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.
Feb. 13, 2014, 7:16 AM
- Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Comcast (CMCSA) expect their merger to be completed by the end of the year in a deal which will give TWC shareholders about 23% of the combined media giant.
- Comcast CEO Brian Roberts says the company wouldn't be this far along if it didn't think it could get it approved with regulators.
- It's estimated that ~3M subscribers will be divested to give the merged company close to 30M subscribers - about 30% of the total U.S. Pay-TV market.
- Shares of Charter (CHTR) are down 7.0% in the premarket session as the company is left jilted. Comcast (CMCSA) is up 2.1%, while Time Warner Cable gains 11.6% to $151.03 - still 5.2% shy of the acquisition price of $158.82.
Feb. 13, 2014, 6:47 AM
- Comcast (CMCSA) has confirmed reports that it has agreed to acquire Time Warner Cable (TWC) for $45.2B, or $158.82 a share.
- The transaction will generate $1.5B in savings and will be accretive to Comcast's cash flow, and it will be tax free to Time Warner's shareholders.
- The merger will create a cable TV behemoth with 30M subscribers, so it wouldn't be a surprise if it were to face huge, if not insurmountable, regulatory hurdles.
- Time Warner's shares are +12% at $151.50 premarket after closing at $135.31 yesterday. Comcast is +1.4%. (PR)
Jan. 31, 2014, 6:11 PM
- Reuters reports Charter (CHTR) is thinking of raising its bid for Time Warner Cable (TWC) to the "low 140s per share range," and could make a move within two weeks.
- A source says Charter's change of heart - Charter offered $132.50/share in mid-January, and was quickly rebuffed - is due to "feedback from Time Warner Cable investors Charter has received in its two-week roadshow."
- Reuters adds Charter is still talking with Comcast (CMCSA - previous) about "how to carve up Time Warner's markets" in the event of a joint bid.
- Comcast, which could face regulatory scrutiny in the event it tries to expand, is said to be interested in Time Warner's NYC systems, as well as some of its New England assets. Sources state a deal could also result in some Charter systems going to Comcast.
- TWC +2% AH
Jan. 28, 2014, 8:07 AM
- Comcast's (CMCSA) Q4 surprised analysts in a few areas where revenue gains have been hard to scrap up.
- The company reports the number of pay TV subscribers increased for the first time in 26 quarters.
- Home entertainment revenue was strong, led by sales related to Despicable Me 2.
- Broadcast revenue was 11.5% higher with retransmission fees and content licensing fees both markedly improved.
- Theme park revenue grew 4.6% during the quarter.
- CMCSA +3.1% premarket
Jan. 28, 2014, 7:22 AM
- Comcast (CMCSA) reports revenue from its cable segment rose 5.2% to $10.7B in Q4, led by a strong gain in business services. High-Speed Internet revenue was up 8.7% to $2.44B.
- The company added a net 1.8M video, high-speed Internet, and voice customers during the period to reach 53.1M customers.
- Revenue for NBCUniversal rose 7.5% to $6.5B, paced by strong advertising revenue related to NBC shows with high ratings.
- Comcast increases its share repurchase authorization to $7.5B and expects to make $3B in buybacks during 2014.
- CMCSA +2.5% premarket
Jan. 15, 2014, 8:28 AM
- Morgan Stanley upgrades Comcast (CMCSA) to an Overweight rating and raises its price target to $63.
- The investment firm is convinced that Comcast trades at a discount to peers and sees growth potential with new initiatives such as a next-generation set-top box and home security.
- CMCSA +1.65% premarket to $53.68.
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