Tue, Feb. 24, 3:59 AM
- Republicans are increasing pressure on the FCC to delay Thursday's net neutrality vote, saying the public needs time to see and review the plan.
- The proposal has been subject to heated battle since Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed reclassifying broadband from a lightly regulated information service to a more strictly overseen telecommunications service.
- Supporters of the approach say that without such rules, broadband companies could charge tolls to websites for their fastest speeds, while critics say the plan would give the agency the authority to regulate pricing.
- Related stocks: CMCSA, CVC, T, VZ, TWC, NFLX, CTL, CHTR, FTR, ELNK, DISH, DTV, CCOI
Mon, Feb. 23, 3:53 PM
- DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) is off 0.3% as Brean downgrades shares, noting that the arbitrage gap between DTV's price and AT&T's offer has "largely closed."
- The analysts downgraded the satellite provider to Hold, from Buy.
- Brean sees "continued momenmtum" in the U.S. and stabilizing results in Latin America, and think DTV will make AT&T stronger financially.
Fri, Feb. 20, 5:03 PM
- Delays may be in store for two very high profile mergers -- Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) with Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), and AT&T (NYSE:T) with DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) -- as a federal court weighs a dispute over an FCC decision to provide deal opponents access to sensitive documents.
- Content companies are arguing that letting merger opponents like Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) see hundreds of thousands of pages on their programming-negotiation pricing and strategies "would be highly damaging."
- Content lawyer Robert Long says the FCC is "totally unprecedented" in providing the docs; the FCC responds that strong protections are in place and the details about buying power in programming are important in getting informed third-party input to consider approving the deals.
- Judges reacted with skepticism toward the FCC's argument, but with no inkling of when they might rule, the timetable for the mergers may have to move later.
- More coverage of Comcast-TWC merger
- More on an AT&T/DirecTV deal
Thu, Feb. 19, 9:08 AM
- DirecTV's (NASDAQ:DTV) Q4 featured revenues that grew 4% (to $8.92B), mainly due to strong ARPU in the U.S. unit. The revenues led full 2014 growth of 5% to a total of $26B in sales.
- Operating profit before depreciation/amortization of $2B was down 2% and margin declined to 22.4%, on headwinds in Latin America.
- U.S. ARPU of $117.30 was up solidly from $111.74. For the full year, U.S. ARPU was up 5.4%. U.S. net subscriber adds in Q4 of about 149K, on higher gross adds and a slight improvement in monthly churn. Subscribers at year-end of 20.35M.
- Latin America ARPU of $46.48 declined from $51.47; for the full year, Latin America ARPU was down 6.3%. Regional net subscriber adds of 118K (down from 231K, as gross adds slipped to 980K and churn was up to 2.31% from 2.21%).
- Free cash flow declined to $814M, chiefly due to a reduction in cash generated from working capital (customer receivables timing in U.S., vendor payment timing in Latin America). For the full year, free cash flow passed $3.1B; year-end cash balance of $4.6B.
- Conference call at 2 p.m. ET.
- Shares are up 0.5% premarket.
- Press release
Thu, Feb. 19, 7:43 AM
Wed, Feb. 18, 5:30 PM| 7 Comments
Wed, Feb. 18, 11:14 AM
- In more details from 13Fs: John Paulson's Paulson & Co. closed its entire stake in Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) by Dec. 31.
- Paulson had a stake of 26.7M shares ($927.6M at today's price), which made up 3.65% of the fund's portfolio.
- The fund did add nearly 320K shares to its T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) stake.
- Paulson also added to stakes in Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), boosting that stake by 18%, and DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV), adding 9% to that stake.
- VOD shares are down 2.1% today, and are now up just 1.6% YTD.
Tue, Feb. 10, 6:26 PM
- A day after its launch of its over-the-top Sling TV streaming service, Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) has fired a new salvo at DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) with its "Why pay more?" promotion.
- The offer, running this spring, promises $250 in annual savings for switchers, or else Dish will send a $250 gift card.
- DirecTV is America's biggest satellite service provider with 20M customers, while Dish is second with about 14M.
- 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%)
Sat, Jan. 31, 2:17 PM
- While Dish Network had the most strategically interesting outcome in the FCC's wireless spectrum auction, AT&T (NYSE:T) dropped the biggest bomb, with its $18.2B bid package surpassing the auction's reserve price all by itself.
- The high bid for a single license: about $2.8B for a primary New York license, won by AT&T.
- AT&T's challenge now: With about $4.5B in the bank, and $18.2B due to go to the FCC by March 2, the telecom giant will need to scramble a bit for funds.
- The company displayed confidence via a statement about its bid: It "expects that with this spectrum investment and other pending acquisitions, in the near term it may go above its 1.8x net-debt-to-EBITDA target. The company will use excess cash — after paying its dividend — over the next three years to pay down debt, and expects to return to historical debt ratios."
- It's not just the auction bid that's changing AT&T from a low-leverage investment to a high-leverage one; a $49B acquisition of DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) and its purchases of Mexico's Iusacell and Nextel are putting pressure on its purse (and possibly its single-A rating). AT&T recently entered into $11B in credit pacts.
Thu, Jan. 29, 3:53 PM
Wed, Jan. 28, 1:18 PM
- AT&T (NYSE:T) is up 1% today after meeting EPS estimates lowered by a mobile price war -- while many investors looked past revenue growth and talk of business diversification to maintaining the company's high dividend yield.
- The company committed to a lower capex of about $18B for 2015, and it notes a reduction in capex will bring a reduced trailing expense that will help with margins as well as free cash flow.
- AT&T raised its quarterly dividend to $0.47 in December, good for a 5.7% forward yield -- which looks better if interest rates remain low or go lower.
- AT&T "represents a tug-of-war between fundamental investors vs. income-oriented investors," says Morgan Stanley's Simon Flannery. "With the 10-year treasury bond at around 1.8%, AT&T is the highest yield in the Dow Jones."
- New guidance is likely to come after the DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) acquisition closes sometime in H1 2015.
- Previously: AT&T sees "continued" revenue growth and expanding margins (Jan. 27 2015)
Wed, Jan. 28, 8:41 AM
- Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) CEO Greg Maffei says that the government will likely approve the giant media merger deals on the table -- Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) with Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), and AT&T (NYSE:T) with DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) -- but the key issue will be what the firms are forced to give up.
- "My bet would be that all those deals get done," Maffei tells CNBC. "What is the set of regulations or restrictions around them and what the acquiring companies have to agree to, that'll be the rub."
- Liberty's interest in Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) is on his mind: "Charter has been an acquirer, is going to continue to be an acquirer" -- and Charter will have room to make buys if Comcast ends up swallowing TWC.
- Previously: Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger review clock running again (Jan. 13 2015)
- Previously: DirecTV hiking prices ahead of AT&T deal's closing (Dec. 29 2014)
Tue, Jan. 20, 10:41 AM
- DirecTV (DTV -0.1%) increases the price of NFL Sunday Ticket by 5% to a base rate of $251.94.
- The premium package is 7% higher at $353.94.
- Previously: DirecTV reaches Sunday Ticket deal, removes AT&T deal hurdle (Oct. 01 2014)
- Previously: DirecTV might have a fantasy plan (Nov. 25 2014)
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.
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