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Comcast Corporation (CMCSA)

- NASDAQ
  • Yesterday, 7:21 PM
    • Publisher Vox Media has announced it's acquiring Re/code, the tech news site led by Wall Street Journal veterans Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, in an all-stock deal -- though Quartz has reignited speculation from earlier this spring that Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), an investor in both, could end up owning it all.
    • Comcast had been in talks to acquire Vox Media (the publisher of sports blog network SB Nation, tech site The Verge, food network Eater and an eponymous news/analysis site, among others), though the sticking point seems to have been Vox's wish for a near-$1B valuation. Vox has raised about $110M in the past six years, and its last funding round valued it around $380M.
    • The cable giant gave its blessing to Vox's Re/code acquisition months ago, Quartz reports. But Re/code is smaller and easier to swallow; Vox may need a big buyer like Comcast, or to go the IPO route.
    • Elsewhere at Comcast, NBCUniversal is putting together a sports documentary film group -- a move that puts it into the territory of HBO's longer-form sports reporting, as well as ESPN, though NBC will draw more from in-house film talent. It'll lean on its award-winning Olympics unit and, unsurprisingly, feature a strong Olympics focus.
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  • Thu, May 21, 6:04 PM
    • Giving some key hope to suitors for Time Warner Cable not named Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler placed individual calls to various cable execs -- including TWC's Rob Marcus and Charter's Tom Rutledge -- to say the agency's not against any and all deals just because it kiboshed Comcast's, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.
    • Wheeler reportedly wanted to clarify the FCC stance amid industry confusion about just how much consolidation it would support, and said that each potential deal would be judged on its merits.
    • Wheeler did express that he's like to see more competition from companies that traditionally haven't battled in the same geographies, and encouraged the prospect of cablecos "overbuilding" into each other's service areas, according to the WSJ.
    • With TWC looking like the key catch, its stock has risen 8.9% over the past month.
    • Consolidation prospects: TWC, CHTR, OTC:ATCEY, CVC, CTL, FTR, WIN, FRP, CBB
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  • Tue, May 19, 9:10 PM
    • France's Altice (OTC:ATCEY) isn't only looking at a multibillion-dollar buy of U.S. cableco Suddenlink -- it's also checking out Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) and has had initial talks with them about a deal.
    • It's an uptick in high-stakes negotiations for the future cable/broadband industry, and those negotiations could pit billionaire Altice founder Patrick Drahi against another titan, John Malone, who would back Charter (NASDAQ:CHTR) in its own deal for TWC.
    • Similar to Charter's approach -- where a deal for Bright House Networks would precede a TWC purchase -- Altice's deal for Suddenlink would be a precursor to its own bid.
    • Time Warner Cable had moved up 1.3% in after-hours action, putting it just above $160/share -- above the $132.50/share that Charter bid for the company in early 2014, and the roughly $158.82 that Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) was offering in its failed bid.
    • Previously: WSJ: Altice in talks for $8B-$10B buy of Suddenlink (May. 19 2015)
    • Previously: Reuters: Charter's $10.4B Bright House buy on track (May. 18 2015)
    • Previously: WSJ: Charter seeking up to $30B in debt for a TWC deal (May. 09 2015)
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  • Tue, May 12, 6:04 PM
    • Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) is still in active talks to buy No. 6 cableco Bright House Networks, Bloomberg reports, despite the unwinding of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable (CMCSA, TWC) deal that the original Charter-Bright House agreement was contingent on.
    • The two companies have an exclusivity agreement that lasts through much of this month and may continue talking after that, sources said.
    • A Bright House purchase might set up Charter for its own (re-)pursuit of Time Warner Cable, though such an arrangement would bring together a complicated set of interests, including TWC shareholders as well as Charter's John Malone and Bright House mogul Si Newhouse.
    • Despite Charter's exclusivity period, Time Warner Cable (which has a tight operating relationship with Bright House) can match any offer for Bright House due to first-look provisions.
    • Previously: Reuters: Bright House out of Charter merger deal (May. 07 2015)
    • Previously: 'As the Cable Turns': Industry deal talk turns to Bright House (Apr. 30 2015)
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  • Thu, May 7, 6:27 PM
    • Bright House Networks is going to walk away from its $10.4B deal to be bought by Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR), Reuters reports.
    • The deal was contingent on a successful Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) purchase of Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) -- a plan that was dropped two weeks ago -- but it did have a 30-day renegotiation period. Negotiations still formally continue, but Bright House (the nation's sixth-largest cable operator) looks to be out in any case.
    • As another step in the day-to-day consolidation soap opera of "As the Cable Turns," it's important to note that Time Warner Cable has a tight relationship with Newhouse-family owned Bright House: TWC negotiates Bright House's programming and technology deals for a fee, and has right of first offer on the Newhouses' cable systems.
    • Previously: WSJ: Charter reaches out to TWC for friendly deal (May. 04 2015)
    • Previously: Charter off 1.1%; loss widens amid Comcast-TWC failure (May. 01 2015)
    • Previously: 'As the Cable Turns': Industry deal talk turns to Bright House (Apr. 30 2015)
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  • Wed, May 6, 1:08 PM
    • On stage in general session at the Internet & Television Expo (INTX), panel moderator Julia Boorstin assembled nearly all major cable CEOs and pressed them on hot M&A issues.
    • Most were circumspect -- "The world's full of possibilities, but I can't tell you any of them," said Charter (NASDAQ:CHTR) CEO Tom Rutledge -- but James Dolan, CEO of Cablevision (CVC +6%), wasn't, urging market-by-market consolidation instead, starting with CVC's home market of New York City.
    • “Consolidation of that marketplace would provide, one, a great deal of ingenuity and much more access to resources for the customers and lower prices,” he said, suggesting specifically that he'd deal with Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), "and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and other operators."
    • Shares moved up 6% after his comments on indications that Cablevision might sell to a suitable acquirer.
    • Previously: WSJ: Charter reaches out to TWC for friendly deal (May. 04 2015)
    • Previously: 'As the Cable Turns': Industry deal talk turns to Bright House (Apr. 30 2015)
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  • Thu, Apr. 30, 3:47 PM
    • With Comcast's (CMCSA -1.2%) pursuit of Time Warner Cable (TWC -1.4%) dashed on the rocks, TWC and Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) have (separately) contacted Bright House Networks in the past week about acquiring them, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.
    • With about 2M subscribers, Bright House is sixth-largest among cable MSOs. Charter had a deal to acquire Bright House a month ago, but that was contingent on the Comcast-TWC combo, so they need to start again during a 30-day "good faith" cycle.
    • Time Warner Cable's interest in adding Bright House could be in making itself much tougher to acquire, and it would likely make the owning Newhouse family the biggest shareholder of the combination. In a deal with Charter, John Malone and Liberty Broadband (NASDAQ:LBRDA) would have the biggest voting stake.
    • Meanwhile, TWC has deep ties to the Newhouse company -- TWC negotiates Bright House's programming and technology deals for a fee, and has right of first offer on the Newhouses' cable systems, the WSJ notes.
    • Previously: TWC misses on earnings, logs best subscriber quarter (Apr. 30 2015)
    • Previously: CNBC: Charter, TWC to discuss merger next week (Apr. 29 2015)
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  • Mon, Apr. 27, 8:25 PM
    • After fighting off a hostile bid from Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) just over a year ago, Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) is now open to merger talks with the cableco now that Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) has called off its $45B friendly pursuit, Reuters reports.
    • One key change from before: TWC now views Charter stock as more valuable this time around. CHTR shares are up 40.7% over the past 12 months.
    • Still, the deal would have to be significantly sweeter as well. Charter's previous hostile bid for TWC was for about $132.50/share; Comcast's $45B offer was valued around $158.82/share.
    • As for competitive concerns, Charter/TWC would have about 15M video customers, whereas Comcast/TWC would have had about 30M.
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  • Fri, Apr. 24, 9:15 AM
    • Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is trading up 1.3% premarket, and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) is 0.8% higher as well, after confirmation that their $45B merger deal is dead.
    • In statements by the Justice Dept. and FCC thanking each other for their cooperation, it's clear that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler was against the deal, which would have made agency approval a very long shot.
    • It's also clear why Wheeler was opposed: It's about broadband, not cable, and protecting the burgeoning streaming video market. "The proposed merger would have posed an unacceptable risk to competition and innovation especially given the growing importance of high-speed broadband to online video and innovative new services."
    • While Comcast doesn't pay a breakup fee with the deal's end, that doesn't mean everyone walks away cheaply: Advisers including bankers and lawyers will lose out on $380M in fees, chiefly Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), banker for Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR). J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) will drop from second to third in the league tables. As a mitigating factor, more deals are likely on the way, though.
    • Other sector players premarket: AT&T -0.3%; Verizon -0.2%.
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  • Fri, Apr. 24, 8:34 AM
    • After a late Thursday board meeting, Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) has confirmed it's dropping its $45B plan to acquire Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) -- a stunning reversal of a 15-month plan, which got less stunning as hurdles began to mount in recent weeks.
    • "Today, we move on," says Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. "Of course, we would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn't agree, we could walk away." It's a cheap walk-away for Comcast, which had no breakup fee in the deal.
    • What next? Consolidation is still likely in a deeply uncompetitive industry. Other companies are now officially front and center in pursuit of TWC, notably John Malone's Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR), which could re-launch its own failed effort. CHTR-TWC would have 16.5M broadband subscribers together, less than Comcast's 22M.
    • Charter's deal with Comcast aimed at divestment and easing the Comcast-TWC transaction also blows up. What about Charter's deal to acquire Bright House?
    • As for Comcast, it could take its stored-up momentum outside of cable -- to someone like Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), as BTIG's Rich Greenfield hints? Or to a telecom like T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS)?
    • Updated: Time Warner Cable statement. "We have always believed that Time Warner Cable is a one-of-a-kind asset," says Chairman and CEO Robert D. Marcus. "We are strong and getting stronger."
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  • Thu, Apr. 23, 3:09 PM
    • Bloomberg reports Comcast (CMCSA +2.2%) plans to drop its hotly-contested efforts to merge with Time Warner Cable (TWC +0.7%), and could make an announcement as soon as tomorrow. Comcast has moved higher in response.
    • The report comes a day after the WSJ reported the FCC staff recommends a hearing on the deal, and a week after Bloomberg reported DOJ antitrust lawyers are leaning against it.
    • Charter (CHTR +0.4%), which has suggested it's interested in TWC if the Comcast deal falls through, has moved slightly higher.
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  • Wed, Apr. 22, 9:19 PM
    • A key setback for Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) $45B takeover of Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) as FCC staff has recommended that the agency designate a hearing -- what some regulatory experts call a "deal-killer," The Wall Street Journal reports.
    • A "hearing designation order" would put the merger in the hands of an administrative law judge, and while Comcast would be able to keep making its case, it would be a strong sign the FCC doesn't see the merger to be in the public interest.
    • Earlier, Comcast execs sat down with the Dept. of Justice and the FCC in hopes of salvaging a deal that is running into significant hurdles at the government level.
    • Previously: Comcast-TWC deal moves to Capitol Hill in day of talks (Apr. 22 2015)
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  • Wed, Apr. 22, 7:15 PM
    • "There are essentially three options: OK the deal, negotiate a consent decree to impose conditions, or sue to block the deal. The first is not in play," says media lawyer Andrew Jay Schwartzman to CNN about the now somewhat shaky $45B Comcast-Time Warner Cable (CMCSA, TWC) merger deal, following a marathon day where Comcast executives sat down with the Justice Department and then the FCC.
    • Comcast issued a statement saying it's not appropriate to share the content of the meetings.
    • With no breakup fee, there's less disincentive for Comcast to up and walk away from the deal, which has been more than a year in the making. But that would depend heavily on whether the government sues to block the deal, or just seeks concessions to make it happen.
    • Comcast's new sweetener is promising to expand its low-income "Internet Essentials" program that offers $10/month broadband to qualified households. Another statement from the company came today to "set the record straight" on the program, saying that critics are recycling old claims. (This must include articles like this one, referring to IE as Comcast's merger "trump card" and proclaiming it "bullcrap.")
    • Critics say that while Comcast claims it's "one of the most successful, if not the most successful, private sector initiatives to close the digital divide ever," the company has signed up just 13.4% of 2.6M eligible households.
    • Previously: Reuters: FCC staff sets Wednesday briefing on Comcast-TWC (Apr. 21 2015)
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  • Tue, Apr. 21, 7:17 PM
    • FCC officials tomorrow will brief staff about the proposed $45B merger of Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), Reuters is reporting -- though with no news about which way officials are thinking.
    • The briefing may be light on specifics but might offer some clues to how the FCC will deal with recent public opposition to the buyout. The FCC's ruling on the deal will focus on public interest, while the Department of Justice focuses on antitrust concerns.
    • The staff will also be briefed tomorrow on AT&T's (NYSE:T) $48B deal to buy DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV), according to Reuters.
    • Previously: WSJ: Comcast, Time Warner Cable to meet with Justice Dept. (Apr. 18 2015)
    • Previously: Comcast defends TWC deal, announces 2-Gbps California plan (Apr. 17 2015)
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  • Sat, Apr. 18, 10:55 PM
    • Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) will meet Wednesday with the Justice Department in hopes of negotiating concessions to assuage the department's reported opposition to their $45B merger, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.
    • It's the first time the companies would meet with any regulators -- and the deal is nearing its endgame with both Justice and the FCC.
    • Bloomberg reported Friday that staff attorneys at Justice were leaning toward blocking the deal, though any final word would come from senior officials there.
    • The Justice Department's concern is antitrust issues in the combination of two giant service providers; the FCC is evaluating the deal to see whether it is in the public interest.
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  • Fri, Apr. 17, 7:06 PM
    • As reports spread that Justice Dept. attorneys were likely to recommend blocking Comcast's (CMCSA -2.1%) $45B buyout of Time Warner Cable (TWC -5.4%), the cable companies both argued there was no basis to block the deal.
    • It'll mean "faster broadband speeds, access to a superior video experience, and more competition in business services resulting in billions of dollars of cost savings," according to a Comcast statement. "These benefits have been essentially unchallenged in the record."
    • Meanwhile, over at the FCC, 37 groups opposed to the deal wrote Tom Wheeler, the agency's chairman, saying that even conditional application of net neutrality regulation wouldn't soften their opposition. Signatories included Dish, Consumers Union, the Writers Guild of America, West, and Free Press; "they don't make any new arguments," Comcast responds.
    • Some volume came into competitive stocks and gave them a (relative) lift after the news: Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) came off lows to finish down 1.9%; Cablevision Systems (NYSE:CVC) rebounded to finish just -0.3%.
    • In February, BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield laid out why he thought the deal would ultimately get rejected.
    • Then shortly after the Justice Dept. news broke, Comcast noted it was bringing its top-speed 2-Gbps Gigabit Pro service to the California Bay Area. The company previously said it would launch the service in Atlanta (where Google Fiber and AT&T plan 1-Gbps service); it's setting June for the California launch, but still no word on possible pricing.
    | 5 Comments
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Company Description
Comcast Corp is a media and technology company. The Company's business segments are: Cable Communications, Cable Networks, Broadcast Television, Filmed Entertainment, and Theme Parks.
Sector: Services
Industry: CATV Systems
Country: United States