Jan. 14, 2014, 3:59 PM
- 21st Century Fox (FOXA) starts rolling out an app that will give viewers access to shows from its FX Networks.
- Viewers will have access to 45 to 60 movies a month on top of original programming on their mobile devices through the FXNow app.
- Customers of AT&T's U-verse, Comcast, Cablevision, and Suddenlink are among those that can access the service, while negotiations are still under way to add more Pay-TV operators.
- The advantage for the broadcaster is that the service is supported by advertisements, giving the company a crack at capturing revenue from consumers that prefer delayed viewing of shows.
- What to watch: The list of participating Pay-TV operators is impressive enough that a tipping pointing could be reached where any holdouts (DISH, DTV, TWC) face a competitive disadvantage by not allowing customers access to FXNow.
Jan. 14, 2014, 8:11 AM
- Jefferies thinks a final deal price for an acquirer to nab Time Warner Cable (TWC) will be close to $150 per share.
- Yesterday's opening salvo from Charter Communications (CHTR) in the low-$130s didn't stand a prayer of being accepted, but has negotiations moving forward.
- What to watch: Time Warner Cable is the cable operator that got the hardest hit last year from playing hardball with programmers over carriage fees. Analysts think it might have lost enough leverage that it will have to settle for a deal price below its target level before summer.
- TWC +1.2% to $134.02 premarket.
Jan. 13, 2014, 6:56 PM
- Not surprisingly, Time Warner Cable (TWC) has unequivocally rejected Charter's (CHTR) $132.50/share buyout offer. The company has also confirmed it told Charter last month it's willing to do a deal at $160/share, albeit with a symmetrical collar for the $60/share equity component (rather than an asymmetrical collar, as had been reported).
- Time Warner says Charter's offer values it at 7x EBITDA, a multiple it asserts is "well below past transactions in the cable sector."
- CHTR +1.3% AH. TWC +1.7%.
Jan. 13, 2014, 6:01 PM
- Charter (CHTR) is up 2.1% AH, and Time Warner Cable (TWC) is up 1.8% (to $134.75), following news the former has offered $132.50/share to acquire the latter.
- David Faber reports Time Warner told Charter in December it would sell for $160/share - $100/share + $60/share in stock, with the stock component having an asymmetrical collar (the bid value doesn't change if Charter's shares fall, but it does if they rise).
- Investors seem to be betting a higher bid will be made, but not one close to Time Warner's reported asking price.
Jan. 13, 2014, 4:08 PM
- Following weeks of reports and speculation, Charter (CHTR) has offered to buy Time Warner Cable (TWC) for $132.50/share, or $61B after factoring debt. Charter is offering $83/share in cash and $49.50/share in stock.
- Charter has sent a letter to TWC CEO Rob Marcus outlining its offer.
- The offer price, which might just amount to an opening gambit, represents only a $0.10/share premium to TWC's Monday close. But shares have already rallied on expectations of a deal.
- Update (4:30PM): Charter is now up 1.7% AH. Time Warner Cable is up 0.8%.
Jan. 13, 2014, 3:33 PM
- Cable TV customers at Comcast (CMCSA -2.7%) and Time Warner Cable (TWC -1.5%) will be charged a fee if they choose to switch to a lower-fee programming package, according to Variety.
- Fees range from $2 to $6 depending upon the service.
- What to watch: The tactic could backfire on the companies with new online TV services destined to launch sometime this year. An announcement on Intel's Internet business could come next week. Expect the high pricing in the Pay-TV sector to be a selling point for the new ventures which will offer a more attractive entry point.
Jan. 8, 2014, 3:05 PM
- Time Warner Cable (TWC -1.5%) CFO Arthur Minson says during a presentation at an investor conference that the company saw video subscribers drop again in Q4, but at a decelerating rate.
- The exec disclosed TWC lost 215K video subscribers during the period, while adding 55K high-speed customers.
- Minson also gave the party line when asked about a takeover from another cable company, noting the business wasn't for sale - but any offer would be looked at.
- Citi 2014 Internet, Media & Telecoomunications Conference webcast
Jan. 7, 2014, 11:57 AM
- Online purchases of movies rose 47% to $1.12B in 2013 in the U.S., according to Digital Entertainment Group. The striking growth rate has calmed fears that consumers would opt to wait for rental windows to open up before buying movies.
- Streaming subscription rentals rose 32% to $3.16B during the period.
- Kiosk DVD sales slipped 1%, but the aging business still commanded $1.9B in sales. Brick-and-mortar rentals were off 14.3% to $1.042B.
- If there was a surprise, it might be the relatively slow pace of VOD movie sales, up only 4.8% to $2.11B.
- Full report (.pdf)
- Related stocks: NFLX, OUTR, VZ, CMCSA, CHTR, CVC, TWC, DIS, FOXA, DISH, DTV.
Jan. 6, 2014, 11:22 AM
- Liberty Media (LMCA -1.9%) CEO Greg Maffei says he would be surprised if any bidder emerged with an offer as high as $150 per share for Time Warner Cable (TWC +0.1%).
- Analysts are taking the comment somewhat lightly as Liberty is still expected to put together an offer before Charter is able to beat it to the punch. The deal by Liberty to acquire full control of Sirius XM Radio sets it up to scrap together more capital for a TWC bid.
Jan. 3, 2014, 2:01 PM
- Fox Sports (FOXA) will stream the Super Bowl live for free, but will restrict online access to the NFC postseason games to authenticated Pay-TV customers of Comcast, AT&T's U-verse, and Cablevision, according to Variety.
- The fragmented approach by the network is in part due to its need to keep cable/satellite providers (DISH, DTV, CHTR, CVC, TWC) content that the TV Everywhere authentication model is moving forward - while at the same not limiting itself to advertising opportunities for the most-watched event of the year.
- This will be the third year in a row that the Super Bowl has been streamed.
Dec. 31, 2013, 2:13 PM
- 2014 could be the year that Pay-TV operators (DISH, DTV, TWC, CHTR, CVC) decide to take a stand against higher sports programming costs with subscriber growth stagnant and consumers rebelling against higher monthly fees.
- The most contentious battle could be in Los Angeles where Time Warner Cable's regional sports network, which includes L.A. Dodgers games, is behind in adding distribution channels.
- In a clash of titans, Disney (DIS) is still in negotiations with Dish Network over an ESPN contract to replace the one that expired in October. The carriage fee for ESPN already averages an industry-high $5.54/subscriber, but Wells Fargo thinks that rate will go to $7.65/subscriber by 2018. If there is an exec in the sector with the moxie to go toe-to-toe with ESPN, analysts think Charlie Ergen fits the bill.
- New sports stations from Fox (FOXA) and NBC (CMCSA) don't have the leverage that ESPN carries around, but are still forecast to command higher rates.
- A rising moat could also help lift CBS (CBS) and Madison Square Garden (MSG).
Dec. 27, 2013, 2:21 PM
- Pay-TV operators and broadcasters are playing nicely together this December without the usual late drama heading into year-end contract expirations.
- A deal between frequent combatants Viacom and Time Warner Cable was announced a surprising seven days before a potential blackout date and is indicative of the calm atmosphere.
- Analysts think the Time Warner Cable-CBS battle over the summer might have shown the painful impact of holding consumers hostages in carriage fee negotiations. If they are right, cable and satellite companies (CHTR, TWC, CVC, DISH, DTV) might have lost some leverage in future negotiations to the broadcasters (FOXA, DIS, CBS, CMCSA, TWX, AMCX, VIAB).
Dec. 24, 2013, 10:02 AM
Dec. 23, 2013, 8:25 AM
- Time Warner Cable (TWC) signs a new multi-year retransmission agreement with Tribune (TRBAA).
- The agreement will cover Tribune stations in major markets such as New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and San Diego.
- Tribune is set to separate its broadcasting and publishing businesses in a plan that has drawn the attention of Congressmen.
Dec. 20, 2013, 4:17 AM
- Liberty Media (LMCA) reportedly believes that a merger of Charter Communications (CHTR), in which Liberty owns 27%, and Time Warner Cable (TWC) could generate annual synergies of $700M.
- Time Warner isn't so convinced and pegs the figure at around $500M, while MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett provides an estimate of $450M and Barclays $560M.
- The expected large stock component of any deal would mean that the size of the synergies would play an important part in the attractiveness of the merger to shareholders.
- Charter had been looking to make a bid for Time Warner this week, but is likely to delay any proposal until the New Year.
Dec. 18, 2013, 2:40 PM
- The FCC proposes ending the TV sports blackout rule which has plagued fans in cities which struggle to fill stadiums.
- Last month, Senators John McCain and Richard Blumenthal introduced a bill in the Senate on the same issue.
- Industry insiders say a no-blackout rule could give a little bit of an edge to media companies (FOXA, DIS, CBS, CMCSA, TWX) potentially looking at streaming sports on a limited basis and is less of an advantage for some Pay-TV heavyweights (DISH, DTV, TWC, CHTR).
TWC vs. ETF Alternatives
Time Warner Cable Inc provides video, high-speed data and voice services. The Company also offers security and home management services, networking and transport services and enterprise-class, cloud-enabled hosting, managed applications and services.
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