• Tue, Jan. 10, 7:48 AM
    • From a note yesterday on Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD):
    • “We model rising margins in FY18 as one-off items fall away. This self-help can also help relieve some of the near-term pressure from Indian competition.
    • "Post 10% underperformance vs. the sector over the last 3 months, valuation is compelling.
    • "Catalyst: Our confidence in cost-cutting compounds our belief in Vodafone’s improving structural growth outlook, driving our FY18/19 EBITDA estimates +1%/3% vs. Bloomberg consensus. We also note ‘free’ optionality from potential European cable M&A (worth 10-40p per share and potential market consolidation in India)."
    • Firm upgrades VOD to Buy from Neutral.
    • Price target of $38 implies 49% upside.
    Tue, Jan. 10, 7:48 AM | 16 Comments
  • Tue, Jan. 3, 11:19 AM
    • With the new year, Liberty Global (LBTYA +1.1%) and Vodafone (VOD +1.7%) have completed the joint venture they planned to create in the Netherlands, establishing a new converged communications firm.
    • The venture -- to be called VodafoneZiggo Group -- combines Liberty's Ziggo fiber-rich broadband with Vodafone's top mobile operation into a firm with combined revenue of more than €4B. The venture will sell services under both the Vodafone and Ziggo brands.
    • After closing and following recapitalization, Liberty Global will receive €2.2B and Vodafone €0.6B in cash.
    • Once Vodafone's divestment of its fixed business Vodafone Thuis is accounted for, net present value of synergies for the deal is estimated around €3.5B. Vodafone Thuis had been generating negative cash flow (-€73M in the 12 months ended September 2016).
    Tue, Jan. 3, 11:19 AM | 3 Comments
  • Sun, Jan. 1, 5:26 AM
    • Barron's ranks the best and worst places for income-focused investors in a rising-rate world. In order of appeal:
    • Depressed European stocks: "Valuations have gotten more reasonable and dividend yields are ample, especially relative to ultralow or even negative yields on European government bonds."
    • U.S. electric utilities: "Their average yield of 3.6% is almost double that of the S&P 500. Utility dividends usually are secure, given regulated returns."
    • U.S. dividend stocks: "Even after rallying in 2016, high dividend-paying stocks still look appealing."
    • Junk bonds: "Junk yields still look good at an average of 6.3%. The interest-rate gap relative to Treasuries is still appealing at nearly 4.5%, but absolute yields are modest by historical standards."
    • Munis: looking better after a disappointing 2016.
    • REITs: "REITs now are on the inexpensive side of a fair-value range."
    • Preferreds: "REITs now are on the inexpensive side of a fair-value range."
    • Treasurys: "If Trump’s fiscal and economic policies prove inflationary, Treasuries are apt to suffer."
    • Telecom: There may be better value in other high-yielding parts of the market.
    • MLPs. Expects muted distribution growth.
    • Stocks and ETFs mentioned: FDD, VGK, VOD, RDS.A, UTG, DUK, SRE, XLU, NOBL, VYM, KO, BUD, PFE, OSTIX, HYT, VTA, JNK, NAD, BTT, VWIUX,PHMIX, SPG, BXP, EQR, VNQ, BAC, PFF, JPI, TIP, TLT, T, VZ, EPD, AMLP, BWP
    • See also Barron's infographic: Yield plays for 2017
     
    Sun, Jan. 1, 5:26 AM | 137 Comments
  • Dec. 19, 2016, 11:02 AM
    • Australian incumbent telecom Telstra (OTCPK:TLSYY +0.5%) has been barred from the country's next 700 MHz spectrum auction following restrictions on any single holdings of airwaves.
    • Telstra had taken 2x20 MHz of 700 MHz frequencies in a 2013 auction, in which 2x15 MHz had gone unsold.
    • Now with the Australian government trying to resell that spectrum, comms minister Mitch Fifield has capped the amount of 700 MHz spectrum any single operator can hold to 2x20 MHz, the level that Telstra is at already.
    • Vodafone Australia (VOD -0.2%), which skipped the 2013 auction and planned to favor its own 1800-MHz spectrum for 4G, may take a new look at the currently unsold frequencies.
    Dec. 19, 2016, 11:02 AM
  • Nov. 29, 2016, 5:45 AM
    • British media regulator Ofcom is proceeding with a formal notification to legally separate Openreach from BT, the division that develops and maintains the U.K.'s main telecoms networks.
    • Sky (OTCQX:SKYAY), Talktalk (OTC:TKTCY), Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) and of course, BT, all use Openreach networks.
    • In a statement, BT said it was open to Ofcom's proposal for legal corporation and "has proposed a model that is fair, sustainable, and proportionate."
    Nov. 29, 2016, 5:45 AM | 1 Comment
  • Nov. 28, 2016, 12:04 PM
    • Hitting fresh 52-week highs on double the normal volume today:
    • Vale (VALE +5.2%)
    • Cliff's Natural Resource (CLF -1.8%)
    • Essent Group (ESNT +1.8%)
    • Finisar (FNSR +4.7%)
    • China Lodging (HTHT +5.8%)
    • 51job (JOBS +1.4%)
    • PrivateBancorp (PVTB +0.1%)
    • Alleghany Corp. (Y -0.1%)
    • The only fresh 52-week lows today are in European telecom:
    • Vodafone (VOD -2.3%)
    • Orange (ORAN -1.4%)
    Nov. 28, 2016, 12:04 PM
  • Nov. 23, 2016, 10:59 PM
    Nov. 23, 2016, 10:59 PM | 7 Comments
  • Nov. 21, 2016, 3:41 AM
    • U.K. regulator Ofcom has made a move to increase competition for mobile bandwidth ahead of its next auction.
    • It placed a cap on the amount of spectrum that the bigger players such as BT Group (NYSE:BT) and Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) can buy, in a bid to leave space for smaller firms.
    • It means, on the lower band, BT will be barred from the bidding as it already owns 45% of the market.
    Nov. 21, 2016, 3:41 AM
  • Nov. 18, 2016, 1:38 PM
    • Telecom companies are Europe's "sick man," marking the worst performance among the continent's sectors, and there's little encouraging news ahead, says Leila Abboud.
    • An index of telecoms has showed up dead last in 2016, with 20% declines (accounting for dividend effects).
    • Despite serviceable results from the likes of Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD), Telefonica (NYSE:TEF), Telecom Italia (NYSE:TI), Orange (NYSE:ORAN) and Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY), investors are unimpressed and have driven the sector's overall value near a two-year low.
    • Blocked acquisitions play a role, as EC chief Margrethe Vestager began blocking national mobile mergers.
    • Even if the companies come through on sustained growth of market share and revenues, there may not be much to be gained: Enterprise values are around 6.2-6.4 times forward EBITDA -- not far below carriers in the U.S., around 6.5 times (but with quicker growing earnings).
    Nov. 18, 2016, 1:38 PM | 24 Comments
  • Nov. 17, 2016, 11:59 AM
    • The day after Vodafone's (VOD +1.2%) CEO suggested at a Barcelona conference that regulators might now be more favorable to a strategic tie-up with Liberty Global (LBTYA +3.4%), Liberty put some water on that suggestion at the Morgan Stanley gathering.
    • Asked whether the two companies' merging of Dutch operations could provide a template for more/bigger deals, Liberty CEO Mike Fries says "Hard to say, (but) I would probably say not."
    • The Netherlands arrangement was a "unique situation" and the two companies aren't currently talking about more, he said.
    • "We were bigger then them in this market," he says. "So for us it was a net cash-out deal. It was a small market, (so) a good way to get to know each other."
    Nov. 17, 2016, 11:59 AM | 1 Comment
  • Nov. 16, 2016, 6:28 PM
    • After its attempt at bigger collaboration in Europe failed last winter, Vodafone (VOD +0.4%) says continental regulators might look more favorably on a deal it could arrive at with Liberty Global (LBTYA +3%) now.
    • "The European Commission has clearly indicated that they like the idea of stronger competitors to former incumbents," CEO Vittorio Colao said at Morgan Stanley's conference in Barcelona.
    • The two companies agreed in February to merge their Dutch operations via a joint venture; that followed the breakdown of talks over a bigger European asset swap last fall.
    • Despite that, many analysts say the reasoning behind getting the two together is still there. And Colao says incumbent telecoms are still powerful.
    • "They see that in each country there is a KPN, a Telecom Italia, a Deutsche Telekom, a BT, that are at the end of the day still incredibly, I would not want to use the word dominant, but let's say influential. And you want a counter force, and we could be that counter force," he said.
    Nov. 16, 2016, 6:28 PM | 1 Comment
  • Nov. 15, 2016, 7:33 AM
    • Vodafone Group (NASDAQ:VOD): 1H EPS of -€0.03.
    • Revenue of €27.05B (-3.9% Y/Y).
    • Press Release
    Nov. 15, 2016, 7:33 AM | 6 Comments
  • Nov. 15, 2016, 4:47 AM
    • Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) +2% premarket after investors cheered its European organic growth in H1 and full-year goals despite the mobile operator reporting a sharply wider net loss.
    • As a result of a €5B write-down on its Indian business - due to cutthroat competition in the populous country - Vodafone will not launch the unit's highly anticipated IPO before March next year.
    Nov. 15, 2016, 4:47 AM | 8 Comments
  • Nov. 14, 2016, 4:42 PM
    • New positions for Greenlight Capital as of Sept. 30: U.S. Steel (NYSE:X), and GEO Group (NYSE:GEO).
    • Major exits: Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA), Humana (NYSE:HUM), Perrigo (NASDAQ:PRGO), AmerisourceBergen (NYSE:ABC), Hertz (NYSE:HTZ), Community Health (NYSE:CYH), Lamar Advertising (NASDAQ:LAMR), Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD).
    • 13F
    Nov. 14, 2016, 4:42 PM | 23 Comments
  • Nov. 7, 2016, 12:22 PM
    • While UK telecom BT Group (BT -0.3%) has dug in regarding pressure to unload its Openreach infrastructure arm, one shareholder has reportedly suggested it should consider a sell-off.
    • Aviva Investors says BT should ponder the move, one which would ease regulatory pressures and please rivals, according to the Sunday Telegraph.
    • "They obviously have been clear that they don't want to do it, but that doesn't mean it can't be done," said Trevor Green, Aviva's head of UK equities, according to the paper. "We just think it should be something which should be explored."
    • Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) has been vocal about pressing for the move, along with Sky (OTCQX:SKYAY) and TalkTalk (OTC:TKTCY) -- all of whom want to maintain access to the wholesale infrastructure at favorable terms. Meanwhile, UK regulators continue to consider whether breaking it up is in the public interest.
    Nov. 7, 2016, 12:22 PM | 6 Comments
  • Nov. 4, 2016, 10:18 AM
    • Vodafone (VOD -0.3%) has sold its fixed-line operations in the Netherlands to T-Mobile Nederland (OTCQX:DTEGY -0.9%).
    • That's part of a concession it made to EU regulators in order to secure approval for its bigger merger -- of its operations in the country with Ziggo, the Dutch unit of Liberty Global (LBTYA +2.1%).
    • Europe in early August signed off on the deal, which will create a stronger competitor to Dutch incumbent Royal KPN (OTCPK:KKPNY -1.3%).
    Nov. 4, 2016, 10:18 AM | 7 Comments