Wed, Aug. 5, 8:22 AM
Tue, Aug. 4, 11:41 AM
- Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) is up 1.2% after Deutsche Bank upgraded it to Buy, pointing out catalysts in the long term and setting a price target of $46.
- That's up from DB's previous target of $43. Shares closed yesterday at $38.04 and are currently trading at $38.50, implying 19.5% upside from here in that target.
- Discount to NAV has widened to 17%, from a year-ago 9%, despite a more focused portfolio, Bryan Kraft notes: "We understand that absent a catalyst, investing capital into a narrowing discount story doesn't seem that compelling. However, we do see catalysts, although they appear to be 1-2 years away."
- "Eventually, we think accretion in Liberty's Sirius ownership from Sirius' repurchase program will drive an elimination of the discount over time."
- Meanwhile, Wunderlich raised its price target to $49. The firm maintains a Buy rating on Liberty Media.
Thu, Jul. 9, 5:29 PM
- There's been little news coming out of secretive Sun Valley -- where media moguls gather at the Allen & Co. conference for "summer camp" and sometimes rearrange billions of dollars with game-changing M&A -- but John Malone today dropped more hints about content consolidation.
- While media distribution companies have more obvious benefits from consolidation, Malone -- who has hands in Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA), Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA), Liberty Interactive (NASDAQ:QVCA), Charter (NASDAQ:CHTR) and Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) -- said economies can apply to content too.
- "It's all about global scale," he told CNBC. "If you want to be a meaningful player in most of any of these media communication businesses, you have to think about it."
- And while speculation boils about a tie-up between Malone's Starz (STRZA) and Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) after the two swapped stock, Malone focused on the educational side: "I'm an engineer; what the hell do I know about content? Trying to understand where these ideas come from, how they get created and produced. The development of stories is really going to be important in this random-access world that Reed Hastings (NASDAQ:NFLX) is driving us into."
- Malone said Netflix changed the game, and that his companies "missed the boat a little bit" on over-the-top offerings.
- Today: NFLX +2.4%; LGF +0.9%; QVCA +0.3%; CHTR +0.2%.
Tue, Jun. 2, 6:46 PM
- Mogul John Malone floated an interesting idea today: Forget Sprint and T-Mobile -- the wireless industry could get its third major alternative to Verizon and AT&T (NYSE:T) with the merger of Charter Communications (CHTR -1.6%) and Time Warner Cable (TWC -0.9%).
- Malone was speaking at his various Liberty companies' annual meetings and noted that in 2012, the cable consortium SpectrumCo got an option to participate in a wireless MVNO service with Verizon (NYSE:VZ) after the wireless firm bought $3.9B in frequencies.
- Charter wasn't in SpectrumCo then, but merger partners TWC and Bright House are. “The concept that Comcast, a greatly enlarged Charter and Cox could together offer a WiFi-optimized connectivity service with a default to a Verizon MVNO is an interesting concept," Malone said.
- He thinks "there's very little dirty underwear" left to be found in a regulatory review of Charter-TWC after the past year's scrutiny.
- Also of interest regarding Charter capex and the dividend: “Everybody's going to say, ‘Oh he’s spending too much capital,’ but I think the end result with be worth it ... To a large degree we’re betting on Tom Rutledge and his team to wake up a sleepy cable company that was treading water in all honesty for a while and trying to satisfy shareholder pressures with buybacks and dividends as opposed to putting the money into having a competitive service offering.”
- Malone company shares today: LMCA -0.1%; LMCB flat; LMCK flat; LTRPA -0.9%; LTRPB +2.2%; QVCA +0.8%; LBRDA +0.1%; OTCQB:LBRDB flat; LBRDK -0.1%.
Mon, May 18, 4:31 AM
- Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) CEO David Zaslav received total compensation of $156M in 2014, making him the highest-paid boss of a U.S.-listed company, excluding the top private-equity firms, an NYT-commissioned survey finds.
- Next on the list is Liberty Global's (NASDAQ:LBTYA) Michael Fries with $112M, while Gregory Maffei earned $74M for heading Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) and Liberty Interactive (NASDAQ:LVNTA). With Charter Communications' (NASDAQ:CHTR) Thomas Rutledge raking in $16M, four CEOs of companies controlled by or heavily associated with media mogul John Malone took home over $350M.
- Still, the Malone boys have nothing on Kenneth Griffin, the founder and CEO of P-E firm Citadel, who earned a mere $1.3B.
Fri, May 8, 4:34 PM
- On a Q1 earnings call today, Liberty Media's (NASDAQ:LMCA) CEO Greg Maffei said any deal that Charter Communications (CHTR; partly owned by Liberty) would make for Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) would be "friendly," in contrast to Charter's early-2014 hostile attempt -- and that many partners are ready to step in if Charter needs more capital.
- "There's a wide range of things we could do there, starting with obviously the $700M of cash on the balance sheet," he said, before mentioning raising equity capital through rights offerings or the partners who would like to invest in such a deal.
- Asked about the dispute over management in the previous bid, Maffei said: "I believe any transaction that goes forward ... would be a friendly transaction, looking for the best of breed in both management teams, and trying to drive an improved experience both for consumers and shareholders."
- Whatever happens, Maffei says Liberty wants to keep its 25% ownership of Charter.
- More at the WSJ
Fri, May 8, 10:47 AM
- Liberty Media's (LMCA -0.4%) Q1 earnings featured a 12% gain in net income based on a 7% increase in revenue due again primarily to Sirius XM earnings -- Liberty holds 57% of Sirius XM with a stake that is 90% of Liberty's market cap -- though the company added that it also sold its position in Barnes & Noble for $27M, and sold another 1.3M Viacom shares for $86M.
- The company bought back 1.9M shares of its LMCK class at an average price of $38.28, for a total cost of $74M.
- Cash and liquid investments stood at $1.25B, up from Q4's $880M, chiefly due to cash from operations at Sirius XM. Total debt was $6.47B, primarily $5.15B in Sirius XM senior notes along with $1B in Liberty cash convertible notes.
- Conference call at 11:30 a.m. ET.
- Press Release
Fri, May 8, 8:29 AM
Thu, Apr. 9, 9:08 PM
- Don't let recent merger challenges and failures fool you, Michael Wolff argues: "M&A mania" is coming to a media conglomerate near you amid pressure for a new wave of consolidation.
- "Perhaps never before has consolidation been so much the flavor of the month, nor has it seemed so difficult to get a taste," he writes. "The table is set, but nobody's sitting down to eat."
- If Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) fails in its bid for Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), he notes, it just means other cablers will step up to match Comcast's ambition, and Comcast will still look for a way to stay dominant.
- He points to a number of mergers he thinks are easily imaginable: Viacom (NASDAQ:VIA) and FOX? Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Time Warner (NYSE:TWX)? TWC and Charter (NASDAQ:CHTR)? Discovery (NASDAQ:DISCA) and, well, most anyone (Disney, Fox, CBS)?
- Factors encouraging the wave: Media's all about video now, and the pure-play aspect makes merger logic cleaner; distribution and content are separate and now even antagonistic businesses; the growth of over-the-top means not unbundling but re-bundling; and everyone needs scale for negotiation strength in content and ad deals.
- Other key players: John Malone (LMCA, LBTYA, STRZA); Verizon (NYSE:VZ); Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF); Scripps Networks (NYSE:SNI); Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX); DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) and AT&T (NYSE:T); Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH).
Tue, Mar. 17, 2:39 PM
- Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) keeps up its sports-deal momentum by signing a tech and real estate pact with the Atlanta Braves (NASDAQ:LMCA) that will include wiring the team's new 60-acre stadium complex for networking, as well as a new office for Comcast.
- The project will provide video, voice and high-speed Internet through SunTrust Park, including a ballpark and surrounding buildings holding retail, food service, hotels and residences.
- As part of the muli-year deal, Comcast's name will be on a nine-story tower that will also house 1,000 of its employees.
- Comcast's business-services unit has signed similar deals in the past, most recently with the NFL's Tennessee Titans, as well as the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars; baseball's Oakland A's, Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers; and the NBA's Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks.
- SunTrust Park is scheduled to open in time for Opening Day in spring 2017.
- Previously: No plans to sell MLB's Braves, Liberty says (Feb. 25 2015)
Wed, Mar. 11, 10:56 PM
- "Using Live Nation (NYSE:LYV) to differentiate Sirius (NASDAQ:SIRI) and using Sirius to promote Live Nation is very logical," says Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) CEO Greg Maffei of the two entertainment companies in which his firm is a major shareholder: 57% of SIRI, 27% of LYV. "But I remain somewhat disappointed that more things haven't happened there." Maffei was speaking to the Deutsche Bank conference.
- Macquarie's Amy Yong agrees: It's not that the satellite radio and concert promotion companies need a merger (which would be complicated by the ownership), but: "If both worked more closely, they can help each other cross promote or market their products/services," she says.
- There may be opportunities for Sirius to broadcast LYV concerts, and for LYV to promote Sirius among its heavy people traffic, but as for tie-ups: "We are the consolidators," says Live Nation's chief Michael Rapino, preferring to focus on his acquisitions. "Geographically, if there was a ticketing company in the right market that we thought could accel our operation versus building, we'd look."
Mon, Mar. 9, 8:04 PM
- Don't be surprised if there's more to John Malone's tie-up with Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF), says Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) CEO Greg Maffei -- but don't count on it either.
- Speaking to Deutsche Bank's Media, Internet & Telecom conference, Maffei hinted that Liberty Chairman Malone joining the Lions Gate board as part of a Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) stock swap would help both parties get to know each other.
- “You need to have partnerships, you need to do more,” Maffei said. “Whether that ultimately leads to acquisitions ... you need to be able to do more with bigger people.”
- Maffei says HBO's rollout of its streaming service bodes well for Starz, demonstrating how to distribute product in more ways, though "I think we can do it in a way that is in conjunction with our cable, telco, and satellite partners. which is attractive."
- Previously: Starz, Lions Gate deal may presage closer relationship (Feb. 11 2015)
- Previously: Lions Gate adds Liberty's Malone to board in Starz stock-swap deal (Feb. 11 2015)
Fri, Mar. 6, 5:45 AM
- CBS slipped 1.5% yesterday, and Viacom (VIA, VIAB) another 1.2%, as Deutsche Bank's Brian Kraft weighed in on big media in a spate of coverage updates noted at Benzinga. He expects continued profit growth in the sector, particularly with international expansion.
- Kraft actually has a Buy on Viacom with an $83 price target (yesterday's close: $70.37). Though the company is starting layoffs (see TV Land) amid widespread ratings issues, Kraft says investor worries about contract renewals are overdone, and its discounted value is attractive.
- Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) is another buy at a $42 target (yesterday: $34.87), with "best in the sector" three-year prospects for profit growth, as is Time Warner at a $100 target (yesterday: $83.26).
- He started CBS at Hold with a target of $67 (yesterday: $61.55) and Disney at Hold with a target of $105 (yesterday: $105.03), praising both stocks but suggesting they're a bit overdone.
- Also getting a Hold was Sirius XM (NASDAQ:SIRI), and Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) -- whose holdings are now 90% Sirius XM.
Wed, Feb. 25, 7:44 PM
- In Liberty Media's (NASDAQ:LMCA) Q4 earnings call, CEO Greg Maffei confirmed there's no plans to sell the Atlanta Braves -- despite longtime speculation that the company might unload the team after some five-year tax advantages expired a few years ago.
- The team's value is estimated at $730M; Liberty paid some $400M to acquire them in 2007.
- Liberty swapped Time Warner stock to acquire the Braves, and so realized a $300M tax savings -- a basis change that Maffei admitted would make selling the club "painful" due to taxable gains.
- Liberty Media debt decreased overall, offset somewhat by borrowings connected with plans for a new Cobb County stadium for the team.
Wed, Feb. 25, 5:16 PM
Wed, Feb. 25, 5:05 PM
- In Q4 results, Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) pointed to Sirius XM's (NASDAQ:SIRI) earnings -- Liberty's stake in Sirius XM now stands at 57%, and the SIRI stake represents over 90% of Liberty's market cap -- as well as completing its spinoff of Liberty Broadband in November.
- Net income on a GAAP basis was $143.1M vs. the prior $65.2M. Adjusted EBITDA was $381.3M, beating an expected $377M and up from the prior year's $325.6M.
- The company rebought 489K shares of LMCK class from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31, at a cost of $17M.
- Adjusted OIBDA for Q4 rose to $359M, up from the prior year's $319M. Removing depreciation and amortization, operating income rose to $206M from the prior year's $189M.
- Cash on a GAAP basis stood at $681M at year's end. Debt, primarily in Sirius XM senior notes, was at $5.85B.
- Free cash flow was $330.7M compared with the prior year's $303.2M.
- Press release
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