the other hand: TWC was also eliminated by the highest percentage of filers -- 6.6%, getting rid of 8.89M shares. On a net basis, acquisitions of shares still outnumbered dispositions. The second-biggest stock eliminated was Applied Materials (AMAT +2.3%), cut by 6.1% of filers who shed 28.36M shares in aggregate.
- Previously: Buffett 13-F and media: Bought Charter, cut stake in Viacom (Aug. 14 2015)
- More 13F coverage
Jul. 15, 2015, 5:38 PM
Jul. 15, 2015, 1:07 PM
- Charter Communications (CHTR +2%) and Time Warner Cable (TWC +1.3%) are on the move this afternoon as Charter draws an important ally in its TWC takeover: Netflix (NFLX -2.2%) is endorsing the deal, telling the FCC of "substantial public interest benefit."
- Charter is offering free interconnection with content/longhaul providers until December 2018, and that's enough to win Netflix's support for the TWC deal -- if Charter keeps that promise.
- "Charter's new peering policy is a welcome and significant departure from the efforts of some ISPs to collect access tolls on the Internet," Netflix's letter reads.
- Netflix's opposition to Comcast's deal for TWC is believed to have held a lot of weight in the breakup of that takeover.
Jul. 8, 2015, 4:14 PM
- Progress at the FCC -- though maybe not as quick as investors like -- as the agency's chairman, Tom Wheeler, has picked the team to review the Charter-Time Warner Cable merger deal.
- The agency's general counsel, Jonathan Sallet, will head the team, which also includes the same senior economist (William Rogerson) who worked on the Comcast-TWC deal and the AT&T-DirecTV merger. Former Justice Dept. antitrust attorney Owen Kendler will head the transaction review team.
- Today: CHTR -1.5%; TWC -1.4%.
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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