Jan. 23, 2014, 9:59 AM
- SEC administrative law judge Cameron Elliot has barred the Chinese units of the Big-4 accounting firms - KPMG, Deloitte, PwC, and Ernst & Young - from auditing U.S.-listed companies for six months.
- Elliot declares the accounting firms "willfully" chose to withhold audit work papers from U.S. regulators for Chinese companies being investigated for accounted fraud. The firms have been worried about violating Chinese privacy laws by turning over the papers, and have argued the dispute needs to be resolved politically.
- Though the firms plan to appeal and say they can continue serving Chinese clients for now, shares of Chinese Web and solar names aren't handling the news well. Soft Chinese PMI data could be worsening matters.
- Chinese Web decliners: BIDU -2.5%. SOHU -3.2%. DANG -8.9%. SFUN -8.5%. PWRD -8.5%. QUNR -7.1%. LITB -6.5%. YY -6.1%. WUBA -6%. BITA -5.4%. EJ -5.9%. SINA -4.6%. LITB -6.5%. CTRP -5.4%. NQ -7.1%.
- Chinese solar decliners: TSL -8.7%. JASO -6.9%. SOL -6.3%. JKS -5.6%. CSIQ -5.4%. DQ -4.6%. YGE -5.6%. CSUN -6.2%. HSOL -7.8%.
- Qihoo (QIHU -4.6%) has joined the selloff in spite of a BrightWire report stating Alibaba (ABABA) has reached a deal to acquire a stake in the company. Marbridge Consulting reported two weeks ago Qihoo and Alibaba were in talks about a possible investment.
Jan. 2, 2014, 10:44 AM
- Saturday Night Live (CMCSA) has made its debut on Chinese video site Sohu.com (SOHU +0.5%).
- The development marks another important step in attempting to spur more Chinese audiences to watch content through legitimate channels, instead of through piracy.
- What to watch: If significant progress is continued to be made in China with copyright protection and government interference is held in check, the market for broadcasters (DIS, AMCX, VIAB, FOXA, CBS) could explode as younger viewers in China lap up quality U.S.-produced shows.
- "It's fashionable to be a fan of American culture -- they [Chinese viewers] feel dignified, a person with class," notes Sohu.com CEO Charles Zhang on the trend.
Dec. 10, 2013, 12:49 PM
- Pac Crest (Outperform) says its Chinese checks indicate Baidu's (BIDU +3.9%) Q4 trends are stable, at the company's growth rate can match that of the Chinese search market going forward.
- Though shares have risen sharply this year thanks to improved ad monetization (particularly on mobile) and a general rally in Chinese Internet stocks, concerns about search share losses to Qihoo (QIHU +1.4%) and (to a lesser extent) Sohu's (SOHU +2%) Sogou unit have persisted.
- Research firm CNZZ estimates Baidu had a 61.7% Chinese search share in October, down from 73.5% a year earlier. Over the same time, Qihoo's share surged to 21.4% from 9.8%, and Sogou's rose to 10.5% from 7.5%.
Nov. 26, 2013, 1:33 PM
- Citi, Goldman, Macquarie, Jefferies, and Maxim have raised their Qihoo (QIHU +6.4%) PTs following the company's Q3 report (I, II). That's helping shares recoup a big chunk of yesterday's post-earnings losses; they're now only down 3% from Friday's close.
- Citi (Buy, $87 PT) has lifted its 2013-2015 EPS estimates by 7%-16% in response to Qihoo's Q3 beat and solid Q4 guidance. Macquarie (Outperform, $118 PT) praises Qihoo's search and mobile momentum: The firm estimates search revenue rose 87% Q/Q and made up 15% of total revenue, and that mobile revenue rose 67% Q/Q and made up 13% of total revenue.
- Goldman (Neutral, $79 PT) notes management stated on the CC (transcript) Qihoo's Chinese search share is up to 22%, and estimates its share is now 700-800 bps above that of Sohu's (SOHU +2.9%) Sogou unit.
- At the same time, with Qihoo estimating it only has a 1% search revenue share - Goldman thinks Sogou's search revenue remains 2x larger - the firm sees plenty of room to improve monetization. However, it cautions the investments needed to so are likely to depress near-term margins.
- Separately, a source tells Marbridge Consulting Qihoo plans to separate the management of its mobile gaming ops from that of its Android app store business. The source adds Qihoo's mobile gaming revenue now exceeds its PC browser gaming revenue.
Nov. 21, 2013, 1:06 PM
- Sohu's (SOHU +0.8%) Changyou (CYOU -0.8%) online gaming subsidiary is buying a 62.5% stake in a company that owns Raidcall, developer of a popular online gaming group chat app, for $50M in cash. (PR)
- Raidcall has 20M+ registered users, and offers its software in 14 different languages. Changyou asserts the deal allows it to offer gamers "a more comprehensive selection of products," and aids its efforts to evolve into an online gaming platform (as compared with being a mere game developer).
- The deal comes less than a month after Changyou shares were clobbered due to weak Q4 EPS guidance attributed to heavy sales/marketing investments.
Nov. 13, 2013, 3:49 PM
- Six days after dropping in the face of Twitter's strong debut, high-flying Internet names are rallying in the wake of Chinese microblogging leader Sina's Q3 beat and strong Q4 guidance.
- The day has also seen a dismal IPO from online textbook rental leader Chegg, a WSJ report of a rejected $3B+ Facebook offer for Snapchat, and a vague afternoon rumor about M&A interest in Trulia from Realogy.
- U.S. standouts: ZNGA +7.4%. LNKD +4.8%. P +3.3%. ANGI +2.6%. GSVC +4.1% (owns a Chegg stake).
- Chinese standouts: QIHU +8.9%. SFUN +7.5%. LITB +6.4%. YY +6.9%. CYOU +6.3%. QUNR +5.7%. CTRP +3.7%.
- Baidu (BIDU +1.4%) is up moderately following news Chinese online video rivals Sohu (SOHU +1.7%) and Youku (YOKU +3%) have joined the MPAA and various entertainment/media companies in suing it for piracy. The assorted parties accuse Baidu of enabling piracy through its video search engine, as well as through video player apps and a TV dongle.
- The suit comes as Baidu ramps its content spending for its iQiyi and PPS video sites.
Oct. 28, 2013, 12:46 PM
Oct. 28, 2013, 9:30 AM
- SOHU is guiding for Q4 revenue of $378M-$390M and EPS of $0.30-$0.35; the former is above a $369.9M consensus, but the latter is below a consensus of $0.48.
- No explanation for the guidance is given, but at least some of the blame lies with Sohu's Changyou subsidiary. Changyou shares are down 17.3% premarket after the online gaming firm guided for Q4 revenue of $193M-$199M and EPS of $0.34-$0.41 vs. a consensus of $190.3M and $1.39; the EPS shortfall is due to a major Q4 ramp in marketing spend.
- Also, Changyou saw a 14% Q/Q and 21% Y/Y drop in gaming monthly active users thanks to a drop in active accounts for its popular Tian Long Ba Bu MMO game before the launch of a new expansion pack.
- Sohu's online ad sales (48% of revenue) rose 21% Q/Q and 56% Y/Y in Q3; the Y/Y pace is faster than Q2's 49% clip. A 60% Y/Y increase in brand ad sales (driven by Sohu's online video and real estate ops) was largely responsible.
- Online game revenue (Changyou, 44% of revenue) fell 4% Q/Q and rose 7% Y/Y. The Y/Y clip represents a slowdown from Q2's 24%. The Sogou search unit, which Tencent will soon own a major stake in, saw revenue grow 48% Y/Y in Q3 vs. 61% in Q2.
- Sohu's gross margin was 66%, flat Q/Q and Y/Y. Opex rose 19% Q/Q and 53% Y/Y (exceeding rev. growth of 29%).
- Shares have priced in some good news this year.
- Q3 results, PR
Oct. 28, 2013, 9:12 AM
Oct. 28, 2013, 5:54 AM
Oct. 28, 2013, 12:05 AM
Oct. 27, 2013, 5:30 PM
Oct. 8, 2013, 11:48 AM
- With the government shutdown having reached day 8, many U.S. and Chinese Internet stocks that have seen giant 2013 gains (often with the help of momentum traders and/or short squeezes) are falling sharply.
- U.S. decliners include Facebook (FB -5.2%), Yahoo (YHOO -5.2%), Netflix (NFLX -4.7%), LinkedIn (LNKD -7%), Zillow (Z -5.3%), Trulia (TRLA -7.5%), Yelp (YELP -9.3%), Groupon (GRPN -4.9%), and Web.com (WWWW -10.2%).
- Chinese decliners include Baidu (BIDU -6.2%), Sina (SINA -7.5%), YY (YY -7.3%), Sohu (SOHU -5.1%), Renren (RENN -9.2%), Youku (YOKU -9.6%), Vipshop (VIPS -6.9%), and Dangdang (DANG -10.7%).
- A chart of the YTD performance of some key names speaks for itself.
Oct. 4, 2013, 12:24 PM
- Chinese Internet firms, already shown plenty of love by momentum traders this year, are rallying again following the release of Twitter's public S-1.
- Chinese microblogging leader Sina (SINA +4%) is among the gainers, and so are fellow social networking plays YY (YY +3.2%) and Renren (RENN +9.7%). But several other names are also taking part in the rally: BIDU +2%. NQ +2.7%. CYOU +6.9%. DANG +4.1%. SOHU +5.4%. SFUN +5.8%. AMAP +3.4%. QIHU +2%.
- Twitter mentioned in its S-1 78% of the 218.3M monthly active users it had at the end of Q2 were outside the U.S. But few of them are in China, where its services (like Facebook's) are generally blocked.
Sep. 26, 2013, 6:00 PM
- Things have turned bitter between Qihoo (QIHU) and SOHU after the latter sold a 36.5% stake in its Sogou search unit to Tencent instead of to Qihoo, as had been speculated. After trading barbs publicly, the two companies are now suing each other over allegations that both companies' software is switching users' browser preferences without permission.
- Beneath the surface of verbal and legal jabs, Qihoo may damage Sohu in a more material way. Wedge Partners analyst Juan Lin notes, "A significant share of Sogou’s search traffic is through traffic acquisition (around 40%) and directed by the Sogou browser. Since Qihoo’s PC anti-virus software has penetrated into over 90% of Chinese internet users, we think it may create difficulties for Sogou to further develop its search engine and browser."
- Further, "[T]here is a risk that Qihoo will reduce the traffic it directs to Sohu video. Currently around 10% of Sohu video traffic comes from Qihoo, and the share has been increasing rapidly."
Sep. 26, 2013, 10:04 AM
- In a coverage launch for Chinese Internet stocks, Baidu (BIDU +0.7%), Ctrip (CTRP +0.2%), Sohu (SOHU +2.5%) Changyou (CYOU +5.4%), and Dangdang (DANG +8.5%) have been started at Outperform by Credit Suisse.
- Tableau (DATA +0.5%) has been started at Outperform by FBN.
- Cavium (CAVM +1.6%) has been started at Overweight by Morgan Stanley.
- Blue Nile (NILE +4.7%) has been started at Buy by B. Riley.
- Applied Materials (AMAT +0.1%) has been upgraded to Buy by Berenberg two days after the Tokyo Electron deal was announced.
- IT/chip distributors Arrow (ARW) and (AVT +0.2%) have been cut to Neutral by UBS.
- HomeAway (AWAY -3.9%) has been cut to Equalweight by Morgan Stanley.
SOHU vs. ETF Alternatives
Sohu.com Incis a Chinese online media, search, gaming, community and mobile service groupproviding comprehensive online products and services on PCs and mobile devices in the People's Republic of China.
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