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Mon, Feb. 8, 3:29 PM
- AOL chief Tim Armstrong is the point person as Verizon (VZ -0.7%) explores a bid for assets at Yahoo (YHOO -4.3%), Bloomberg reports.
- Discussions aren't far along and Verizon hasn't hired any bankers, but Armstrong is the one leading preliminary discussions, sources said.
- Another source said Armstrong was picking up on conversations he had with Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer at the Sun Valley media conference in 2014 -- before AOL was bought by Verizon, but while he was exploring the idea of combining AOL and Yahoo. The two are both former Google executives.
- Armstrong has had a fairly free hand to run AOL as an independent advertising/media business at Verizon, and he also ran point on Verizon's $248M purchase of Millennial Media last year -- another company with which the independent AOL had begun tie-up talks.
- Yahoo has dipped today, -4.3%, to a new 52-week low of $26.48.
- Previously: Verizon confirms interest in buying Yahoo (Feb. 08 2016)
- Previously: Bain and TPG reportedly eyeing Yahoo; shares close down 4.7% post-earnings (Feb. 03 2016)
- Previously: AOL closes $248M deal for Millennial Media (Oct. 23 2015)
Mon, Feb. 8, 2:02 AM
- Speaking with Jim Cramer of CNBC's "Mad Money" on Friday, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) CEO Lowell McAdam confirmed that his company is weighing a bid for Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO).
- "At the right price, I think marrying up some of their assets with AOL and the leadership would be good," he declared.
- Verizon previously described its strategy as being broken into three tiers: having great connectivity, holding traffic-driving platforms, and owning content.
- Previously: Verizon says any rumors of a bid for Yahoo are "false" (Jan. 28 2016)
Fri, Feb. 5, 6:35 PM
- Verizon (VZ +1%) is following in the footsteps of T-Mobile's (TMUS -7.9%) Binge On -- at least partway -- by offering Verizon's postpaid customers the chance to watch content from the Go90 video service without touching the monthly data allowance.
- The latest versions of Go90 apps (for iOS/Android) are tied to Verizon's FreeBee Data 360 sponsored data service, a form of "zero rating" content so it doesn't detract from a data limit.
- Binge On still is more expansive, offering free streaming (downcoded) video from a variety of partners instead of only Go90. But it's an interesting step for Verizon, especially with the FCC taking a closer look at zero rating and its relation to new net neutrality regulations.
- Verizon notes that video streaming is free of the cap, but other app activity, including commenting, download, etc., will count against data plans.
- Previously: Wheeler: FCC's look at data exemptions is still lower level (Jan. 28 2016)
- Previously: Verizon informs FCC of sponsored data plans (Jan. 20 2016)
Fri, Feb. 5, 4:17 PM
- Following on November's multiyear deal, Verizon (VZ +1%) says it will offer live out-of-market NBA games via NBA League Pass on its Go90 video service starting tomorrow.
- Go90 is giving registered users a free preview over the weekend, and they can buy a half-season package for $50 to keep viewing starting Monday, to cover the rest of the NBA season.
- Also starting Monday, Verizon is offering registered users up to five games on the service for no cost, whether or not they watched games in the free preview.
- Verizon and the NBA came to a multiyear content and marketing partnership in the fall that covered providing games as well as exclusive series, and made Verizon the official wireless provider of the league and affiliates.
- Previously: Verizon wins NBA content for Go90 video service in multiyear deal (Nov. 04 2015)
Thu, Feb. 4, 5:54 PM
- According to an FCC application, AT&T (NYSE:T) is pursuing a three-year experimental license to test 5G service in Austin, Texas, which might put it on a timeline with competitor Verizon (NYSE:VZ) in pursuing the next-gen wireless standard.
- The telecom giant wants to do fixed and mobile tests with "various types of experimental wireless equipment" (but from undisclosed providers). The goal is to allow for trials (in the 3.5 GHz, 4 GHz, 15 GHz and 28 GHz bands) before standards are finalized in 2018-2019. A 5G service could provide wireless data speeds comparable to gigabit broadband.
- Last September, Verizon announced an ambitious timetable that included 5G testing in 2016 followed by "some level of commercial deployment" in 2017; the company's CFO Fran Shammo has promised they would get to 5G first. Observers have assumed commercial rollout wouldn't happen until 2020.
- This could also put some heat on upcoming spectrum auctions; tests are one thing, but commercial service means a need for more airwaves.
- Previously: Verizon announces ambitious 5G timetable; to start field tests next year (Sep. 08 2015)
Thu, Feb. 4, 11:37 AM
- Synchronoss (SNCR -13.2%) has tumbled to its lowest levels since 2013 after posting a Q4 beat on Wednesday morning. The culprit: Synchronoss guided on its earnings call (transcript) for 2016 revenue of $655M-$680M (+15% Y/Y at the midpoint) and EPS of $2.22-$2.45, largely below a pre-earnings consensus of $679.3M and $2.51. Free cash flow is expected to grow 10%-20% from 2015's $66.4M.
- The company's Cloud Services segment (provides white-label cloud services to carriers) is expected to see revenue of $378M-$391M (+24% at the midpoint), with demand from both AT&T and major international carriers providing a lift. However, Activation Services (subscriber activation/provisioning software) is only expected to grow to $277M-$289M from 2015's $270M - Synchronoss says it's taking a "conservative view" for the business until it gets better visibility regarding certain international deployments.
- Also: 1) Synchronoss' enterprise mobility JV with Goldman is expected to hurt by EPS by $0.10-$0.12 due to initial investments; the JV is forecast to approach breakeven by year's end. 2) Investments in a new JV with Verizon (NYSE:VZ) to roll out Synchronoss' Universal ID platform to Verizon subs and sell Universal ID to enterprises are expected to have a $0.06-$0.10 EPS impact.
- Stifel has downgraded Syncrhonoss to Hold. The firm believes Q4 Cloud Services revenue was boosted by at least $18M thanks to one-time revenue related to the Verizon JV.
- Synchronoss' Q4 results, earnings release
Tue, Feb. 2, 3:24 PM
- Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) shares have jumped on news from Dow Jones that Yahoo will say it's exploring "strategic alternatives" in its aftermarket earnings commentary today.
- Shares were down as much as 4.9% and have leapt to just a 0.4% decline.
- It's the strongest indication yet that the company will consider a sale of all or part of its Web business.
- The board has a fiduciary duty to listen to offers, which could come from Verizon (NYSE:VZ) or from private-equity firms that have expressed interest in parts of the business.
- Sales have fallen at Yahoo in seven of the past 10 quarters.
Tue, Feb. 2, 9:00 AM| Tue, Feb. 2, 9:00 AM
- January monthly performance was: -3.31%
- 52-week performance vs. the S&P 500 is: -2%
- $0.10 in dividends were paid in January
- Top 10 Holdings as of 12/31/2015: Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): 3.35%, AT&T Inc (T): 3.15%, Microsoft Corp (MSFT): 3.11%, Apple Inc (AAPL): 2.84%, Verizon Communications Inc (VZ): 2.5%, General Electric Co (GE): 2.36%, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): 2.21%, Chevron Corp (CVX): 2.2%, Wells Fargo & Co (WFC): 2.06%, Procter & Gamble Co (PG): 1.93%
Thu, Jan. 28, 7:14 PM
- FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says that the agency's look into so-called "zero rating" -- telecom providers exempting some services (sometimes paid) from subscriber limits -- is informational, and that he hasn't attended any meetings on it yet.
- The talks are at the bureau level, he says: "I am not at these meetings. Nobody from the office of the chairman is in these meetings. They're gathering information and we'll see what happens from there."
- The agency has been meeting with key providers, including T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS), Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), AT&T (NYSE:T) and surely Verizon (NYSE:VZ), now that it's rolling out its "FreeBee" sponsored data solution.
- Meanwhile, Republican Commissioners Michael O'Rielly and Ajit Pai are expressing their concerns to the "inquistors" over a procedure they see as unnecessary.
- Despite swirling concerns over net neutrality, Wheeler has praised T-Mobile's Binge On video streaming offering as "highly innovative and highly competitive."
- Previously: Verizon informs FCC of sponsored data plans (Jan. 20 2016)
- Previously: FCC summoning Internet providers to talk data policies (Dec. 17 2015)
- Previously: FCC chairman: T-Mobile video initiative 'highly competitive' (Nov. 19 2015)
Thu, Jan. 28, 12:59 AM
- On Jan. 23 the New York Post reported that Verizon (NYSE:VZ) made an $8B bid for Yahoo's (NASDAQ:YHOO) core business.
- Bob Varettoni, director of corporate communications for Verizon, told CTFN tonight the rumors are false. "The New York Post was wrong. We've made no offer to acquire Yahoo."
- Yahoo reports earnings on Feb. 2.
- Note: Reuters: Yahoo to wait for earnings for strategic steps (Jan. 21)
- More than 1/3 of Yahoo's workforce has left in the last year (Jan. 10)
- Verizon, Yahoo And Best Idea For 2016 (Jan. 6 2016)
Wed, Jan. 27, 1:09 PM
- The FCC is planning to allow for open competition in pay-TV set-top boxes, which would open a new front against multichannel providers for hardware makers including Apple and Alphabet as well as TiVo.
- A document shows that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler plans a proposal that would see a Feb. 18 vote, to open up a market where Americans spend $20B a year to lease equipment from their providers -- an average of $231/year.
- The proposal also looks to prevent pay TV providers from using security systems to prevent competition. An industry trade group opposes competition in the device market, saying it wouldn't provide new programming or lower TV bills.
- The entry of Apple and Google could mean that traditional set-top functions are provided by a tablet instead.
- Set-top box rental fees have jumped 185% since 1994, the FCC's document says, while the cost of TVs, computers and mobile phones has fallen 90% in that time frame.
- Updated 1:11 p.m.: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler tweets: "It is time for us to unlock the set-top box market, as we did w/ Ma Bell phones & devices on wireless networks."
- Pay TV players: CMCSA, TWC, CHTR, CVC/OTCPK:ATCEY, T, DISH, VZ, FTR, CTL
Fri, Jan. 22, 3:53 PM
- Verizon (VZ +2.6%) and Hearst are discussing a team effort to go after new audiences for the wireless carrier's Go90 mobile video service, including an underserved heartland demographic.
- The two are in advanced talks on a joint venture to develop two digital media brands, which could include a politics-focused comedy network, and another targeted at millennials and referred to by a source as "Vice for the red states."
- Vice Media is already launching its own 24-hour channel this spring, Viceland, and has a presence on Go90 with long-form reporting ranging from lifestyles to war coverage.
- Print stalwart Hearst has been making its own moves into Web video, where ad rates are much higher than banner ads for its magazine/newspaper sites. It also has a 25% stake in DreamWorks Animation's AwesomenessTV, also on Go90.
- Previously: Verizon, Sony to partner on video content slate for Go90 (Jan. 06 2016)
- Previously: FT: Disney puts additional $200M into Vice, bringing stake to 10% (Dec. 08 2015)
- Previously: A&E/Vice Media 24-hour channel Viceland to debut in early 2016 (Nov. 03 2015)
Thu, Jan. 21, 9:19 AM
- In its Q4 earnings report, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) pointed to operating results that suggest it's churning ahead after "transformational change" in a competitive wireless market.
- Its 1.5M retail postpaid net additions in subscribers brought the full-year total to 4.5M. Retail postpaid churn was 0.96%, vs. 1.04% at the end of 2014.
- Postpaid phone upgrade rate fell to 8.4% from a previous 9.8%; 73M smartphones were in the base and 4G devices are now more than 79% of the retail postpaid connection base. At year's end, the company had 112.1M retail connections (up 3.6% Y/Y) and 106.5M retail postpaid connections (up 4.4%).
- In wireline, the company reported its smallest growth in FiOS TV subscriptions since it launched. It added 99,000 net new Internet connections and 20,000 net new video connections (totals: 7M for Internet, 5.8M for video, up 6.3% and 3.2% respectively).
- FiOS Internet penetration was 41.8% (up from 41.1%); video penetration 35.3% (down from 35.8%).
- Now: VZ +0.5% premarket.
- Previously: Verizon up 1% after Q4 earnings, revenues beat (Jan. 21 2016)
- Previously: Verizon beats by $0.01, beats on revenue (Jan. 21 2016)
Thu, Jan. 21, 9:03 AM
- Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is up 1% premarket after Q4 results where it swung to a better-than-expected profit but warned again that earnings are likely to plateau this year.
- The company added 1.5M net postpaid wireless subscribers at retail, down 24% from a year-ago addition of 1.99M. Adjusted EPS was up 25.4% to $0.89; GAAP earnings swung to a profit ($1.32/share from a loss of $0.54; both quarters affected by valuation of benefit plans and mark-to-market pension adjustments).
- Revenue breakout: Service revenues and other, $28.86B (down 0.4%); wireless equipment, $5.4B (up 27.9%). By segment: Wireless, $23.7B (up 1.2%); Wireline, $9.47B (down 0.9%).
- For 2016, the company expects to mitigate earnings pressures from the sale of high-margin operations to Frontier, as well as the shift to device installment plans and ramping up new business models.
- Full-year earnings are expected to "plateau at a level comparable to its strong full-year 2015 adjusted earnings." Adjusted EBITDA margin should be consistent with 2015 and capital spending should be $17.2B-$17.7B.
- Press Release
Thu, Jan. 21, 7:02 AM
Thu, Jan. 21, 12:00 AM
- Verizon (NYSE:VZ) reports earnings Thursday morning, and while profits are expected to log a healthy gain, subscriber growth and average revenue may disappoint as there's been no rest in a competitive market.
- Consensus expectations are for the carrier to report EPS of $0.88 (up 24%) and revenues of $34.12B (up 2.6%) -- but that on only 1.4M added subscribers, down some 30% Y/Y. T-Mobile reported earlier this month that it added more than 2M subscribers on a net basis.
- It's an illustration of challenges in a market where pretty much everyone has a phone. Average bills have shrunk at all carriers amid the hot competition, and Verizon's are again expected to be third-best among the big four carriers (ahead of only T-Mobile).
- Meanwhile, only Sprint is expected to post Y/Y gains in monthly users.
Verizon Communications Inc is a provider of communications, information and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses and governmental agencies. Its two segments are Wireless and Wireline.
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