Thu, May 7, 9:30 AM
- Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) has jumped to $89.05 after posting an FQ4 beat amid low expectations. Along with the results, the company has announced COO Daniel Zhang is its new CEO, effective May 10; current CEO Jonathan Lu will stay on board as vice chairman, joining Joseph Tsai in holding that title. Jack Ma remains executive chairman.
- Revenue growth accelerated to 45% Y/Y from FQ3's 40%. Chinese marketplaces GMV rose 40% to RMB600B ($96.6B), a slowdown from FQ3's 49%. Mobile accounted for 51% of GMV, up from 42% in FQ3 and 36% in FQ2. Annual active buyers +5% Q/Q and +37% Y/Y to 350M.
- A stabilizing monetization rate (revenue as a % of GMV) helped make the FQ4 beat possible: After falling 35 bps Y/Y in seasonally strong FQ3 to 2.7%, monetization rate fell just 1 bps Y/Y in FQ4 to 2.17%. Making this possible: Mobile monetization rate rose to 1.73% from 0.98% a year ago. Altogether, mobile revenue rose 352% Y/Y and was 40% of China retail marketplace revenue vs. 30% in FQ3 and 12% a year ago.
- Segment performance: China retail commerce revenue +39% Y/Y to $2.11B. China wholesale +42% to $136M. International wholesale +19% to $190M. International retail +53% to $70M. Cloud computing/Web infrastructure +82% to $63M. Everything else (boosted by acquisitions) +169% to $243M. Taobao GMV +29% to $61B; Tmall GMV +62% to $35B.
- Financials: Free cash flow +143% Y/Y to $914M; it trailed net income of $1.25B. R&D spend ($491M) was 17% of revenue vs. 10% a year ago; sales/marketing ($408M) was 15% of revenue vs. 11%; G&A ($400M) was 14% of revenue vs. 4%. Soaring stock compensation expenses (driven by the IPO) contributed to the spending growth. Alibaba had $19.7B in cash at the end of March.
- Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) has risen to $44.95 thanks to Alibaba. SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF) has seen the value of 797.7M-share Alibaba stake grow by over $7B.
- Alibaba's FQ4 results, PR
Thu, Mar. 12, 8:56 PM
- With the market open in Tokyo, the Nikkei index has passed 19,000 for the first time since the dot-com bust, to reach a new 15-year high, following on the U.S. market's strong day. The index is up 0.7% so far, to 19,130.
- Early top gainers included robotics firm Fanuc (OTCPK:FANUY), up 10.2% in local trade early, while Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBY) is up 0.5% and Fast Retailing (OTCPK:FRCOY) up 1.7%.
- Big exporters are benefiting from a weaker yen: Toshiba (OTCPK:TOSYY) up 0.3%; Toyota (NYSE:TM) up 0.3% in Tokyo trade.
- ETFs: DXJ, EWJ, FXY, YCS, DFJ, JYN, NKY, DBJP, EZJ, EWV, JPNL, YCL, DXJS, SCJ, JSC, ITF, JPP, HEWJ, FJP, QJPN, JPMV, DXJT, DXJH, DXJR, DXJC, DXJF
Wed, Feb. 25, 12:53 PM
- Sprint (NYSE:S) just keeps moving today (up 6.7%) alongside rumors that its network expansion may be more aggressive than announced.
- Aside from Sprint's recent 48-market Spark/LTE rollout, niche Sprint-network tracker S4GRU claims there are plans for 9,000 new LTE sites -- a key organic move, after Sprint had previously expanded via different tech from Nextel and Clearwire.
- The plan is supposedly highly targeted per market and will involve "significant capital spend" -- which would raise the question: If Masa Son (OTCPK:SFTBY) is keeping a close eye on the purse, where's the money coming from?
- "Project Ocean" and "Project Cedar" expansions in central U.S. and Montana are already funded, but the other 8,000 sites will need some detailing for any funds beyond initiation.
Thu, Jan. 29, 9:37 AM
- Alibaba's (NYSE:BABA) FQ3 GMV rose 49% Y/Y to RMB787B ($127B). However, its monetization rate (revenue as a % of GMV) fell 35 bps Y/Y to 2.7%, leading revenue growth to only reach 40%. By contrast, monetization rate fell just 1 bps (to 2.30%) in FQ2.
- A major culprit: Mobile grew to 42% of GMV from 36% in FQ2 and 20% a year ago. And the mobile monetization rate (1.96% vs. 1.87% in FQ2 and 1.12% a year ago) remains well below the total rate. Mobile was 30% of revenue vs. 42% of GMV.
- A bright spot: EBITDA rose 34% Y/Y to $2.43B, better than expectations for 24% growth and driving the EPS beat. Heavy spending led EBITDA margin to slip to 58% from 60% a year ago. With stock compensation spend (IPO-driven) rising to 16% of revenue from 4%, and new business initiatives growing, operating expenses rose to 33% of revenue from 30%, and gross margin fell to 71% from 78%.
- China commerce revenue +32% to $3.6B (a slowdown from FQ2's 47%); international commerce (AliExpress-driven) +39% to $284M; cloud computing/infrastructure +85% to $58M; everything else (boosted by acquisitions) +266% to $309M.
- Taobao GMV (driven by smaller merchants) +43% to $80B; Tmall GMV (driven by larger merchants) +60% to $47B. Annual active buyers rose to 334M from 307M in FQ2 and 231M a year ago.
- Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) is following Alibaba lower, and is now down 9% since posting Q4 results and announcing its spinoff plans.
- Alibaba's FQ3 results, PR
- Related tickers: OTCPK:SFTBF, OTCPK:SFTBY
Sep. 29, 2014, 5:47 PM
- The WSJ says it "wasn't immediately clear" what led buyout talks between SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF) and Dreamworks (NASDAQ:DWA) to cool. The paper now reports the companies "could ultimately strike a deal other than an outright takeover ... for instance some kind of content partnership."
- DWA -7.4% AH to $26.10. Shares rose 26% in regular trading on reports of acquisition talks featuring a $32/share offer.
Sep. 22, 2014, 7:32 AM
- The Alibaba catalyst in the rearview mirror, Bank of America and Bernstein both pull Buy ratings on Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO).
- Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBF) tumbled 6.1% in Tokyo action overnight. "Part of the market used Softbank as an investment vehicle for Alibaba," says Jefferies' Atul Goyal. "And now that segment of the market doesn’t need to invest in it." Softbank owns 34% of Alibaba and its CEO said last week it has no intention of being a seller. Goyal reminds those selling Softbank today that Alibaba is just one of its investments, and Masayoshi Son has a number of other potential gems in the portfolio.
- Yahoo -2% premarket
Sep. 19, 2014, 12:01 PM
- Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) opened at $92.70 and has quickly jumped to at $99, up 45.6% from a $68 IPO price. Its market cap stands at a whopping $246.6B (66x FY14 EPS), as investors bet the company's strong top-line growth (46% Y/Y in Q2) won't let up.
- Yahoo (YHOO +1.2%) remains higher. With underwriters expected to exercise a 15% overallotment option, the company will be selling 140M shares through the IPO, good for pre-tax proceeds of $9.5B.
- SoftBank's (OTCPK:SFTBF) 797.7M-share stake has a current pre-tax value of $79B.
- Prior Alibaba coverage
- Prospectus, IPO preview
Sep. 15, 2014, 2:39 PM
- America Movil (AMX +2.4%) has contacted potential suitors including AT&T (T +0.6%) and SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBY, OTCPK:SFTBF), and perhaps BCE’s Bell Canada (BCE -0.1%) and China Mobile (CHL +1%), as it prepares to sell assets along the east coast of Mexico that could fetch as much as $17.5B, Bloomberg reports.
- AMX is selling assets in its biggest market to appease antitrust regulators; the Mexico-based carrier, which commands 70% of the local wireless market and 80% of landlines, may get penalties revoked if it cuts market share below 50%.
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
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. 15, 2014, 2:13 PM
- Sprint (S -3.7%) and T-Mobile (TMUS -3.1%) plan to form a JV that will raise $10B to spend on next year's giant low-frequency spectrum auction, the WSJ reports.
- The funds are said to be part of the $45B financing package (previous) SoftBank (OTCMKTS:SFTBF) is lining up to enable a Sprint/T-Mobile merger (regulators permitting). T-Mobile will oversee the JV.
- Two months ago, the FCC set rules limiting how much spectrum Verizon and AT&T can buy through the auction. That opens the door for Sprint and T-Mobile to grab a large chunk of the airwaves. Each has a relative dearth of low-frequency spectrum (superior for rural and in-building coverage).
- Sprint currently has $26.6B in net debt, and T-Mobile roughly $9B. Shares of both companies have fallen on the report.
Jul. 11, 2014, 1:32 PM
- The Nikkei reports SoftBank (SFTBF) is close to a deal for a Sprint (S +4.4%)/T-Mobile (TMUS +1.9%) merger. Shares of both companies have moved higher.
- Reuters reported 3 weeks ago Sprint and T-Mobile were looking to announce a deal around August, and that the former had lined up a $40B+ debt package. Prior reports mentioned a ~$40/share T-Mobile acquisition price and a $2B breakup fee.
- T-Mobile is still below $34, as doubts about regulatory support for a deal remain high.
- Prior Sprint/T-Mobile coverage
Jun. 4, 2014, 5:56 PM
- Bloomberg reports Sprint (S) and T-Mobile USA (TMUS) are near an agreement for a deal that would value T-Mobile at ~$40/share. The WSJ is also reporting a ~$40/share price.
- S +3.7% AH. TMUS +3.2% to $36.02 - a price that points to ongoing regulatory worries.
- Sprint's offer will reportedly feature a 50-50 cash/stock split, and leave Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY), which currently owns 67% of T-Mobile, with a 15% stake in the combined company. Bloomberg's sources state an announcement could happen by July.
- In addition, the carriers are reportedly close to agreeing on a breakup fee - Sprint and parent SoftBank (SFTBF) have reportedly been pushing for a smaller breakup fee for a deal that's bound to face tough DOJ/FCC scrutiny; T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom have wanted a bigger one.
- More on Sprint/T-Mobile
May 29, 2014, 9:12 AM
- Japan's Kyodo news agency reports Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY) has signed off on a SoftBank (SFTBF)/Sprint (S) bid to acquire its 67% stake in T-Mobile USA (TMUS).
- DT has previously suggested it's open to a deal as SoftBank/Sprint worked to line up financing - in addition to T-Mobile's equity, a deal has to account for $8.7B in net debt.
- But all signs suggest regulators remain wary of a tie-up lowering the number of nationwide U.S. mobile carriers to three, in spite of Masayoshi Son's relentless PR efforts.
- TMUS +1.6% premarket. S +2.5%.
SFTBF vs. ETF Alternatives
Other News & PR