Tue, Mar. 17, 5:22 PM
- Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) shareholders approved share issuance connected to divestiture deals with Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and its plans to acquire Time Warner Cable.
- Stockholders signed off on issuing shares of "New Charter" as it acquires 33% of Midwest Cable ("Greatland Connections"), after that entity spins off to Comcast shareholders.
- The series of tax-efficient transactions is designed to reduce Comcast's post-merger subscriber total to less than 30% of national MVPD subscribers.
- Today: CMCSA -1%; CHTR -1.4%.
Tue, Mar. 17, 2:03 PM
- With the proposed merger of Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) getting all the oxygen from the post-net-neutrality FCC, the $48.5B deal that AT&T (NYSE:T) has to acquire DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) appears to be getting a relatively free pass.
- Both deals will create a company controlling more than a quarter of pay TV -- so it may be Internet access that's drawing extra scrutiny. The combined Comcast-TWC company would serve high-speed Internet to almost 40% of Americans.
- Even FCC petitions opposing the deals are telling: 20 against Comcast-TWC, five against AT&T-DirecTV. And 88,000 brief comments opposing Comcast-TWC, 14,000 opposing AT&T-DirecTV.
- One critic of the T-DTV deal told Reuters that Justice Department reviewers responded in a meeting with "few questions" and "blank stares."
- Today: CMCSA -0.7%; TWC -1%; T +0.1%; DTV +0.2%.
- Previously: FCC pauses review of Comcast-TWC, AT&T-DTV; likely weeks away (Mar. 13 2015)
- Previously: Brean downgrades DirecTV to Hold; AT&T offer priced in (Feb. 23 2015)
Fri, Mar. 13, 4:28 PM
- As signaled before, the FCC has paused the 180-day "shot clock" on reviewing two megamergers -- Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) deal for Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), and AT&T's (NYSE:T) deal to buy DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) -- as it's tied up with another case over programming contracts.
- The review of the deals was set to expire by the end of March, but now may take somewhat longer, likely several more weeks.
- The cause is the ongoing dispute with programming firms -- Disney (NYSE:DIS), CBS, Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA), Viacom (VIA, VIAB) and others -- over whether third parties commenting on the mergers will get access to private documents containing sensitive pricing and strategy information.
- The FCC has argued it has sufficient protections to keep those details from getting out. But the merger reviews now appear to be dependent entirely on that case's timetable.
- "In reaching this conclusion, the commission reserves the right to restart the clock as it believes will best serve the public interest," the FCC said.
Mon, Feb. 9, 4:00 AM
- Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable's (NYSE:TWC) $45B merger still remains in limbo, with the DOJ and FCC scrutinizing the deal and Tom Wheeler's new net neutrality proposal.
- Investors began betting against the combination late last month, with shares of both companies falling sharply before recovering last week.
- If regulators allow the deal as is, the merged company would control about 35% of the country’s broadband Internet service coverage and just under 30% of pay television subscribers.
- Previously: Concerns grow over Comcast/Time Warner Cable combo (Feb. 02 2015)
- Previously: FCC pauses review of Comcast-Time Warner merger (Dec. 23 2014)
Tue, Feb. 3, 12:06 PM
- Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) is up 2.3% after Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed its Buy rating on the stock ahead of Charter's Thursday earnings report.
- Canaccord thinks Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) purchase will get done, sending 1.4M customers Charter's way as the combined Comcast-TWC divests them.
- Canaccord's $182 price target is a 15.5% premium to Charter's current trading price of $157.59.
Mon, Feb. 2, 3:48 PM
- Investors are getting nervier about Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) $45B deal for Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), Maureen Farrell notes.
- TWC isn't just down nearly 10% YTD -- it's 10% below Comcast's offer value.
- The FCC's recent broadband redefinition changes anticompetitive concerns as well: Using the old definition, the two cablecos controlled some 35-40% of the market, but the new definition means controlling 57% of the market. Comcast could step away if regulators get too demanding.
- Both companies are showing optimism and extended the deal's "end date" to Aug. 12.
- Previously: TWC misses expectations as video subs continue exodus (Jan. 29 2015)
Dec. 31, 2014, 8:42 AM
- Streaming: Sony (NYSE:SNE), HBO (NYSE:TWX), CBS (NYSE:CBS), and Dish Networks (NASDAQ:DISH) are set to unveil streaming products in 2015. The theory of the companies that the skinny bundles will draw in more cord-cutters and cord-nevers than they will cannibalize current pay-TV subscribers will be put to the test. The rush of streaming options could help or hurt Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) depending upon which analysis an investor leans on.
- Theater traffic rebound: Exhibitors (CNK, RGC, AMC, CKEC, IMAX) and movie studios (LGF, VIA, VIAB, DIS, FOXA, CMCSA, TWX) maintain that the decline in theater attendance in 2014 (-6%) was due to a slate of films light on blockbusters. A bounce is forecast for 2015 with high-profile films such as Avengers: The Age of Ultron, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Fifty Shades of Grey, Jurassic World, Spectre (James Bond), and Mission Impossible 5 all set to premiere - along with the reboot of the Star Wars franchise in December. Capex spending on theater upgrades could also help boost in-theater spending and average ticket price for exhibitors.
- Mergers: If regulators allow the Comcast-Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) and AT&T-DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) mergers to sail through it could clear a path for other media combinations, note analysts. Potential buyers include Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), Wanda Group, Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBY), and a TWX-rebuffed 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA). Content producers which could be targets include Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA), Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF), DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA), AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX), and Scripps Networks (NYSE:SNI). A split-up Madison Square Garden (NASDAQ:MSG) could also be enticing.
Dec. 23, 2014, 1:52 AM
- The FCC is again pausing its review of the proposed $45B merger of Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), citing delays in getting documents from the latter.
- Imposing an informal 180-day countdown for the review, the FCC is determining whether combining the cable companies is in the public interest.
- Time Warner Cable has promised to produce the missing documents, but the agency is pausing the review at day 104 until Jan. 12, saying it needs extra time to study new submissions.
Nov. 13, 2014, 3:12 AM
- Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is pushing "full steam ahead" with its acquisition of Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), despite the regulatory review process and looming regulation governing net neutrality.
- Comcast expected the deal to be completed “sometime in the first quarter and we still believe that today,” says CEO Brian Roberts.
- Roberts reiterated that Comcast opposes the proposals to classify broadband providers as utilities, which would endanger the company's plans to spend tens of billions of dollars to upgrade its networks.
Sep. 12, 2014, 12:39 PM
- Blackstone (BX -1%), Bain Capital, and Comcast's (CMCSA) NBCUniversal purchased Weather Channel in 2008 for about $3.5B, and they've reached out to bankers to discuss strategic options, including a possible sale, reports Bloomberg.
- A cable network could be a possible buyer of Weather Channel, while the company's weather data could be sold separately, according to one of Bloomberg's sources. Together, the businesses have a value of at least $3.5B, says the source.
- Available in more than 100M U.S. homes, Weather Channel averaged 214K daily viewers in 2013, down from 264K in 2011.
- Previously: WSJ: Hilton helps Weather Channel, DirecTV resolve difference
Jul. 9, 2014, 8:42 AM
- Select media stocks could see some volatility this week with the Allen & Co. Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho expected to get some M&A rumors kickstarted.
- This year's affair arrives with two mega-mergers (AT&T-DirecTV and Comcast-Time Warner Cable) looming large in the industry, and in a development which bodes well for content owners, will be attended by tech heavyweights such as Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, Netflix's (NFLX) Reed Hastings, and Twitter's Dick Costolo.
- The eclectic mix also includes Warren Buffett and NBA commissioner Adam Silver who will chat up media execs with the NBA TV contract up for bid soon.
- Analysts expect the Allen conference to be high on stock-moving rumors, but light on binding deals.
- Rumored deals: A Discovery Communications (DISCA)-Scripps Networks Interactive (SNI) merger; Verizon (VZ) taking a run at Hulu (DIS, CMCSA, FOXA); 21st Century Fox (FOXA) offering a hefty premium for Time Warner (TWX).
- Related ETF: PBS
May. 29, 2014, 4:15 AM
- Sprint (S) Chairman Masayoshi Son reasons that the rise in telecom and cable mergers should allow his company to buy rival T-Mobile (TMUS). Three big mergers have taken place in recent months with Verizon (VZ) acquiring Vodafone (VOD) for $130B, Comcast (CMCSA) buying Time Warner Cable (TWC) for $45B, and the AT&T (T) purchase of DirecTV (DTV) for $49B.
- "Access to the Internet is currently dominated by three giants with no sizable competitor," says Son.
- Although the company has not yet made a formal bid on T-Mobile, it looks to lay the framework for a future purchase.
- Antitrust authorities have previously frowned on such a deal, as it would cut the number of national competitors in the wireless industry to three from four.
May. 11, 2014, 5:05 AM
- Time Warner has held discussions to buy popular YouTube video network Fullscreen, Bloomberg reports.
- Fullsreen, which is backed by Peter Chernin, Comcast Ventures (CMCSA) and WPP, is looking to receive a similar price that Disney has agreed to pay for another Youtube network, Maker Studios. Disney was to hand over $500M upfront and another $450M in milestones.
- Fullscreen has 380M subscribers and draws over 3B monthly video views. It generated $50-70M in revenue last year but it isn't profitable.
Apr. 28, 2014, 6:57 AM
- Charter (CHTR) will acquire 1.4M existing Time Warner Cable (TWC) customers, giving it 5.7M in total and making it the second-largest cable operator in the U.S.
- Charter and Comcast (CMCSA) will also each transfer approximately 1.6M subs respectively.
- Charter will acquire 33% in a new publicly-traded cable provider that Comcast will spin off to its shareholders and that will serve 2.5M customers. Charter will pay for the stake by issuing new stock to Comcast shareholders.
- After all the deals are finalized, Charter's managed residential subscribers will be below 30% of the U.S.'s total MVPD (multichannel video programming) subscribers.
- The value of the Comcast-Charter transactions wasn't provided, but the FT put a figure of $20B when it published a mostly accurate report about them over the weekend, prior to an official announcement today. (PR)
Apr. 28, 2014, 6:10 AM
Apr. 27, 2014, 1:39 AM
- Comcast (CMCSA) could this week announce a $20B three-part deal to divest subscribers as part of its attempt to assuage antitrust concerns about its proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable (TWC), the FT reports.
- Comcast would sell 1.4M subscribers from TWC's network to Charter (CHTR), while Comcast would also place 2.5M subscribers in a new company in which Charter would own 35%. Comcast and Charter would then swap 1.65M customers.
- The transactions are contingent on Comcast receiving approval for its takeover of TWC.
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