Seeking Alpha, Inc. (AMZN)

  • Tue, Apr. 14, 2:48 PM
    • "[W]e believe Amazon's (AMZN +0.6%) fulfillment strategy is helping the company deliver a superior customer experience (which should drive unit and revenue growth) while extracting optimal value from each customer," writes Jefferies' Brian Pitz. His target has been hiked by $65 to $465, and his 2016 EPS estimate to $2.46 from $1.03.
    • Pitz asserts Amazon's huge fulfillment investments (often criticized over the years) enable "increasing scale efficiencies and much better control of the customer experience & service levels" relative to e-commerce rivals, and have allowed it to offer "the broadest selection of fulfillment options at the lowest prices." He also notes the spending has helped Amazon expand into local commerce (e.g. AmazonFresh and Prime Now).
    • Like others, he also sees AWS (an estimated ~6% of current revenue) acting as a growth driver, and believes it has a better margin profile than Amazon overall. Pitz's target is equal to 14x his 2016 EBITDA estimate; he forecasts a 30% EBITDA CAGR from 2015-2018.
    • The note comes ahead of Amazon's April 23 Q1 report. Shares blasted off in January following a Q4 EPS beat made possible by gross margin gains and slower spending growth. Fulfillment spend rose 17% Y/Y in Q4 vs. 30% in Q3.
  • Tue, Apr. 14, 2:54 AM
    • Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and HarperCollins (NASDAQ:NWSA) have reached a new multi-year publishing deal - expected to go into effect this week - that covers both print and digital titles.
    • The agreement calls for HarperCollins to set the retail prices of its digital books, with incentives for HarperCollins to provide lower prices to consumers.
    • In November, Amazon ended its brutal battle with Hachette over print and e-books, following a six month stand-off that battered the French-owned publisher’s sales.
    • Previously: HarperCollins next to collide with Amazon on e-books (Apr. 02 2015)
  • Sat, Apr. 11, 7:04 PM
    • Following an NYT column featuring remarks from exec Bill Hilf that that were taken to suggest HP (NYSE:HPQ) is exiting the public cloud infrastructure (IaaS) market, HP has told CRN it remains committed to the space. However, the IT giant adds (echoing Hilf's remarks) it's "not competing head-to-head with the big public cloud players," such as Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).
    • HP's comments follow the February departure of top cloud exec Marten Mickos (joined via the Eucalyptus acquisition), and the splitting of his responsibilities between Hilf and two other execs. The company entered the public cloud market in 2012, and (like many other enterprise IT firms) has been a backer of the OpenStack IaaS platform (pitched as an open-source alternative to Amazon/Google/Microsoft's proprietary offerings). HP asserts it has the largest OpenStack public cloud in existence.
    • HP's stance arguably highlights the challenges traditional enterprise IT names face in countering the cost and scale advantages possessed by IaaS market leaders, who have often eschewed the hardware of IT giants in favor of cheap white-label hardware produced by Asian contract manufacturers. HP has partnered with Taiwan's Foxconnn and Accton to offer white-box gear for cloud providers.
    • Synergy Research estimates the broader "cloud infrastructure service" market (covers IaaS and PaaS, as well as private and hybrid clouds) grew 48% in 2014 to $16B, as more on-premise workloads get migrated to cloud environments and various cloud service providers relying on IaaS/PaaS infrastructures see rapid growth. Amazon towered over the space with a near-30% share, close to 3x that of #2 Microsoft. IBM, Google, and Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) rounded out the top 5.
  • Thu, Apr. 9, 7:23 PM
    • Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ:AMZN) has expanded its cloud storage service lineup by launching Elastic File System, a solution that lets multiple cloud computing (EC2) virtual machines use a common file system that automatically scales as more storage is needed, and can be managed with 3rd-party tools.
    • Amazon argues the solution allows entire file systems to be handled the way that individual storage objects have been through its popular S3 object storage service. It sees "content repositories, development environments, web server farms, home directories, and Big Data applications" (all of which can contain a lot of files) as potential use cases.
    • Also launching: Amazon Machine Learning, a service that lets developers create predictive models leveraging large amounts of data. The service aims to put machine learning tools (an area of interest for both Web giants and many startups) within the reach of developers lacking expertise in the field. It follows the launch of Kinesis, a service that provides real-time processing of huge data streams, and Redshift, a data warehousing service.
    • In addition, two previously-announced services - Lambda, which automatically runs code in response to events, and the EC2 Container Service, a management service for Docker containers (lighweight virtual machines, increasingly popular), are now generally available.
    • Amazon, widely seen as having a feature set lead over cloud infrastructure rivals, had 2014 "Other" revenue (AWS-dominated) of $5.6B (+42% Y/Y). AWS revenue will be broken out by itself starting with Amazon's Q1 report.
    • Prior AWS service launches: Aurora (an enterprise-class database), Zocalo (a cloud storage/file-sharing platform for corporate users), WorkMail (a cloud corporate e-mail platform)
  • Tue, Apr. 7, 7:13 PM
    • In a sign of the times, SolarWinds (NYSE:SWI) has made its Database Performance Analyzer (DPA) app, which monitors/optimizes the performance of Oracle, Microsoft, SAP, and IBM databases, available on companies using Amazon Web Services (NASDAQ:AMZN), by far the world's biggest public cloud infrastructure (IaaS) platform.
    • AWS support is one of the features provided in a DPA update that also includes the ability to simultaneously monitor hundreds of database instances (whether on-premise or in the cloud), and the ability to annotate configuration changes and link them to performance changes.
    • The AWS version of DPA (monitors databases running on the platform) is available through a machine image offered on the AWS Marketplace; SolarWinds claims it can be deployed in minutes. Amazon announced last November AWS' customer base has topped 1M.
    • Last June: SolarWinds buys website monitoring software firm Pingdom
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  • Thu, Apr. 2, 5:57 PM
    • (NASDAQ:AMZN) clashed with book publisher Hachette in a lengthy skirmish last year over e-book pricing, and now with its own contract lapsing, HarperCollins (NASDAQ:NWSA) seems ready to try wrestling with the retail giant.
    • Amazon says it's offering HarperCollins the same deal that Hachette, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan recently agreed to. But HarperCollins has its own online sales operations, after a move last summer to sell most of its inventory on its site, as well as deals with Amazon e-publishing competitors.
    • In the publishing clashes, Jeff Bezos has maintained e-books are too expensive; a way out in this negotiation (and considering Amazon's size, some kind of resolution seems likely) may come if Amazon agrees to loosen its tight grip on customer data.
  • Tue, Mar. 31, 3:16 AM
    • Swiss luxury group Richemont (OTCPK:CFRUY) says it will merge its Net-a-Porter unit with Italian fashion site Yoox (OTCPK:YXOXY) in an all-share deal aimed at gaining a larger share of the fast-growing online luxury market.
    • A report last week suggested that Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) was in talks to buy the online luxury retailer.
    • Richemont said it will receive 50% of the combined entity, but its voting rights will be limited to 25% to preserve the unit's independence.
    • Yoox shares are up 7.1% in Italy.
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  • Tue, Mar. 31, 2:22 AM
    • Looking to lift off its drone program, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has hired the former number-two executive at the Air Line Pilots Association.
    • Sean Cassidy, an Alaska Air pilot and former member of a TSA aviation-security advisory committee, will oversee "partner relationships" at Amazon's Prime Air program, which intends to use drones to make unmanned deliveries within about 10 miles of a warehouse.
    • Previously: FAA gives go-ahead for Amazon drone tests (Mar. 20 2015)
  • Mon, Mar. 30, 12:07 PM
    • Four months after the company started promoting local services to its customers, Amazon (AMZN +0.8%) has launched a Home Services site with the help of partners such as TaskRabbit, Pep Boys, and TakeLesons. Market leader Angie's List (ANGI -4.6%) isn't reacting well to the news.
    • Amazon exec Peter Faricy: "We have 85 million Amazon customers who have shopped for products this past year that often require a service afterwards." 700 services are initially supported; much like Angie's List, Amazon argues it helps connect consumers with trustworthy businesses. Only 3 out of every 100 professionals in each metro are said to be accepted, with Amazon making sure each business is licensed, insured, and passes a background check.
    • The e-commerce giant also claims it only takes 60 seconds for a customer to buy a service. Faricy: "We have standardized and prepackaged all of our service offerings. So you know exactly what is going to be done and how much it’s going to cost you, up front, no surprises."
    • 41 states are currently supported; Amazon wants to provide strong coverage across the 30 biggest U.S. metro areas. The Verge notes a beta version of Amazon's site suggests the company is taking a 20% cut on standard services, 15% on custom services, and 10% on recurring services.
  • Fri, Mar. 27, 1:49 AM
    • Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is in talks to buy online luxury retailer Net-a-Porter in what could be the biggest acquisition yet for the e-commerce giant, Women's Wear Daily reports.
    • Amazon has long coveted the high-end fashion retail sector and any deal for Net-a-Porter, which is owned by Swiss firm Compagnie Financire Richemont (OTCPK:CFRUY), could come with an approximate €2B price tag.
  • Thu, Mar. 26, 7:01 AM
    • Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) announces the expansion of Prime Now to the Dallas area.
    • The company says Prime customers in the city will now have the option to receive one-hour delivery on thousands of items.
    • The service runs from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and costs $7.99 for the 60-minute delivery option.
    • Prime Now rolled out in Manhattan last December.
  • Tue, Mar. 24, 9:35 AM
    • Fresh & Easy is closing stores in advance of launching a fresh-food convenience store chain.
    • 30 stores in California by F&E will be shuttered as part of the initiative.
    • Though details on the new C-store venture are scant, Apple store designer ADMI is reportedly working on the project.
    • Fresh & Easy is owned by P-E firm Yucaipa which bought the chain from Tesco after it bled money under the direction of the British retail giant.
    • Fresh & Easy has rebranded some stores in the U.S. under the Wild Oats banner and has been mentioned as an IPO candidate.
    • The success of the new C-store fresh food chain will be closely watched by a large number of retail and grocery companies which could partner, mimic, or ignore the concept.
    • Sprouts Farmers Market (NASDAQ:SFM), Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM), Kroger (NYSE:KR), The Fresh Market (NASDAQ:TFM), Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage (NYSE:NGVC), and Fairway Group (NASDAQ:FWM) all have some skin in the game.
    • There's also Target (NYSE:TGT), Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), and Costco (NASDAQ:COST) which are stressing both "fresh" and "easy" with their grocery strategy.
    • AmazonFresh (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Instacart are also looking to captivate fresh food buyers with their models.
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  • Tue, Mar. 24, 2:55 AM
    • Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Twitch unit has announced that its website for streaming videogame play was likely hacked, and users' account and personal information may have been compromised.
    • As a result of the breach, the company said it expired passwords and stream keys, and disconnected accounts from Twitter and YouTube.
    • Twitch, which has about 100M viewers on average per month, was bought by Amazon last year for $970M .
  • Fri, Mar. 20, 2:15 AM
    • The FAA has granted Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) approval to test a delivery drone outdoors, allowing test flights over private, rural land in Washington state.
    • The company also received an exemption from certain flight restrictions, but must keep flights below 400 feet and the drone in sight.
    • Amazon's "Prime Air" program looks like it now has the opportunity to get off the ground, after being jeopardized in February under the FAA's commercial drone rules.
  • Thu, Mar. 19, 6:20 AM
    • Feeling pressure from Shopify and Bigcommerce, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is shuttering its Webstore business, Re/code reports, giving its Webstore customers more than a year to find a new vendor before it kills off the service.
    • The e-commerce business helps small and midsize retailers gain a competitive edge and create and run their own online shops.
  • Sat, Mar. 14, 8:00 AM
    • Sony Pictures Television (NYSE:SNE) is within a few weeks of a deal to sell the episode library of hit '90s sitcom Seinfeld to a video streaming service: Hulu (CMCSA, DIS, FOXA), Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), or (NASDAQ:AMZN), and thus maybe to a whole new generation of viewers.
    • Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) won't be among them, though, as it's passing -- which gives competitors a chance to nab a TV crown jewel and make up some ground in a content-acquisition arms race.
    • Seinfeld -- a show that has generated more than $2.7B in syndication sales alone -- has 180 episodes, each of which should draw well over $500K in what should be a long multi-year agreement.
    • While Sony has distribution rights and is making the deal, most of the revenue would likely go to Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), owner of Seinfeld producer Castle Rock Entertainment.
    • Previously: Now a friendly deal between Time Warner and Netflix (Oct. 15 2014)
    • Previously: CBS next to join Sony's online TV service (Nov. 06 2014)
    • Previously: Bernstein: Amazon spending $2.5B+ on content next year (Oct. 13 2014)
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Company Description Inc is an online retailer. The Company sells its products through the website which provides services, such as advertising services and co-branded credit card agreements. It also offerselectronic devices like Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets.
Sector: Technology
Country: United States