Jul. 29, 2014, 2:08 PM
- Time Warner Cable (TWC +1.4%) says it will agree to binding arbitration to settle its dispute with DirecTV (DTV +0.8%) over a carriage fee deal for the SportsNet LA network which includes coverage of Los Angeles Dodgers baseball.
- DirecTV hasn't indicated yet it will agree to enter arbitration as it continues to push for an a la carte option for its customers. Meanwhile, close to 70% of the Los Angeles TV/broadband market can't access Dodgers baseball.
- The TWC-DTV spat is being closely watched by the pay-TV industry (T, CHTR, CVC, DISH, VZ) and sports network owners (DIS, FOXA, TWX, CMCSA, CBS) as the issue of bundling regional sports networks into packages remains a hot topic.
Jul. 14, 2014, 1:48 PM
- DirecTV (DTV -0.1%) won't play hardball with ESPN over contract negotiations for the new SEC Network, according to TVPredictions.com
- Though the satellite company has notably dug in its heels over carriage fees with other regional sports networks, DirecTV needs to keep a good relationship with Disney (DIS +0.1%) intact as it eyes launching a new online TV service sometime in the future.
Jul. 11, 2014, 1:19 PM
- The 2014 World Cup has delivered smashing ratings reports for ESPN, Univision, and ABC - but has also exposed a weakness in the TV Everywhere platform for coverage of live events, reports GigaOm.
- The complicated process to transcode video feeds into a content delivery network can create a delay of up to 20 seconds - plenty of time for spoilers to crop up for viewers through their online feeds, mobile devices, or nearby friends.
- Though the delay isn't considered a big enough complication to derail TV Everywhere, it's another annoyance for viewers already frustrated with the authentication process.
- Related stocks: DISH, DTV, CHTR, CVC, TWC, CMCSA, DISCA, CBS, VZ.
Jul. 8, 2014, 10:53 AM
- The FCC has named William Rogerson as part of the team that will review the Comcast (CMCSA)- Time Warner Cable (TWC) and AT&T (T) - DirecTV (DTV) mergers.
- Rogerson is considered a bit of a merger hawk after being a gadfly during the Comcast-NBCUniversal combination.
- Some analysts think the composition of the board as a whole will lead to a tough review process for the media giants.
Jul. 2, 2014, 12:49 PM
- Pay-TV operators (DISH, DTV, CHTR, CVC, TWC) will have to spend about $18.32 a month per subscriber within wo years to gain broad rights to sports content, according to estimates from SNL Kagan. That figure makes it difficult for the group to offer smaller bundles to bring back cord-cutters and lure cord-nevers.
- The major sports broadcasters (DIS, TWX, FOXA, CMCSA, CBS) only earned about $1.17 a month in 1995, despite lacking any competition from streaming or online services.
- Though the AT&T-DirecTV and Comcast-Time Warner Cable mergers could add leverage to the pay-TV side, new sports channels Fox Sport 1 and NBC Sports Network aim to achieve the must-have clout and high carriage fees earned by ESPN.
- Passing on costs might not be an option: Average revenue per user at pay-TV operators has hit a tipping point with consumers, with most analysts seeing the push-back continuing.
- "Something has to give," sums up media analyst Craig Moffett.
Jun. 18, 2014, 3:57 PM
- Dish Network (DISH) is reportedly interested in bidding for the NFL Sunday Ticket package if DirecTV (DTV) fails to nail down a contract renewal with the league.
- The NFL has some leverage in its negotiation with DirecTV with AT&T saying it's a deal killer if the NFL Sunday package isn't part of its acquisition of the company.
Jun. 5, 2014, 12:39 PM
- Progress between Time Warner Cable (TWC +0.6%) and DirecTV (DTV -0.1%) over a distribution deal for SportsNet LA has stalled, according to the L.A. Times.
- A deal with DirecTV is considered key because it's the only provider that competes directly with Cox, Verizon, Charter, and Dish Network. If DirecTV doesn't carry SportsNet the other Pay-TV providers can afford to wait on their own deals.
- What to watch: DirecTV claims it hasn't lost a significant number of subscribers even with the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team 61 games into their season. Analysts think a spirited San Francisco Giants-L.A. Dodgers pennant race could increase pressure on DirecTV.
- Previous: Not even Vin Scully can catch a Dodgers game in L.A.
Jun. 4, 2014, 2:10 PM
- A day after AT&T (T -0.7%) sold $2B worth of 30-year U.S. bonds to help pay for the DirecTV (DTV -0.1%) deal, Bloomberg reports the company is selling $2.9B worth of euro-denominated bonds with 10 and 20-year maturities.
- Assuming no funds are used to repurchase debt, the offerings stand to raise AT&T's debt load to the ~$85B range. DirecTV, meanwhile, has $20.8B of its own debt, partly offset by $5B in cash/investments.
- Separately, in an 8-K outlining its case for the acquisition, AT&T declares content costs eat up 60% of U-verse's revenue, and that DirecTV's scale will lower those costs by ~20%. $1.6B/year worth of total synergies are expected 3 years after the deal closes.
- AT&T also claims the deal will allow it to provide gigabit fiber services (previous) to 2M more locations, and that it plans to offer TV/broadband bundles in Latin America with the help of DirecTV's spectrum, which covers 43M homes in Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and Colombia.
- Previous: AT&T/DirecTV hinges on Sunday Ticket
May. 29, 2014, 12:26 PM
- Newsmax TV announces it struck a distribution deal with DirecTV (DTV).
- The network aims to reach 40% of all U.S. cable and satellite homes by the end of the year.
- A soft launch on DirecTV is planned for the middle of June.
- Newsmax TV will attempt to challenge Fox News (FOXA) for audience along with One America News which will launch on AT&T's U-verse.
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. 19, 2014, 10:00 AM
- If DirecTV's (DTV -2.2%) NFL Sunday Ticket deal isn't renewed on terms similar to the ones discussed, AT&T (T -2.1%) can walk away from the deal, AT&T discloses in an 8-K. DirecTV CEO Mike White says he's confident Sunday Ticket will be renewed by year's end.
- "The last six years for AT&T have been about data, the future is about delivering video at scale," declares AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. He states AT&T is only paying for 30% of the deal in cash to keep its powder dry. Among other things, Ma Bell plans to spend up to $9B at next year's huge low-frequency spectrum auction, and will also participate in an auction for higher-frequency AWS spectrum.
- Also: 1) AT&T plans to grow its grow its broadband footprint by 15M homes (largely in rural areas), in part by offering fixed wireless services. 2) White says DirecTV is looking for M&A opportunities in Latin America. 3) AT&T promises DirecTV's services "will continue to be available on a stand-alone basis at nationwide package prices that are the same for all customers" for 3 years. 4) Cost synergies are expected to total $1.6B/year.
- AT&T and DirecTV are both lower. DirecTV shareholders get 1.905 AT&T shares for each DirecTV share if AT&T trades below $34.90 at closing time, and 1.724 shares if it trades above $38.58. They get an equity payoff equal to $66.50/share if AT&T trades between those two figures.
- More on AT&T/DirecTV
May. 19, 2014, 1:56 AM
- AT&T (T) intends to sell its $6B, 8.4% holding in América Móvil (AMX) in order to avoid conflicts of interest from its proposed $48.5B acquisition of DirecTV (DTV) and "facilitate the regulatory approval process in Latin America."
- AT&T's representatives on América Móvil's board are set to resign.
- The deal will give AT&T a large presence in a region in which DirecTV has 18M customers, making it one of the largest pay-TV operators in Central and South America - along with América Móvil.
May. 18, 2014, 5:14 PM
- As anticipated, AT&T (T) confirms it's acquiring DirecTV (DTV) in a stock-and-cash deal amounting to $95/share ($28.50/share in cash), just short of $50B total.
- Both boards were unanimous in approving the transaction. The companies say it's accretive within 12 months after close, on free cash flow per share and adjusted EPS basis, and that they expect the deal will "pass muster" with regulators.
- Previous coverage
May. 17, 2014, 9:09 PM
- Bloomberg reports AT&T (T) aims to announce a DirecTV (DTV) deal by Monday. BuzzFeed reports AT&T is on track to make an announcement by Sunday. "The deal is done," says a source.
- Past reports put the deal's price around $50B; DirecTV closed with a market cap of $44B on Friday. The company also has a $20.8B debt load that needs to be accounted for, partly offset by $3B in cash and $2B in investments.
- Buying DirecTV would give AT&T 20.3M U.S. subs and 11.9M Latin American subs, plus a 41% stake in Mexican satellite TV provider Sky Mexico (6.1M subs) and access to the NFL's Sunday Ticket package.
- Though not cheap, the deal might make it easier for AT&T to keep supporting its hefty dividend (current yield of 5%). Oppenheimer thinks a 50/50 cash/stock deal at $100/share would lead AT&T to pay out only 55% of its 2016 free cash flow through dividends vs. 65% otherwise.
- More on AT&T/DirecTV
May. 14, 2014, 9:06 AM
- Oppenheimer says there is a "strong possibility" AT&T (T) will pull the trigger on a $100 bid for DirecTV (DTV).
- After crunching the numbers, the investment firm says a DirecTV integration would be accretive to AT&T's free cash flow per share by at least 7%.
- Though there has been a lot of talk from analysts about AT&T being able to increase its average monthly revenue per user through a DirecTV purchase, others note the real value could be on the content negotiation side where a DTV-T combination yields considerable leverage.
- DTV +0.3% premarket to $86.35.
May. 13, 2014, 11:00 AM
- Bloomberg and WSJ reports suggesting AT&T (T -1.3%) is close to a mega-deal for DirecTV (DTV +0.7%) (possibly worth over $66B after factoring net debt) are leading investors to bet Ma Bell won't be interested in making a bid for Vodafone (VOD -2.2%), something the company has been frequently rumored to be interested in exploring.
- AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has already said "the window may be closing" on acquiring European assets, and has suggested he isn't thrilled with Vodafone's efforts to grow its wireline footprint via M&A.
- For his part, Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao has hinted he's open to a deal, but has also made it clear his company will continue its wireline expansion strategy in the interim.
- AT&T, which didn't sell off following prior DirecTV reports, is off moderately today, as the Street expresses some concern over the potential $100/share price tag mentioned in Bloomberg's report.
- DirecTV (DTV +0.7%), meanwhile, has pared its AH gains and is now only trading near $88. Worries about regulatory approval might be playing a role; a Bloomberg source states AT&T and DirecTV are expecting a 12-month regulatory process for the deal.
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