SA News • Sep. 2, 2014
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Sep. 2, 2014, 10:38 AM
- The Nikkei speculates SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF) could make an offer for Vodafone (VOD +0.5%), given a Sprint/T-Mobile deal is off the table for now. Vodafone has turned positive after starting the day in the red.
- Though Sprint/T-Mobile has been shelved, SoftBank just raised $3.9B in debt, a move viewed by many as a precursor to fresh M&A activity. Moreover, SoftBank will soon have a chance to monetize its 34.1% Alibaba stake (could be worth over $60B pre-tax following the IPO).
- Nonetheless, Vodafone ($91B market cap) would be a very big fish for SoftBank ($87B market cap) to digest. This isn't the first time speculation about a deal between the carriers has emerged.
- Previous: Questionable Vodafone/AT&T rumor emerges
- Update (1:05PM ET): Shares have given back their gains, and are now down 0.6%.
Aug. 27, 2014, 1:12 PM
- With its Q2 results disclosed, Alibaba (Pending:BABA) is expected to provide an IPO price range "as soon as Tuesday," the NYT reports.
- After setting a price range, Alibaba will reportedly kick off a 2-week roadshow (covering both Asia and the U.S.) ahead of an IPO the company hopes will take place during the week of Sep. 15.
- Sources caution the Chinese e-commerce giant's plans could still change. The NYT previously reported Alibaba was planning an IPO "sometime after Labor Day." At one point, the company was rumored to be eying an early-August IPO.
- Yahoo (YHOO +0.7%) continues to trade modestly higher.
Aug. 27, 2014, 9:52 AM
- In a revised F-1, Alibaba (Pending:BABA) discloses it had calendar Q2 revenue of $2.54B (+46% Y/Y), and net income of $1.99B (boosted by $1.1B in interest/investment income). Op. income was $1.1B (+27% Y/Y). Revenue growth accelerated from Q1's 39% clip, a figure that had disappointed some investors.
- Q2 free cash flow was $1.71B. Sales/marketing spend +70% Y/Y to $195M; R&D +68% to $315M.
- GMV was RMB501B ($81.6B), +17% Q/Q and +45% Y/Y (46% growth was seen in Q1). Mobile accounted for 32.8% of GMV (up from Q1's 27.4%), and mobile revenue more than doubled Q/Q to $400M.
- Annual orders +14% Q/Q to 14.5B; annual active buyers +9% to 279M; annual active sellers +11% to 8.5M; mobile monthly active users (MAUs) +15% to 188M.
- Alibaba's Taobao marketplace (focused on smaller merchants) had a Q2 GMV of RMB342B, +33% Y/Y. The Tmall marketplace (focused on larger merchants) had a GMV of RMB159B, +81%.
- Yahoo (YHOO +0.3%) is up slightly following Alibaba's release, which might be the company's last earnings update before its IPO.
- Related tickers: OTCPK:SFTBF, OTCPK:SFTBY
Aug. 12, 2014, 5:15 PM
- In a new F-1, Alibaba (Pending:BABA) discloses it has restructured its agreement with Chinese online payments giant Alipay and its parent, Small and Micro Financial Services.
- Most notably, Alibaba will receive a 37.5% stake in Small and Micro/Alipay in the event of an IPO featuring a $25B+ valuation and $2B+ in gross proceeds. The deal is contingent on Alibaba's stake in Small and Micro not having reached 33% at IPO time. Previously, Alibaba's Alipay IPO payout was capped at $6B.
- In the meantime, Alibaba will receive 37.5% of Small and Micro's pre-tax income in exchange for IP licensing and "software technology services." Its profit payout will be reduced in proportion to the equity stake it obtains in Small and Micro.
- Alibaba is also selling assets related to its loan business for small/mid-sized companies (SMEs) to to Small and Micro for $518M, and entering into "software system use and service agreements" related to the SME loan business in exchange for an annual fee. From 2015-2017, the fee will be 2.5% of the average daily book balance for micro loans.
- Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) is up 0.8% AH.
- Related tickers: OTCPK:SFTBF, OTCPK:SFTBY
Aug. 8, 2014, 11:10 AM
- "Price competition will intensify ... Sprint (S -4.4%) will soon be ready to join the fray," says SoftBank's (OTCPK:SFTBF) Masayoshi Son following the end of Sprint's bid to acquire T-Mobile.
- Son notes SoftBank used aggressive pricing and marketing to gain Japanese mobile share following the acquisition of Vodafone's struggling Japanese unit - "We had nothing we could be proud of ... But we were still able to win more net users than anyone else." - and mentions Sprint is testing new service plans (previous).
- T-Mobile, of course, is already quite aggressive with its pricing, and AT&T had made sizable price cuts of its own in response. Verizon is refusing to return fire for now.
- Sprint is now down 23% since reports emerged it's giving up on trying to buy T-Mobile for the time being.
Aug. 6, 2014, 9:22 AM
- Sprint (NYSE:S) has confirmed reports CEO Dan Hesse is leaving, and will be replaced by Marcelo Claure, founder/CEO of of mobile hardware distributor Brighstar.
- Claure, 43, is already a member of Sprint's board. He'll be resigning from Brighstar, and SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF) will acquire his remaining interest in the company. Bloomberg states Hesse may receive a $40M+ severance package.
- Shares are off sharply premarket due to widespread reports Sprint is ending its bid (for now) to acquire T-Mobile on account of regulatory opposition, as investors fear the carrier will continue bleeding share to T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T as an independent entity.
- More on Sprint/T-Mobile
Aug. 5, 2014, 7:14 PM
- Bloomberg joins the WSJ in reporting Sprint (NYSE:S) is abandoning its T-Mobile USA bid. The news service adds Sprint plans to name a new CEO as soon as tomorrow.
- Dan Hesse has been Sprint's CEO since 2007. But with a T-Mobile deal apparently off the table and Sprint continuing to lose share to rivals, SoftBank's (OTCPK:SFTBF) Masayoshi Son may feel new leadership is needed.
- S -4.5% AH
- Update: Re/code reports Marcelo Claure, founder of mobile hardware distributor Brightstar, will be named Sprint's CEO. Shares finished AH trading down 15.1% on the T-Mobile news.
Aug. 5, 2014, 6:58 PM
- The WSJ reports Sprint (NYSE:S) is abandoning its bid to acquire T-Mobile USA (NYSE:TMUS) due to excessive regulatory hurdles.
- There were already many doubts about the ability of a Sprint/T-Mobile deal to pass muster with regulators.
- If Sprint is out of the picture, the coast is clear for Iliad (OTC:ILIAF) to pursue T-Mobile, provided financing isn't an issue. There were multiple reports earlier today indicating T-Mobile is rejecting Iliad's initial $33/share offer for a 56.6% stake.
- TMUS -5.6% AH
- Related tickers: OTCQX:DTEGY, OTCPK:SFTBF
Aug. 5, 2014, 3:59 PM
- The WSJ reports T-Mobile USA (TMUS +0.8%) has rejected Iliad's (OTC:ILIAF) request for access to its books, and won't change its mind in the absence of a better bid. The FT reports a formal rejection of Iliad's $33/share offer for a 56.6% stake in T-Mobile could arrive tomorrow.
- As it is, Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY) was reported to have liked Sprint's (S -1.4%) offer better. Sprint and parent SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF) are rumored to be offering ~$40/share, but their bid also carries much more regulatory risk.
- Reuters reports Iliad is talking with investors for help in sweetening its offer. Sources state the carrier has engaged pay-TV providers Dish , Cox, and Charter, as well as infrastructure, pension, and sovereign wealth funds.
- The news service adds DT is (not surprisingly) skeptical about Iliad's claim a merger between a French carrier and a U.S. carrier will yield $10B in synergies.
Aug. 1, 2014, 4:08 AM| 5 Comments
Jul. 31, 2014, 3:58 PM
- Sources tell Bloomberg T-Mobile USA (TMUS +6.7%) parent Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY) views Iliad's (OTC:ILIAF) $33/share offer for a 56.6% stake in T-Mobile as less competitive than Sprint's (S -5.9%) bid, previously reported to be around $40/share.
- Though Iliad declares its bid values the T-Mobile shares it won't own at $40.50, that figure includes $10B worth of synergies the French carrier predicts a merger will yield. Sprint and SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF), of course, predict their offer would also yield major synergies.
- "Iliad is about a third of the size of T-Mobile US, and we don't think there would be synergies from the deal," says analyst Jonathan Chaplin. He adds a deal will be tough to finance without Iliad founder/majority shareholder Xavier Neil surrendering control.
- Nonetheless, T-Mobile has rallied to $33 on news of Iliad's bid, which is bound to face less FCC/DOJ scrutiny if accepted and successfully financed.
- The offer is overshadowing a solid Q2 report from T-Mobile. The carrier saw 1.5M net customer adds in Q2 (up from 1.3M in Q1), slightly more than Verizon's Q2 adds and well above AT&T and Sprint's. Branded postpaid net adds totaled 908K (579K phone adds), and branded prepaid net adds 102K. Service revenue rose 7.1% Y/Y.
Jul. 31, 2014, 1:02 PM
- France's Iliad (OTC:ILIAF) is offering $15B in cash for a 56.6% stake in T-Mobile USA (TMUS +7.3%) at a price of $33/share. Iliad values the remaining 43.4% at $40.50/share. Sprint (S -5.3%) has been reported to be planning a ~$40/share deal.
- Iliad says it has obtained financing from unnamed banks, and would also do a capital raise to help pay for the deal. One issue: Iliad has a current market cap of just $16B, less than T-Mobile's $24.8B and Sprint's $30.6B. Sprint has reportedly lined up a $40B+ debt package to finance a T-Mobile deal.
- A source tells the WSJ Iliad, which has upended the French mobile market with its aggressive pricing, views a T-Mobile merger as a "one-time opportunity to enter the world's-largest telecoms market."
- Iliad also thinks (perhaps with good reason, given FCC/DOJ remarks) regulators will be more comfortable with its bid than Sprint's, since Iliad has no U.S. presence.
- AT&T (T -2%) and Verizon (VZ -2.3%) have joined Sprint in selling off, as investors mull the possibility of a deal that would leave the number of nationwide U.S. carriers at 4. Concerns about Iliad's pricing history might also be weighing on shares.
- Related tickers: OTCPK:SFTBF, OTCQX:DTEGY
- Earlier: Iliad reportedly bids for T-Mobile USA
Jul. 23, 2014, 9:40 PM
- After talking with an unnamed "large Yahoo shareholder that is preparing a presentation" featuring a similar thesis, fund manager Eric Jackson thinks there's a good chance Alibaba (Pending:BABA) or SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF) will acquire Yahoo (YHOO +3.3%).
- His reasoning: Whereas the value of Yahoo's stakes in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan (OTCPK:YAHOF) are currently discounted for future tax payments, the pre-tax valuations are what matter to Alibaba and SoftBank. The former would be buying back a 22.5% pre-IPO stake in itself, and the latter would be adding to its respective 34.3% and 43% stakes in Alibaba and YJ.
- Jackson estimates Yahoo's assets are worth $56/share to either acquirer - he values the post-IPO Alibaba stake at $33, the YJ stake at $9, and Yahoo's core business at $5, and adds $9 for cash (inc. IPO share sales).
- He speculates Alibaba (were it the buyer) could trade the YJ stake to SoftBank for part of its Alibaba stake (adding to the scope of its buyback), and notes new SoftBank Internet/media chief Nikesh Arora reportedly wanted to buy Yahoo while at Google.
- One caveat: Acquiring Yahoo would give SoftBank a 56.8% stake in Alibaba before factoring IPO dilution. The Chinese government likely wouldn't be pleased with that. Jackson suggests SoftBank could trade part of its Alibaba stake post-acquisition for "something of similar value," but doesn't say what.
- Previous: Alibaba reportedly planning September IPO
Jul. 17, 2014, 4:27 PM
- In tandem with its Q2 report, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) announces long-time sales chief Nikesh Arora (well-respected in the industry) is leaving to become SoftBank's (OTCPK:SFTBF) vice chairman and Internet/Media chief.
- Google's paid clicks (boosted by mobile and product listing ads) rose 2% Q/Q and 25% Y/Y in Q2, after growing 25% Y/Y in Q1. Paid clicks on Google sites rose 6% Q/Q and 33% Y/Y, while those on ad networks were down 5% Q/Q and up 9% Y/Y.
- Cost per click (hurt by low smartphone ad prices) was flat Q/Q and down 6% Y/Y. The Y/Y drop was narrower than Q1's 9%. CPC was down 2% Q/Q and 7% Y/Y on Google sites, and up 3% Q/Q and down 13% Y/Y on ad networks.
- Google sites revenue (69% of total) +23% Y/Y vs. +21% in Q1. Network revenue (21% of total) +7% Y/Y vs. +4%. Other revenue (10% of total, includes hardware and Google Play) +53% vs. +48%.
- Traffic acquisition costs were 23% of revenue, even with Q1 and down from 25% a year ago. Opex was 35% of revenue, even with Q1 and up from 34% a year ago.
- Free cash flow was $2.98B, below net income of $4.18B. Capex was a hefty $2.65B.
- Google ended Q2 with $61.2B in cash, up $1.8B Q/Q.
- GOOG +2% AH. Q2 results, PR.
Jul. 17, 2014, 11:40 AM
- The NYT reports Alibaba (Pending:BABA) now plans to price its IPO "sometime after Labor Day."
- Though past reports stated Alibaba is aiming for an early-August offering, the company needs more time to take care of several issues, including wrapping up an SEC review, deciding on its IPO valuation range, and finalizing roadshow presentation plans.
- Yahoo (YHOO -1.4%) is adding to yesterday's post-earnings losses amid a broader tech selloff. The company is 2 days removed from disclosing it has lowered the number of Alibaba shares it's required to sell at IPO time by 33%, and plans to return at least half the proceeds to shareholders.
- Per Alibaba's latest F-1, Yahoo owns 22.5% of the Chinese e-commerce giant, and SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF) 34.3%.
Jul. 16, 2014, 12:35 AM
- VMware (NYSE:VMW) is forming a JV with SoftBank (OTCMKTS:SFTBF) to offer its vCloud Hybrid cloud infrastructure (IaaS) service in Japan. VMware will build and run the service, and SoftBank will provide the data centers and network it runs on. Both companies will offer the service through their sales channels.
- Over in China, VMware is partnering with China Telecom (NYSE:CHA) to offer vCloud Hybrid. In this case, China Telecom will operate the service, and VMware will simply provide the underlying software. The arrangement could appeal to Chinese firms hesitant to use a public cloud run by a U.S. company (say, Amazon) following the NSA uproar.
- Until now, vCloud Hybrid (launched in 2013) was only available at U.S. and U.K. sites. The service has won praise for the way it lets users jointly manage and quickly migrate public and private cloud workloads, but it continues facing tough competition from Amazon, Microsoft (the hybrid cloud leader), Google, IBM, and Rackspace, among others.
- Separately, parent EMC's RSA unit has bought technology assets from Symplified, a provider of cloud identity management services that enable single sign-on and automatic user provisioning for a variety of cloud apps/services. Symplified is shutting down its operations.
- EMC/RSA says it will add Symplified's IP to its Identity solutions portfolio. The purchase follows RSA's 2013 acquisition of Aveksa, a provider of tools for managing access to corporate apps and data.
- VMware reports on July 22, and EMC the following morning.
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