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.
Fri, Apr. 17, 2:09 PM
- The Justice Department's staff attorneys looking into Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) $45B bid to purchase Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) are close to urging the deal be blocked, Bloomberg reports -- and they're also not working with Comcast to secure changes that would satisfy them.
- Already lower with the market today, TWC took a cliff dive, now -7%. Comcast shares are still down 2.8%.
- The lawyers could submit their review as soon as next week to deputy assistant AG Renata Hesse. Officials will then decide on whether to sue to stop the deal.
- Hesse is running the review since antitrust chief Bill Baer recused himself, as a previous representative of NBCUniversal in its takeover by Comcast.
Mon, Apr. 6, 10:59 AM
- Furious 7 exceeded all expectations and smashed an April box-office record with a $143.6M weekend -- and big international receipts of $204.4M (from 10,500 screens in 63 territories) point to a massive winner for Universal (CMCSA +0.5%).
- Notably for a sequel -- where follow-ups usually do a fraction of the first film's business -- the newest entry got the biggest opening weekend of the seven-film series. And it has a relatively clear path to hundreds of millions more before May 1 brings the competition of a new Avengers.
- Home, the sole 2015 release from DreamWorks Animation (DWA +1.7%), held up well in its second weekend with $27.4M, for a two-week total of $95.6M.
- Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart comedy Get Hard (NYSE:TWX) took third place with $12.9M ($57M total gross), while Cinderella (DIS; $10.3M; $167.3M total) and Insurgent (LGF; $10M; $103.4M total) were fourth and fifth.
- Previously: Box office sales and in-theater spending trending strong (Apr. 05 2015)
- Previously: Holiday movie weekend: Universal to get 'Furious' opening (Apr. 03 2015)
Thu, Apr. 2, 4:26 PM
- Over-the-top video services seems to have accelerating momentum as more unbundling happens every week, but high-yield pay-TV companies have little to worry about just yet, Moody's says in a new report.
- Customer inertia along with the limited competition they now face should buy providers time to adjust.
- "Evolutionary, not revolutionary" is how the firm describes the pay-TV shift, saying that OTT providers, including Sony and Apple, will take a small number of subscribers for now -- even though consumer perception seems to favor OTT options.
- The firm notes rising bills could force defections, but "the average customer may not realize how much content traditional pay TV service provides, from video on demand and across multiple devices."
- Pay TV stocks today: (CMCSA +1.5%), (TWC +1.9%), (CVC +0.9%), (CHTR -0.6%), (T +0.7%), (VZ +1.1%)
Tue, Mar. 31, 3:17 PM
- Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) is up 6.2% and has touched a record-high $199 in the wake of its deal to acquire Bright House Networks, which would make it the country's No. 2 cable operator (Charter is now No. 4; Bright House is No. 6).
- The deal's dependent on Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) successful pursuit of Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) -- Charter's own bid for TWC fell apart, and Charter could step back in if Comcast's plan falters -- and if Comcast takes such a clear lead, Charter may not stop at Bright House in trying to catch up.
- Mediacom, CableOne and Suddenlink could be the next targets. "I think it is inevitable most of the rest of the cable industry not owned by Comcast is sold to Charter," Pivotal Research Group analyst Jeff Wlodarczak tells Reuters.
- As for John Malone, his Liberty Broadband (NASDAQ:LBRDA) -- Charter's biggest shareholder -- has agreed to purchase $700M of shares in the Charter/Bright House combo, in transactions that would leave it with voting power of about 25%.
- Charter bonds picked up on the news as well.
Tue, Mar. 31, 9:05 AM
- Charter Communications (CHTR, up 5.2% premarket) has reached agreement to acquire Bright House Networks for $10.4B.
- The outlines of a deal were there, but it's early -- it was expected that a ruling would come down on Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) merger with Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) before Charter made a move.
- The structure: a partnership where Charter owns 73.7% and Advance/Newhouse owns 26.3%. Charter will pay $2B in cash.
- There's still several conditions to wrapping the deal, including Charter transactions with Comcast.
Tue, Feb. 17, 11:11 AM
- Telecom analyst Craig Moffett sees not enough bad news priced in (and too much good), and has downgraded key cable stocks (CMCSA, CHTR, TWC) to Neutral from Buy.
- He's still got a Sell rating on Cablevision (CVC -5%).
- “With the stocks having largely achieved our target prices, with cord cutting risks mounting and with regulation clouding the path forward in broadband, it seems to us to be time to reduce exposure," Moffett says.
- He lowers his estimate of a successful Comcast-TWC merger to 60% given increasing public attention and sentiment against the combination.
- And he doesn't mince words about Title II treatment: "At its core, Title II is about price regulation ... It would be naive to believe" that the rules changes won't introduce risk to pricing power.
- Current action: (CMCSA -1.5%), (CHTR -1.6%), (TWC -1.5%)
- Previously: Telecom stocks soar as FCC's Wheeler advocates utility stance on regulation (Feb. 04 2015)
- Previously: AT&T's Stephenson: Litigating FCC rules 'quite certain' (Feb. 13 2015)
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)
Wed, Feb. 4, 11:42 AM
- Breakdown of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's op-ed on net neutrality: "Enforceable, bright-line rules" that ban paid prioritization ("fast lanes") and blocking/throttling of services, including for mobile broadband.
- The investment key for related stocks: "All of this can be accomplished while encouraging investment in broadband networks. ... My proposal will modernize Title II, tailoring it for the 21st century, in order to provide returns necessary to construct competitive networks. For example, there will be no rate regulation, no tariffs, no last-mile unbundling."
- FCC voting is scheduled for Feb. 26.
- Related stocks: (CMCSA +2.8%); (CVC +2%); (TWC +3.1%); (T +0.6%); (VZ +0.7%); (CHTR +4.3%); (DISH +2.6%); (DTV +1%); (CCOI +3.9%)
Wed, Feb. 4, 11:31 AM
- FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has released an op-ed hinting at the commission's new stance on net neutrality rule -- and it suggests utility-like regulation for fixed and wireless broadband.
- "This week, I will circulate ... proposed new rules to preserve the Internet as an open platform for innovation and free expression. This proposal is rooted in long-standing regulatory principles, marketplace experience, and public input received over the last several months."
- Wheeler calls directly for Title II authority in "the strongest open Internet protections ever proposed by the FCC."
- Stocks on the move: (CMCSA +3.3%); (CVC +2.9%); (TWC +4%); (T +0.8%); (VZ +0.7%); (CHTR +4.3%); (DISH +3.3%); (DTV +1.2%); (CCOI +4.3%)
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.
Nov. 12, 2014, 8:01 AM
Jul. 29, 2014, 11:44 AM
- Cable stocks seem to be getting a lift from the Windstream REIT announcement.
- The sector has been identified previously by analysts as ripe territory for REIT spinoffs.
- REIT-dreaming: Cablevision (CVC +4%), Charter Communications (CHTR +1.9%), Time Warner Cable (TWC +1.9%), and Comcast (CMCSA +1.4%).
Jul. 16, 2014, 8:13 AM
- 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) will pay as much as $85 per share for Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), according to Bloomberg.
- The frothy premium hasn't gone unnoticed in the broadcaster sector with CBS (NYSE:CBS) up 1.6% premarket and Viacom (VIA, VIAB) rising 1.8%. Murdoch's 21st Century Fox is 1.7% higher, while even media giants Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) are catching a piece of the frenzy, up 0.7% and 0.9% premarket, respectively.
- TWX is in dreamland, up +20.2% to $85.32.
- It's setting up to be a banner day for the PowerShares Dynamic Media ETF (NYSEARCA:PBS).
Jun. 25, 2014, 10:21 AM
- Handing a major win to TV broadcasters, the Supreme Court has ruled 6-3 Aereo's streaming TV service violates the Copyright Act.
- Aereo has maintained an unfavorable ruling would be a death knell for the company. Broadcasters, meanwhile, had threatened to stop providing their channels over the air, as they looked to protect the lucrative affiliate fees they receive from pay-TV providers.
- Broadcaster shares have moved higher following the verdict: CBS +5.4%. DIS +1.4%. FOX +2%. FOXA +1.9%. CMCSA +0.9%. InterActiveCorp (IACI -1.6%), a major Aereo investor, is trading lower.
- Prior Aereo coverage
Feb. 13, 2014, 9:47 AM
- Comcast (CMCSA -3.4%) is on the offensive already with the DOJ on why its acquisition of Time Warner Cable TWC should go through.
- In addition to shedding 3M subscribers, the company has committed to extend net neutrality to TWC systems and offer regional sports packages to rival Pay-TV providers at a reasonable cost.
- Comcast guarantees some carriage of non-commercial educational TV stations - even if they give up their broadcast spectrum.
- Expect the company to also argue vociferously that the growth of streaming concerns such as Netflix and Hulu gives consumers the requisite choices.
- Though the focus on many is on the Pay-TV side, don't forget about broadband: If Comcast swallows TWC it will control close to half of the triple-play services in the U.S. Gigaom crunches the numbers to find the synergies add much faster on the broadband side as well.
- Consumer advocacy groups are already active in pressing politicians for regulatory review on the deal, reports Re/code. It's unlikely that Comcast will pass down savings to consumers if they strike better deals with content providers, they argue.
- Shares of TWC trade below $146 as investors discount that regulators will allow the deal in its current form to go through.
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