Wed, Feb. 25, 8:10 AM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) beat on top and bottom lines for Q4 as it continued to segue from a chiefly movie-based program provider into more original series and alternate distribution methods.
- Adjusted OIBDA up 27% to $148.3M; operating income up 31% to $136.1M.
- Revenue breakouts: Starz Networks, $332.6M (up 3%); Starz Distribution, $85.6M (up 2%). For the full year, Starz Networks revenue was up 1% to $1.312B; Starz Distribution revenue slipped 28.5% to $321.5M, on fewer new releases from Weinstein Company and Starz Original series.
- For the quarter, STARZ subscriptions were up by 800K, ENCORE subs up by 300K.
- Full-year STARZ subs were up by 1.1M to 23.3M total; combined STARZ/ENCORE subs of 57.3M.
- The company expects 70 episodes of scripted series in its Starz Originals slate this year and extended its distribution deal with the Weinstein Company through 2020. Starz launched channel packages on Google Chromecast and Xbox One.
- Conference call at 1 p.m. ET.
- Press release
Wed, Feb. 25, 7:36 AM
Tue, Feb. 24, 5:30 PM
Wed, Feb. 11, 6:29 PM
- The deal John Malone struck to get a board seat and 3.43% of Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) might be just the beginning for Malone's Starz network (NASDAQ:STRZA), Miriam Gottfried notes.
- TV networks are entering a new, shaky era of consolidation and direct-offer channels using the Internet, but Starz lacks the benefit of size and has struggled to produce hits.
- As a stand-alone studio, Lions Gate could benefit from getting closer to Starz and its steady cash flow, or even merging.
- The network has been for sale since spinning off from Liberty in 2012, though its CEO tossed cold water on takeover prospects just last month.
- Today: LGF +9.2% (and +0.3% after hours); STRZA +3.5%.
Wed, Feb. 11, 9:20 AM
- Lions Gate Entertainment (NYSE:LGF) is up 6.4% premarket with a stock exchange agreement that adds Liberty's John Malone to its board.
- The deal has Lions Gate exchanging 3.43% of its common stock for 4.51% of stock in Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) held by Malone, who says the transaction "creates the potential for a number of strategic opportunities around the world" with LGF.
Mon, Jan. 26, 12:33 PM
Tue, Jan. 20, 7:59 AM
- Morgan Stanley upgrades Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) to an Overweight rating from Equalweight.
- Analysts with the investment firm set a $32 price target on shares.
- M&A remains in the background of the discussion on Starz with several Chinese conglomerates and tech giants seen as hungry for a content acquisition.
- STRZA +1.8% premarket.
Thu, Jan. 8, 8:33 AM
- Shares of Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) are on watch after the company's CEO made a firm pronouncement on the odds of a takeover during his chat at the Citi 2015 Internet, Media, and Telecommunications Conference yesterday.
- "I've never looked at Starz being acquired as a great end result," said Chris Albrecht.
- A stand-alone Starz appears to still be the primary goal of managment.
- Albrecht has a solid explanation for how the rumors on CBS, 21st Century Fox, and Lions Gate being on the hunt for Starz got started - noting bankers trying to disrupt deals for other bankers are the culprits.
- "This is one incestuous giant mess that results in me sitting and reading something about the company I run," laments the exec.
- Conference webcast
Dec. 31, 2014, 8:42 AM
- Streaming: Sony (NYSE:SNE), HBO (NYSE:TWX), CBS (NYSE:CBS), and Dish Networks (NASDAQ:DISH) are set to unveil streaming products in 2015. The theory of the companies that the skinny bundles will draw in more cord-cutters and cord-nevers than they will cannibalize current pay-TV subscribers will be put to the test. The rush of streaming options could help or hurt Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) depending upon which analysis an investor leans on.
- Theater traffic rebound: Exhibitors (CNK, RGC, AMC, CKEC, IMAX) and movie studios (LGF, VIA, VIAB, DIS, FOXA, CMCSA, TWX) maintain that the decline in theater attendance in 2014 (-6%) was due to a slate of films light on blockbusters. A bounce is forecast for 2015 with high-profile films such as Avengers: The Age of Ultron, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Fifty Shades of Grey, Jurassic World, Spectre (James Bond), and Mission Impossible 5 all set to premiere - along with the reboot of the Star Wars franchise in December. Capex spending on theater upgrades could also help boost in-theater spending and average ticket price for exhibitors.
- Mergers: If regulators allow the Comcast-Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) and AT&T-DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) mergers to sail through it could clear a path for other media combinations, note analysts. Potential buyers include Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), Wanda Group, Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBY), and a TWX-rebuffed 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA). Content producers which could be targets include Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA), Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF), DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA), AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX), and Scripps Networks (NYSE:SNI). A split-up Madison Square Garden (NASDAQ:MSG) could also be enticing.
Dec. 9, 2014, 11:09 AM
- Starz (STRZA +0.3%) CEO Chris Albrecht gave some evasive answers to questions on buyout talks during his appearance at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference this morning.
- "There are only about 10 of us left in the media business... We travel in a pack and we’re always talking to each other," noted the exec.
- Other highlights from the presentation include a strong defense of the decision not to license content to Netflix and a rundown on the strength of the original programming slate at Starz.
- By all appearance, Starz appears to be staying firmly inside the pay-TV system if it isn't swallowed up.
- UBS conference webcast
Dec. 5, 2014, 9:16 AM
- A bet on Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) at its current level factors in a takeover, warn some media analysts who think valuation is too high.
- The loss of exclusive rights to Disney movies in 2016 makes pinning a number on Starz problematic, they note.
- Several entertainment giants are reported to have walked away from the $5B takeover price Starz wants.
- The bull camp thinks strong original programming from Starz gives it upside.
- Starz (STRZA) was upgraded by Macquarie to an Outperform rating from Neutral.
- STRZA +2.2% premarket to $28.37.
Dec. 4, 2014, 3:33 PM
- Starz (STRZA -3.8%) still has considerable potential to be purchased by a larger media company despite CBS walking away, writes Congress Wealth Management CIO Peter Andersen.
- Anderson thinks Comcast (CMCSA -1.5%) or 21st Century Fox (FOXA +1%) might be interested in pulling the trigger near the expected Starz deal price of $5B.
Dec. 4, 2014, 9:54 AM| 1 Comment
Nov. 24, 2014, 8:20 AM
Nov. 23, 2014, 8:20 PM
- Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) is talking to media companies about a buyout in the $5B range, according to the New York Post.
- The target deal price is a lush 46% premium over the current market cap on Starz.
- CBS (NYSE:CBS) and Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF) have both shown an interest, say sources.
- If an outright sale isn't worked out, a strategic partnership could also be in the works as Starz looks to edge into the streaming world
Oct. 30, 2014, 8:12 AM
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