Sep. 17, 2013, 12:55 PM
- Bloomberg reports AT&T (T +0.6%) is looking for a buyer for its massive cell tower portfolio in a deal that could be worth $5B.
- American Tower (AMT -0.3%), Crown Castle (CCI +0.1%), and SBA (SBAC) are natural potential suitors for part or all of the portfolio. AMT is fresh off announcing a $4.8B deal to acquire private tower owner Global Tower, whose assets are mostly U.S.-based.
- AT&T has spiked slightly higher on the report. A tower sale would help Ma Bell pay down some of the $75.2B in debt it held at the end of Q2, and thus strengthen its balance sheet as it turns its eyes toward Europe.
- Back in March, RBC speculated AT&T could sell its tower assets for a "mid-$5 billion" or higher price tag.
Sep. 13, 2013, 10:41 AM
- Sources tell Bloomberg Orange (ORAN -0.9%) and Deutsche Telekom (DTEGY.PK) are delaying the sale of their Everything Everywhere U.K. mobile JV (has an early 4G lead) as they wait for AT&T (T +0.5%) to make its expected entry into Europe. AT&T has reportedly eyed a number of European assets, including EE.
- Likewise, Bloomberg joins other news sources in reporting Telefonica (TEF +0.2%) is thinking of growing its Telecom Italia (TI -1.5%) stake by taking full control of holding company Telco.
- Debt-laden European carriers have been shedding assets left and right. But they're now showing an interest in getting bigger, thanks both to AT&T and a growing willingness by regulators to sign off on consolidation.
- Orange CEO Stephane Richard has predicted approval of a proposed merger of Telefonica and KPN's German units, which would lower the number of mobile carriers in Europe's largest market to 3, would "create an [M&A] earthquake" on the continent. Richard added Orange would attempt to grow its Spanish/Polish positions, and consider wireline acquisitions in Belgium and Romania, if regulators don't object.
- EU antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia has said there's no "magic number" for how many carriers need to be in a market. Meanwhile, proposed telecom rules stand to encourage M&A, both by hurting carrier profitability in individual markets and by harmonizing rules across markets.
- Vodafone (VOD +0.3%) is expected to invest a chunk of its Verizon Wireless windfall in European assets. And there's plenty of speculation AT&T will make a bid for the giant international carrier.
Sep. 11, 2013, 3:17 AM
- AT&T (T) has completed the purchase of spectrum from Verizon Wireless (VZ) for $1.9B.
- AT&T will use the spectrum, which covers 42M people in 18 states, for its 4G LTE network. The carrier expects to complete the deployment of the infrastructure by the summer of next year.
- In addition to money, Verizon also received spectrum in California, Phoenix and Portland.
Sep. 9, 2013, 4:21 AM
- Kabel Deutschland (KBDHY.OB) shareholders reportedly fear that Vodafone (VOD) won't reach the required level for its €7.7B acquisition of the German cable operator to go through.
- Vodafone has stipulated that 75% of Kabel Deutschland shares need to be tendered by Wednesday in what is the first stage of a two-step approval process. The U.K. operator could lower the level before the deadline but said it has no intention of changing the conditions.
- Failure to buy Kabel Deutschland could make Vodafone vulnerable to a takeover bid from AT&T (T), which is thought to be interested in the British carrier's European mobile assets but not its cable operations.
Aug. 29, 2013, 11:15 AM
- With the company still only sporting a market cap of $155B, analysts think Vodafone (VOD +8.1%) could go higher still if it sells its Verizon Wireless stake to Verizon for $130B (net proceeds will likely be lower due to taxes), as it's reportedly close to doing.
- Merrill sees 20% upside from current levels, and hedge fund analysts talking to Notable Calls think Vodafone is worth $40/share even if it only receives $120B. David Einhorn won't be complaining if that happens.
- Meanwhile, Bernstein is echoing a March BofA/Merrill report by arguing AT&T (T +1.2%), hungry to expand internationally, could buy what's left of Vodafone following a Verizon Wireless deal. Bloomberg reported in June AT&T "remains interested" in Vodafone's assets, among various other international properties.
- More on Vodafone/Verizon
Aug. 8, 2013, 1:10 PM
- Still in the process of digesting MetroPCS, T-Mobile USA (TMUS +4.4%) says it isn't interested in outbidding AT&T (T -0.7%) for Leap Wireless (LEAP -1.2%).
- Leap has slipped a little on the news, but is still at $16.53. AT&T agreed to buy Leap for $15/share in cash and the net proceeds from the sale of spectrum previously bought for $204M.
- T-Mobile continues to trade higher thanks to its Q2 results, replete with strong (iPhone-driven) postpaid net adds, and solid 2H subscriber guidance.
- Citi (Neutral) isn't crazy about T-Mobile's numbers. The firm notes service revenue still fell 7.5% Y/Y to $5.1B (below Citi's $5.22B estimate) and estimates OIBDA (hurt by iPhone sales) fell 58% Y/Y to $739M (below Citi's $1.1B estimate) after adjusting for Value Plan accounting changes.
- The firm remains concerned about T-Mobile revenue/OIBDA growth prospects in light of " the rapid maturation of the prepaid category & competitive pressures in its postpaid segment."
- CEO John Legere asserts T-Mobile is "taking customers from AT&T at a ratio of two to one." If true, that represents a big reversal from recent trends.
Jul. 15, 2013, 7:23 PM"We believe AT&T (T) is overpaying for Leap’s (LEAP) spectrum," says BMO's Kevin Manning, expressing a common view. He estimates AT&T is paying $5.25B for Leap after factoring debt and lease obligations, or $2.31/MHz/POP. That's well above the prices attached to recent spectrum deals (I, II), something attributed to a desire to keep Leap out of T-Mobile's (TMUS) hands. Much of Leap's spectrum resides in the AWS band, where T-Mobile has a huge presence. Though few analysts expect a higher bid, Leap closed 13% above AT&T's offer price, in part due to expected spectrum proceeds. One unanswered question: What will happen to AT&T's AIO prepaid brand, given the carrier's plans to support Leap's Cricket brand? (AT&T/Leap: I, II) | 4 Comments
Jul. 14, 2013, 2:21 AMTrading volume in Leap Wireless (LEAP) options leapt to 7,139 contracts vs an average of 1,320 contracts on Friday prior to the announcement that AT&T (T) has agreed to acquire the smaller carrier for $1.18B. The call-to-put ratio was 20-1. "It appears that prior knowledge of this takeover may have been leaked and traded on," says options analyst Ophir Gottlieb. The authorities are pretty good at identifying the people who carry out these trades, including with deals involving Onyx Pharmaceuticals and Heinz. | 9 Comments
Jul. 12, 2013, 5:23 PMMore on AT&T/Leap: AT&T is paying $1.18B for Leap's equity, and assuming $2.8B in net debt. Leap shareholders will also receive net proceeds from the sale of spectrum Leap bought for $204M last August. Leap has 5M prepaid subs on a network covering 96M people, and AT&T says it will keep the Cricket brand and expand its reach. But this deal is mostly about acquiring Leap's spectrum (covers 137M people), much of which is unused and could be of use in AT&T's 4G buildout, especially in urban areas. Expect the FCC to closely scrutinize the deal; will new leadership yield a different outcome than the one for the T-Mobile deal? LEAP now +106.5% AH to $16.48, investors are betting on a higher bid. TMUS +4.1%. T -0.4%. (PR) | 3 Comments
Jul. 12, 2013, 5:07 PM
Jul. 12, 2013, 1:26 PMHulu's old media owners (DIS, CMCSA, FOXA) have decided not to sell the company, or even a stake in it, and will instead provide a $750M cash infusion while maintaining their current equity positions. Reported demands for a slew of streaming/licensing restrictions likely helped scuttle buyout/investment talks with the likes of DirecTV (DTV), Time Warner Cable (TWC), and AT&T/Chermin (T), much as they helped scuttle 2011 talks. Netflix (NFLX +4.4%) is probably pleased. (previous) | 18 Comments
Jul. 9, 2013, 3:31 AMHulu has reportedly received acquisition offers from DirecTV (DTV) and a consortium comprising Guggenheim Digital Media and private-equity firm KKR (KKR), as well as from a group made up of AT&T (T) and Chernin. Time Warner Cable (TWC) offered to acquire a stake and become an investor alongside Hulu's owners, 21st Century Fox (FOXA), Disney (DIS) and Comcast (CMCSA). There's no word on bid amounts, although DirecTV has offered over $1B in the past. | Comment!
Jul. 7, 2013, 1:09 AMAT&T (T) and Chernin Group have reportedly submitted a joint offer to acquire Hulu from Disney (DIS), 21st Century Fox (FOX) and Comcast (CMCSA), although it's not clear if the previous suitors of the Internet video service made bids ahead of the deadline on Friday for binding proposals. Those suitors include DirecTV (DTV), Yahoo (YHOO), Time Warner Cable (TWC) and KKR (KKR). Chernin is led by Peter Chernin, who founded Hulu when he was a senior exec at News Corp. (Previous) | 13 Comments
Jul. 3, 2013, 2:00 PMVerizon's (VZ) rumored plan to expand into Canada could pay for itself just via roaming fee savings, thinks BMO's Kevin Manning. Manning estimates Verizon paid $300M-$350M in 2012 roaming fees, a range equal to 1/6 to 1/7 of the $2B he thinks Big Red would have to spend to become a Canadian mobile player. He sees the savings adding $0.06-$0.10 to EPS. Meanwhile, Macquarie thinks both Verizon and AT&T (T) are looking to make acquisitions before interest rates rise (presumably thanks to Ben Bernanke's plan to wind down QE). "Everyone is talking to everyone and nothing is off the table." (Verizon/Vodafone) (AT&T/Europe) | 1 Comment
Jul. 3, 2013, 10:07 AMLeap Wireless (LEAP +3.4%) jumps following an upgrade to Neutral from Macquarie's Kevin Smithen, which thinks the odds of a $10+/share acquisition by T-Mobile USA or Dish have grown. Smithen thinks the recent run-up in T-Mobile (TMUS) shares has made a deal easier for the #4 U.S. carrier to swallow, and considers the concentration of Leap's equity in a few holders "both a catalyst and an obstacle for a sale." He cautions Leap's "already eroding operating business" could be further pressured by T-Mobile's plans to enter Leap markets (via MetroPCS), but adds it could "drive Leap's Board and key holders to sell now." | Comment!
Jun. 20, 2013, 4:37 PMAT&T (T) considered buying up to a 29.9% stake in Telefonica (TEF) before the Spanish government said no, has mulled buying France Telecom (FTE)/Deutsche Telekom's (DTEGY.PK) Everything Everywhere U.K. mobile JV and Telefonica's O2 U.K. unit or Latin American ops, and "remains interested" in Vodafone (VOD) assets, Bloomberg reports. A merger with Telefonica has also been explored, even though AT&T's ties with America Movil (AMX) would complicate matters. Meanwhile, the FT reports CEO Randall Stephenson is meeting with EC telecom regulator Neelie Kroes. It safe to assume Ma Bell is serious about expanding abroad in order to offset slumping U.S. growth. (previous) | 3 Comments
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AT&T Inc, through its subsidiaries and affiliates, provides wireless and wireline telecommunications services in the United States and internationally. The Company has three reportable segments: Wireless, Wireline, and Other.
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