Jan. 23, 2014, 9:12 AM| Jan. 23, 2014, 9:12 AM | Comment!
Jan. 17, 2014, 9:48 AM
- Sina (SINA -5%) has been cut to Hold by Jefferies. Shares fell yesterday thanks to a government report estimating Weibo users fell 9% in 2013.
- Maxwell (MXWL +8.5%) has been upgraded to Overweight by Piper. Q4 results are due on Feb. 20.
- Changyou (CYOU -1%) has been cut to Neutral by Credit Suisse.
- Harmonic (HLIT -12.8%) has been cut to Underperform ahead of its Jan. 28 Q4 report.
- Stamps.com (STMP +0.5%) has been started at Outperform by Northland.
Jan. 16, 2014, 11:59 AM
- Chinese government agency CNNIC estimates Sina's (SINA -3.9%) Weibo user base fell 9% in 2013 to 281M, thanks to tough competition from Tencent's (TCEHY) WeChat mobile messaging platform.
- Sina, which has admitted in the past WeChat's rapid growth is pressuring Weibo engagement, had 60.2M Weibo daily active users in Q3. WeChat had 271.9M monthly active users as of Q3 (not an apples-to-apples comparison), and has 600M+ registered accounts, including over 100M outside of China.
- Altogether, CNNIC estimates China had 617.6M Internet users at the end of 2013, and 500.1M mobile Web users.
Jan. 8, 2014, 11:54 AM
- Alibaba (ABABA), whose ambitions have been steadily expanding beyond e-commerce, plans to launch a mobile gaming platform for 3rd-party titles.
- The service will be aimed squarely at Chinese online/mobile gaming leader Tencent (TCEHY), and will give developers a hefty 70% cut. Alibaba also plans to integrate the service with its Laiwang messaging app (competes with Tencent's dominant WeChat) and the mobile app for its Taobao e-commerce platform.
- In addition to Tencent, Alibaba will be taking on a slew of other mobile game distributors, including NQ Mobile's (NQ +1.7%) FL Mobile unit.
- Chinese game developer Perfect World (PWRD +10.1%) has skyrocketed in morning trading. Peers Changyou (CYOU +4.1%) and NetEase (NTES +3.5%) are also up sharply.
- Also: Alibaba's Alipay online payments unit has struck a deal with Sina (SINA +1.5%) to allow Weibo users to make online and offline payments via Alipay. Sina investors have been expecting the company's partnership with Alibaba (bought an 18% stake last year) to yield service launches that would improve Weibo monetization.
Dec. 27, 2013, 1:54 PM
- With high-flying Twitter (downgraded by Macquarie) leading the way, several Internet momentum plays that have delivered big 2013 gains are seeing some year-end profit-taking.
- In addition to Twitter, notable decliners include Netflix (NFLX -2.8%), Pandora (P -3.6%), Trulia (TRLA -2.7%), Zillow (Z -2.4%), and Groupon (GRPN -1.9%).
- On the other hand, many Chinese Internet names are adding to this year's gains. In addition to Baidu (buying Perfect World's e-book unit) and Ctrip (received a bullish T.H. Capital note), gainers include Sina (SINA +4.9%), Dangdang (DANG +4.8%), YY (YY +4%), 58.com (WUBA +3%), and NetEase (NTES +3.4%). An overnight Shanghai rally is likely helping.
Dec. 10, 2013, 1:34 PM
- Though still generally below their mid-October highs, Internet momentum stocks are turning in what might be their best performance during a rally that has now lasted two weeks. While Twitter (previous) is the star of the show, Facebook (FB +3.5%), Yelp (YELP +1.8%), Groupon (GRPN +4.7%), Netflix (NFLX +2.1%), LinkedIn (LNKD +1.4%), and Pandora (P +3.4%) aren't getting left out.
- Several Chinese Internet names are also higher. In addition to Baidu, which is benefiting from a bullish Pac Crest note, Sina (SINA +6%), Ctrip (CTRP +6.1%), Qunar (QUNR +6.3%), and Youku (YOKU +3.9%) are staring at big gains.
- Morgan Stanley's Scott Devitt is out with another bullish note on Groupon. Devitt notes an MS survey of 358 SMBs found only 26% of merchants have run Groupon deals in the last 12 months, something he thinks suggests there's "a long run way of merchants" that can still be signed up.
- He also sees room for Groupon to improve its customer targeting - the company still isn't able to track which deals were shown to customers, or were clicked on, in prior e-mails - and expects its new site (allows deals to be browsed without an e-mail address being given) and a revamped e-mail layout to boost growth.
Dec. 6, 2013, 2:49 PM
- Marbridge Consulting reports Sina (SINA -2.6%) is partnering with Chinese asset management firms E Fund Management and China Southern Asset Management to launch " a series of 3 limited investment currency-based fund products with a targeted 10% annual return."
- If the report pans out, Sina would be far from alone among Chinese Web giants in showing an interest in financial services. Baidu recently launched an online wealth management platform aiming to give depositors an 8% annual return, and Alibaba (owns 18% of Sina) and Tencent have also launched financial services products.
- The companies are looking to take share from China's giant state-owned banks, and to profit from the Middle Kingdom's sky-high household savings rate.
Nov. 15, 2013, 7:57 AM
- SINA is offering $700M in convertible senior notes due 2018. The notes carry an interest rate of just 1%, and sport a conversion price of $123.70 (45% above yesterday's close). A $100M overallotment option is attached. If fully converted, the offering would increase Sina's diluted share count by 8% from current levels. (PR)
- The Chinese microblogging leader will use $100M of the proceeds to buy back shares. The rest will be used for "general corporate purposes, including working capital needs and potential acquisition of complementary businesses."
- Given Sina has no need for the money to finance its operations - thanks in part to the Alibaba investment, Sina ended Q3 with over $1.21B in cash/investments, and no debt - there's a good chance some of it will be directed towards investments/acquisitions.
- Sina is far from alone among high-flying Chinese Internet companies in raising convertible debt.
Nov. 13, 2013, 9:08 AM
Nov. 12, 2013, 5:45 PM
Nov. 12, 2013, 5:27 PM
- SINA expects Q4 revenue of $190M-$194M, well above a $182.1M consensus. Ad revenue is expected to total $160M-$162M, up from a Q4 2012 level of $110.7M.
- Q3 ad sales rose 26% Y/Y to $151.6M; that's a faster growth rate than Q2's 17%. A major reason: Weibo ad sales jumped 46% Q/Q and 125% Y/Y to $43.7M.
- Non-ad revenue only rose 5% Y/Y to $28.4M, after growing 35% in Q2. The slowdown occurred even though Weibo value-added service revenue rose 26% Q/Q and 121% Y/Y to $9.7M.
- Gross margin jumped to 64% from 54% in Q2 and the year-ago period. Sina says its "efforts to scale its core advertising business profitably" are improving margins.
- Opex rose 23% Y/Y, slightly outpacing rev. growth of 21%. A 29% increase in R&D spend to $36.6M had much to do with the increase.
- SINA +3.4% AH. CC at 8PM ET. Q3 results, PR.
Nov. 12, 2013, 4:46 PM
Nov. 12, 2013, 12:10 AM
Nov. 11, 2013, 5:35 PM
Nov. 7, 2013, 11:48 AM
- Even as Twitter blasts off to a $25B valuation following its much-hyped IPO, U.S. and foreign Internet stocks are giving back some more of the massive 2013 gains that have led many names to trade at steep multiples.
- One sign investors in this space are in a profit-taking mood: Zillow (Z -4.3%) and YY both sold off yesterday in spite of delivering Q3 beats (I, II) and above-consensus guidance; Zillow is adding to its losses today. Likewise, SouFun (SFUN -5.4%) has turned negative after providing a Q3 beat and strong guidance.
- Notable U.S. decliners: FB -2.4%. LNKD -2.8%. GRPN -4.7% (reports after the close). ZNGA -2.7%. P -3.8%. TRLA -5.4%.
- Notable foreign decliners: BIDU -2.4%. QIHU -6.7%. SINA -5% (generally viewed as the Chinese Twitter). DANG -6.2%. VIPS -7.7%. RENN -4.2%. AMAP -4.7%. CTRP -5.7%. YOKU -5.6%. RENN -4.2%. YNDX -5.1%. MELI -2.4% (plunged yesterday thanks to a Q3 miss). SIFY -2.6%.
- Internet/social media ETFs: FDN, PNQI, SOCL
Oct. 29, 2013, 8:21 PM
- Several Chinese Internet names recently pressured by a generally selloff in tech momentum plays are up AH after Baidu beat Q3 estimates on the back of strong growth in ad revenue/customer, and issued above-consensus Q4 guidance.
- SINA +2.3% AH. QIHU +2.1%. YOKU +2%. RENN +2.1%. NTES +2.5%. DANG +1.6%.
- NQ Mobile (NQ) is up 2.5% AH after posting a 25.1% gain in regular trading as investors welcomed its fund transfer announcement.
- Bulls and bears continue to argue fiercely over NQ's prospects. On SA, bearish Goldbaum Research observes NQ's games (offered via its FL Mobile game publishing subsidiary) appear to have been pulled from Apple's App Store, while bullish Toro Investment Partners argues Muddy Waters' track record is quite mixed, and that many firms have had a chance to look at NQ's books.
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