Thu, Feb. 26, 7:14 PM
- Aereo -- the streaming-TV service that cratered after it lost to broadcasters before the Supreme Court last summer -- hoped to get $4M-$31M at its bankruptcy auction, but were picked clean for less than $2M total by 10 bidders.
- TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO) picked up Aereo's customer list and trademark, and patent risk-management company RPX (NASDAQ:RPXC) got the patents. "We are very disappointed," said Aereo lawyer William Baldiga.
- Meanwhile in the key litigation, a lower court is determining how much in damages Aereo owes angry broadcasters (DIS, CBS, FOXA, CMCSA), and it's likely to be in the tens of millions of dollars.
Wed, Feb. 25, 8:39 PM
- The addition of Gregg Seibert, the former investment banker, as vice chairman of AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX) has folks talking about whether the network is now a much more likely candidate for an acquisition.
- "Clearly he is there to do deals," FBN Securities' Robert Routh says. "Either it's going to be a sale or a big acquisition or possibly a privatization. The question is, what is it?"
- Speculation has floated about AMC as a takeover target for some time, with CBS or Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) among the names listed as potential buyers.
- AMC has sported high-quality programming that's attractive to partners, including Mad Men, The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad, and has been garnering critical acclaim for its spinoff Better Call Saul, though as hits end, they'll need to be replenished. Rich Tullo at Albert Fried called for AMC to go with an a la carte service.
- AMCX announces earnings in the morning; expectations are for EPS of $1.01 on revenues of $603.1M.
Tue, Feb. 24, 6:39 PM
- Sandell Asset Management is reportedly pressing a familiar line with CBS: Spin off your radio stations and (in this case) merge them with Cumulus Media (NASDAQ:CMLS).
- While CBS chief Les Moonves has highlighted the cash flow and 40% margins provided by the 117 stations the company owns, Sandell suggests that in a reverse Morris Trust merger, CBS could divest an asset with a low tax base at low impact.
- Cumulus' takeaway? Scaling up to combined sales of $2.4B and a market cap of almost $5B.
- One headwind is Cumulus' leverage, at a ratio of 6.5x EBITDA after purchases of Citadel Broadcasting and WestwoodOne, while another is Sumner Redstone's grip on CBS' vote.
- After hours: CMLS +3.1%.
Mon, Feb. 23, 12:07 PM
- Among the additions to the index (which fuels the IBLN ETF) are EMC, Google (GOOG, GOOGL), Goodyear (NASDAQ:GT), Mohawk Industries (NYSE:MHK), PVH, Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO). There are three health care additions as well: Allergan (NYSE:AGN), Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN), and HCA. The lone energy name added is Consol Energy (NYSE:CNX).
- Exiting the index are energy names Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) and National-Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV), along with healthcare companies AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV), Aetna (NYSE:AET), Humana (NYSE:HUM), and Tenet Healthcare (NYSE:THC). Citigroup (NYSE:C), CBS, Crown Castle (NYSE:CCI), and Michael Kors (NYSE:KORS) round out those subtracted.
- IBLN tracks the highest-conviction S&P 500 picks by hot-handed billionaires who built their fortunes through hedge funds and investing. The list of billionaires tracked is updated each October, and the equity components are rebalanced each quarter after sifting through regulatory filings.
- IBillionaire Index Rebalance
Wed, Feb. 18, 11:41 AM
- Appaloosa Fund's equity holdings stood at $4.049B as of year-end, down from $9.058B at the end of Q1 2014, according to Whalewisdom.com. Among the stakes cut back in Q4 were those in Citibank (C -0.4%), Halliburton (HAL -0.3%), Facebook (FB +1.2%), and CBS Corp. (CBS -0.3%).
- The big drop doesn't necessarily mean Tepper's turning bearish on U.S. stocks, but instead it was reported late last year of his intention to return up to $4B in capital to investors in an effort to maintain an optimum size for the fund.
- Previously: David Tepper returning billions to investors after tough year (Nov. 25, 2014)
Thu, Feb. 12, 7:06 PM
- Following earnings, Time Warner's (TWX +2.8%) got another challenge ahead in negotiations for programming renewals with Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC).
- With distributors slimming down packages (and programming costs), economies of scale are likely to play in Time Warner's favor vs. smaller programmers.
- The same dynamic is driving chatter around a CBS merger with Viacom (VIA, VIAB) or even TWX -- the need for size to get more mojo in negotiations with stingier distribution channels.
- An increasing factor is the gradual unbundling of programming from traditional distributors through services like Sling TV, or subscription services from CBS and HBO.
- TWX's outlook looks increasingly dependent on accelerating revenue growth -- "which is likely to require successful renegotiation of the last two major domestic (pay-TV) deals and highly successful box office performance," says Pacific Crest's Andy Hargreaves.
- Previously: Dish opens Sling TV signups for all U.S. viewers (Feb. 09 2015)
Thu, Feb. 12, 4:41 PM
- CBS was trading 3.4% higher after hours as it logged revenues of $3.68B, a Q4 record for them, driven by 4% ad revenue gains they attributed to Thursday Night Football and political ads for the midterm elections.
- "A very strong quarter with growth in both revenue and EPS and at the heart of it all is the increased demand for our content," says President and CEO Les Moonves, pointing to the No. 1 broadcast network and expanding global reach for Showtime.
- Operating income fell to $707M (including restructuring charges of about $20M) compared with the prior year's $715M.
- Revenues by segment: Entertainment, $2.26B (up 2%); Cable Networks, $499M (up 4.6%); Publishing, $215M (down 4%); Local Broadcasting, $785M (up 9%); and Eliminations, -$78M.
- Revenue by type: Advertising, $2.15B (up 4%); Content licensing and distribution, $873M (down 2.8%); Affiliate and subscription fees, $601M (up 10.9%); Other, $60M.
- Free cash flow grew to $880M from the prior year's $280M. The company issued $1.75B in senior notes to roll over higher-interest debt in 2014.
- The firm doubled up on buybacks, repurchasing $800M in shares in Q4, and have a $1B buyback target for Q1.
- Press release
Thu, Feb. 12, 4:07 PM
Thu, Feb. 12, 4:04 PM
- As investors try to calculate what it means to Viacom (VIA, VIAB) to lose valued talent like Jon Stewart, former (interim) Yahoo CEO Ross Levinsohn claims Stewart is a $100M brand even as a stand-alone offering.
- If Stewart goes straight to consumers with a $0.50/show deal and does 16 shows a month, with 1M subscribers he's almost there, Levinsohn notes, pointing to building momentum for direct deals: "We are at a tipping point for Millennials in the media business."
- Meanwhile Dana Blankenhorn argues that losing a "tent pole" in Stewart should hasten consolidation for Viacom -- again, possibly through a remarriage with CBS.
- In today's trading: (VIA +1%), (VIAB +0.8%)
Thu, Feb. 12, 10:53 AM
- TrueCar projects automakers that advertised during the Super Bowl saw a meaningful sales lift.
- Despite the high cost of the in-game spots (~$4.5M), automotive ads performed well this year based on tracking of sales following the game.
- Projected SB market share boosts: Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY) +40 bps, Kia (OTC:HYMLF) +30 bps, Mercedes-Benz (OTCPK:DDAIF) +20 bps, Jeep (NYSE:FCAU) +10 bps.
- Analysis from TrueCar indicates Super Bowl marketing spending was much more effective than untargeted incentive spending.
- The development could be a boost for CBS (NYSE:CBS) which has the TV rights to the game next year.
Wed, Feb. 11, 5:35 PM
Mon, Feb. 9, 7:36 PM
- While content is said to be king, don't overlook distributors in the television landscape, says Kiplinger's Miriam Cross in a look at which TV stocks have appeal in a landscape buffeted by consolidation and structural change in the likely face of new regulations.
- While it's tempting to stick to content providers in cable -- “Quality content will always find an outlet,” says Morningstar's Neil Macker -- Cross says cablecos have maintained high leverage including on-demand viewing and a strong grip on broadband subscriptions.
- She notes Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is valuable even if a planned merger with Time Warner Cable fails, due in part to its move into content via its NBC purchase, as well as an increasing dividend and buybacks.
- Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) she likes as a pure content play that, like Comcast, boasts heavy repurchasing. And CBS boasts some diverse revenue streams as well as strong broadcast ratings and key sports rights.
- Previously: Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal up in the air? (Feb. 09 2015)
- Previously: Moonves dampens enthusiasm for CBS-Time Warner merger (Feb. 06 2015)
Fri, Feb. 6, 11:40 AM
- "There's a lot of noise out there," says CBS CEO Les Moonves about the chatter around a CBS merger with Viacom (NASDAQ:VIA) or Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), but "Right now, we are very happy being alone." Sounds like a line from a Hollywood rom-com -- particularly considering CBS split off from Viacom in 2006, which would technically make that a reunion.
- Moonves did acknowledge on CNBC that CBS is closer to TWX than any other company -- the two co-own the CW network and Warner Bros. supplies plenty of shows to CBS TV.
- With regard to its non-broadcast assets, particularly including CBS Television Studios and Showtime, Moonves notes content will be as important to the company's future as advertising.
- And he plugged the network's 2016 coverage of Super Bowl 50 by praising NBC's production this year: "It's the one day of the year we root for them. ... We have Super Bowl 50 and our ad rates, which are going to begin north of $5M for a 30-second television spot, are based on their great ratings."
- Moonves recently re-upped with CBS until June 2019.
- Today: (CBS +2.2%); (CMCSA +0.6%); (VIA +1.2%)
- More CBS on CNBC
Fri, Jan. 30, 9:05 AM
Wed, Jan. 21, 1:00 PM
- Dish Networks (DISH -0.2%) won a significant court battle in L.A. against Fox Broadcasting over the company's Dish Anywhere app.
- The ruling from a federal judge applied some of the principles from the Supreme Court's look at the Aereo case.
- The opinion from the court indicated that watching content on mobile devices and tablets through Dish Anywhere doesn't qualify as a breach of copyright law.
- The use of Dish's PrimeTime Anytime and AutoHop features were also deemed as fair use.
- Many programmers seemed to have anticipated the legal decision and already negotiated with Dish to disable ad-skipping for a period of time after a show airs.
- The ruling is sure to have been noticed on Madison Avenue where the largest (and smarter?) ad spenders continue to increase digital spending over broadcast/cable TV buys.
- Big advertisers: MCD, PG, BUD, WMT, TGT, K, GIS, TM, GM.
- Programmers: CBS, TWX, FOXA, SNI, AMCX, VIA , VIAB, DISCA.
Wed, Jan. 21, 11:35 AM
- Analysts think Viacom (VIA, VIAB) stands exposed to protracted carriage fee battles with some indications out there that pay-TV subscribers won't flinch if the company's programming is pulled from packages.
- A combination of Viacom with a complementary programmer such as CBS (CBS +0.3%) or Discovery Communications (DISCA +1.3%) would give it some extra negotiating clout and make it more attractive to consumers as skinny bundle come online.
CBS vs. ETF Alternatives
CBS Corp operates businesses within the media and entertainment industries, including the CBS Television Network, cable networks, content production and distribution, television and radio stations, Internet-based businesses, and consumer publishing.
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