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  • Thu, Dec. 8, 2:27 PM
    • Investors in Charter Communications (CHTR -1.5%) can expect big share buybacks, says the founder of hedge fund TCI -- and maybe even a Big Four telecom takeover bid.
    • Speaking at the Sohn Conference in London, TCI founder Chris Hohn (who owns 5% of Charter) said Verizon (VZ -0.4%) could be interested in a takeover bid "over time."
    • "Margins are going to be much higher than consensus assumes," he says, which would feed profits and then extensive buybacks of up to 35% of outstanding shares.
    | Thu, Dec. 8, 2:27 PM | 7 Comments
  • Tue, Dec. 6, 7:51 AM
    • As has been rumored for a couple of months, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) has sold its data center business to Equinix (NASDAQ:EQIX), according to Bloomberg.
    • No details are yet known, but the deal value has previously been estimated at $3.5B.
    • Update at 8:05 ET: The deal is for a portfolio of 24 data center sites across 15 metro areas, and the price is $3.6B. It's expected to close by mid-2017.
    • A conference call is set for 8:30 ET.
    | Tue, Dec. 6, 7:51 AM | 1 Comment
  • Fri, Dec. 2, 2:02 PM
    • Agency raises dispute over AT&T's (T -0.9%) plans to exclude the company's just-announced DirecTV Now service from data expenses paid by carrier customers, addressing similar notice on related practices to Verizon (VZ -0.3%). Deterrence of competition from external services including Netflix, Hulu and other streaming providers, along with negative impact on consumers are argued.
    • Both AT&T and Verizon have responded to the matter, citing compliance with in-place rules and benefits to consumers through cost savings.
    • The development marks a reiteration of concerns over such policies previously brought to light.
    | Fri, Dec. 2, 2:02 PM | 27 Comments
  • Thu, Dec. 1, 1:26 PM
    | Thu, Dec. 1, 1:26 PM | 10 Comments
  • Thu, Dec. 1, 11:46 AM
    • November monthly performance was: +2.44%
    • AUM of $1.26B
    • 52-week performance vs. the S&P 500 is: +6%
    • $0.18 in dividends were paid in November
    • Top 10 Holdings as of 10/31/2016: Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM): 5.06236%, AT&T Inc (T): 5.00966%, Verizon Communications Inc (VZ): 3.95123%, Chevron Corp (CVX): 3.90836%, General Electric Co (GE): 3.34327%, Procter & Gamble Co (PG): 3.22338%, Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT): 2.96781%, Philip Morris International Inc (PM): 2.82773%, Pfizer Inc (PFE): 2.73807%, Merck & Co Inc (MRK): 2.31749%
    | Thu, Dec. 1, 11:46 AM
  • Thu, Dec. 1, 3:00 AM
    • A massive network of high-speed fiber optic internet is coming to 20 states over the next five years, according to an announcement from Altice (OTCPK:ATCEY), the cable company behind Optimum, Lightpath and Suddenlink.
    • Altice's planned 10-gigabit per second connection far outpaces Google Fiber's (GOOG, GOOGL) current 1-gigabit per second connection, as well as Verizon Fios (NYSE:VZ).
    • It also comes as Google scales back its own expansion plans for ultra-fast internet cables.
    | Thu, Dec. 1, 3:00 AM | 9 Comments
  • Thu, Nov. 17, 5:16 PM
    • After a lengthy delay, the FCC has signed off on Verizon's (NYSE:VZ) $1.8B acquisition of the fiber-optic business of Carl Icahn's XO Communications.
    • The agency had put a "pause" on its review in July as it sought more information, but has faced a busy year with a multi-month spectrum auction as well as pending reviews of deals between AT&T and Time Warner, and CenturyLink and Level 3 Communications.
    • The deal was to include XO's fiber-based IP and Ethernet networks.
    • It still requires OKs from some state regulators.
    | Thu, Nov. 17, 5:16 PM | 7 Comments
  • Thu, Nov. 17, 10:15 AM
    • AOL (NYSE:VZ) will lay off 500 employees (about 5% of its workforce) as part of a restructuring.
    • The cuts will weigh on corporate units, according to CEO Tim Armstrong, while the company realigns toward mobile, video and data offerings.
    • That comes after AOL absorbed about 1,500 workers this year from an ad deal with Microsoft and its acquisition of Millennial Media -- and ahead of a planned Verizon purchase of Yahoo's Internet business. A Yahoo integration would kick off another round of plans.
    • AOL will be focused in two global business units: Media (which will hold content properties including the Huffington Post and TechCrunch), and Platforms (holding the ad tech operations).
    | Thu, Nov. 17, 10:15 AM | 7 Comments
  • Wed, Nov. 16, 3:56 PM
    • Perhaps seeing writing on the wall at the FCC, Chairman Tom Wheeler has dropped a planned reform of the the U.S. business data services market, a $45B industry occupied by key telecom infrastructure players.
    • Following pressure from Republicans on Congress' oversight panels, Wheeler pulled a vote on the BDS reform from tomorrow's agenda. Any measures approved in the next couple of months would face reversal if president-elect Donald Trump restocks the FCC as a Republican-majority panel.
    • Wheeler had already scaled back original plans for reforming BDS, a market that covers special access lines that run much of modern society (including ATMs and credit card readers among other financial networks, and hospital/school networks, as well as mobile backhaul).
    • Key BDS players are moving into the close: T +1.1%, VZ +1.2%, CTL -0.7%, FTR +3.8%, BT -0.7%.
    • Previously: With White House changing, set-top box reform may be on life support (Nov. 16 2016)
    • Previously: Frontier Communications issues statement on FCC fact sheet; FTR, CTL jump (Oct. 07 2016)
    | Wed, Nov. 16, 3:56 PM | 17 Comments
  • Wed, Nov. 16, 3:31 PM
    • With Donald Trump set to take over the White House, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's plan to reform the pay TV set-top box market is "95% dead," according to one analyst.
    • Wheeler's proposal to kill off the boxes met with opposition from the industry even after it was modified to be much closer to pay TV providers' app-focused approach. The FCC said the market for the boxes sat at $20B a year and that the cost of renting them had gone up 185% since 1994, while other consumer electronics dropped 90% in price over that period.
    • "I would say it's 95 percent dead," said Bloomberg Intelligence's Matthew Schettenhelm. "It's a very long road to get this done.”
    • House Republicans have asked Wheeler to focus on the ongoing broadcast incentive spectrum auction, and not to move forward with “complex and controversial items that the new Congress and Administration will have an interest in reviewing."
    • That includes an open item on Business Data Services as well, not to mention lengthy reviews ahead for AT&T/Time Warner and Level 3/CenturyLink deals.
    • Public Knowledge's Chris Lewis says it's too early to hold a funeral: "We don't know what Trump thinks about set-top boxes."
    • Previously: FCC pulls set-top box vote from today's meeting agenda (Sep. 29 2016)
    | Wed, Nov. 16, 3:31 PM | 33 Comments
  • Mon, Nov. 14, 6:15 PM
    • Verizon (VZ -1.1%) today acquired substantially all the assets of privately held LQD WiFi, the latest in a string of bolt-on acquisitions it's sought alongside its pursuit of Yahoo.
    • Financial terms weren't disclosed. The goal of the acquisition is enhancing "citizen engagement experiences" using LQD's Palo technology hubs in urban spaces -- kiosks that provide information including community news/info, wayfinding, public safety announcements, transit updates and upcoming events, along with free public Wi-Fi.
    • LQD and Verizon are designing solutions for municipalities, private developers, academic institutions and entertainment venues, the companies say.
    | Mon, Nov. 14, 6:15 PM | 4 Comments
  • Thu, Nov. 10, 1:23 AM
    • Some Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) employees were aware that a state-sponsored hacker had breached its network shortly after a massive hack in 2014, casting a larger shadow over Verizon's (NYSE:VZ) $4.8B deal to acquire the company.
    • Yahoo said in September that an investigation in August had uncovered the theft of personal information associated with at least a half billion accounts, the largest data breach in history.
    • SEC Form 10-Q
    | Thu, Nov. 10, 1:23 AM | 30 Comments
  • Wed, Nov. 9, 11:34 AM
    • While Time Warner is trading lower as investors digest a slimmer chance of a buyout by AT&T under a Trump administration, Sprint (NYSE:S) -- a company long thought to again become a merger prospect after a change in the White House -- is up 12.5% and hitting two-year highs today.
    • Its oft-discussed merger matchup partner, T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS) is up 3.8%.
    • Meanwhile, changes are likely coming to the FCC, Wells Fargo argues: It will at least be more conservative, if not working under new leadership soon; expecting Chairman Tom Wheeler to stay a full term is "no longer realistic."
    • "If the rhetoric of those surrounding Trump’s campaign rings true, we can expect a Republican FCC to make a big push to roll back some of the regulations put in place under President Obama such as the Title II/Net Neutrality rules," writes analyst Jennifer Fritzsche. "There may also be a push to roll back some or all of what the FCC just did on privacy."
    • "It’s unclear whether Chairman Wheeler will be able to act on the open items related to Business Data Services or set top box reform before he departs and if he does not, some suggest a Republican FCC will reverse course on these two items. There is also a big question on how a Trump FCC will view transactions including the recently announced T/TWX merger and the LVLT/CTL transaction."
    • LVLT +0.4%; CTL +0.5%. TWX -1%. Names tied to net neutrality: T, VZ, CMCSA, CHTR, OTCPK:ATCEY, CTL, FTR, CCOI, DISH.
    | Wed, Nov. 9, 11:34 AM | 219 Comments
  • Mon, Nov. 7, 10:30 AM
    • Verizon (VZ -0.1%) has closed on its $2.4B acquisition of Fleetmatics (NYSE:FLTX), and has incorporated it into its Verizon Telematics business.
    • The telecom had announced the $60/share acquisition on Aug. 1, at what analysts saw as a "healthy multiple."
    • Fleetmatics won't be traded on the NYSE any further. It brings 42,000 customers and about 826,000 subscribers to Verizon.
    • "With the close of this transaction, Verizon Telematics is squarely positioned as the global leader in fleet and mobile resource management, leveraging the combined strength of three world-class platforms, now serving every segment of the market," says Verizon Telematics chief Andrés Irlando.
    | Mon, Nov. 7, 10:30 AM | 8 Comments
  • Fri, Nov. 4, 2:14 PM
    • Verizon (VZ +0.6%) said today it's redeeming $2B in notes on Dec. 5.
    • The company's redeeming all of its outstanding 1.35% notes due 2017. Redemption price will be the sum of remaining present-value payments, discounted to the redemption date on a semiannual basis, at the Treasury Rate plus a make-whole premium of 10 basis points, along with accrued and unpaid interest.
    | Fri, Nov. 4, 2:14 PM | 11 Comments
  • Thu, Nov. 3, 10:37 AM
    • October monthly performance was: -2.87%
    • AUM of $1.24B
    • 52-week performance vs. the S&P 500 is: +5%
    • $0.18 in dividends were paid in October
    • Top 10 Holdings as of 9/30/2016: AT&T Inc (T): 5.35027%, Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM): 5.13076%, Verizon Communications Inc (VZ): 4.13129%, Chevron Corp (CVX): 3.71538%, General Electric Co (GE): 3.29251%, Procter & Gamble Co (PG): 3.2247%, Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT): 2.95756%, Pfizer Inc (PFE): 2.82962%, Philip Morris International Inc (PM): 2.75804%, Kinder Morgan Inc P (KMI): 2.44856%
    | Thu, Nov. 3, 10:37 AM