Tue, Feb. 17, 11:11 AM
- Telecom analyst Craig Moffett sees not enough bad news priced in (and too much good), and has downgraded key cable stocks (CMCSA, CHTR, TWC) to Neutral from Buy.
- He's still got a Sell rating on Cablevision (CVC -5%).
- “With the stocks having largely achieved our target prices, with cord cutting risks mounting and with regulation clouding the path forward in broadband, it seems to us to be time to reduce exposure," Moffett says.
- He lowers his estimate of a successful Comcast-TWC merger to 60% given increasing public attention and sentiment against the combination.
- And he doesn't mince words about Title II treatment: "At its core, Title II is about price regulation ... It would be naive to believe" that the rules changes won't introduce risk to pricing power.
- Current action: (CMCSA -1.5%), (CHTR -1.6%), (TWC -1.5%)
- Previously: Telecom stocks soar as FCC's Wheeler advocates utility stance on regulation (Feb. 04 2015)
- Previously: AT&T's Stephenson: Litigating FCC rules 'quite certain' (Feb. 13 2015)
Thu, Feb. 12, 7:06 PM
- Following earnings, Time Warner's (TWX +2.8%) got another challenge ahead in negotiations for programming renewals with Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC).
- With distributors slimming down packages (and programming costs), economies of scale are likely to play in Time Warner's favor vs. smaller programmers.
- The same dynamic is driving chatter around a CBS merger with Viacom (VIA, VIAB) or even TWX -- the need for size to get more mojo in negotiations with stingier distribution channels.
- An increasing factor is the gradual unbundling of programming from traditional distributors through services like Sling TV, or subscription services from CBS and HBO.
- TWX's outlook looks increasingly dependent on accelerating revenue growth -- "which is likely to require successful renegotiation of the last two major domestic (pay-TV) deals and highly successful box office performance," says Pacific Crest's Andy Hargreaves.
- Previously: Dish opens Sling TV signups for all U.S. viewers (Feb. 09 2015)
Thu, Feb. 12, 2:08 PM
Mon, Feb. 9, 4:00 AM
- Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable's (NYSE:TWC) $45B merger still remains in limbo, with the DOJ and FCC scrutinizing the deal and Tom Wheeler's new net neutrality proposal.
- Investors began betting against the combination late last month, with shares of both companies falling sharply before recovering last week.
- If regulators allow the deal as is, the merged company would control about 35% of the country’s broadband Internet service coverage and just under 30% of pay television subscribers.
- Previously: Concerns grow over Comcast/Time Warner Cable combo (Feb. 02 2015)
- Previously: FCC pauses review of Comcast-Time Warner merger (Dec. 23 2014)
Wed, Feb. 4, 11:42 AM
- Breakdown of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's op-ed on net neutrality: "Enforceable, bright-line rules" that ban paid prioritization ("fast lanes") and blocking/throttling of services, including for mobile broadband.
- The investment key for related stocks: "All of this can be accomplished while encouraging investment in broadband networks. ... My proposal will modernize Title II, tailoring it for the 21st century, in order to provide returns necessary to construct competitive networks. For example, there will be no rate regulation, no tariffs, no last-mile unbundling."
- FCC voting is scheduled for Feb. 26.
- Related stocks: (CMCSA +2.8%); (CVC +2%); (TWC +3.1%); (T +0.6%); (VZ +0.7%); (CHTR +4.3%); (DISH +2.6%); (DTV +1%); (CCOI +3.9%)
Wed, Feb. 4, 11:31 AM
- FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has released an op-ed hinting at the commission's new stance on net neutrality rule -- and it suggests utility-like regulation for fixed and wireless broadband.
- "This week, I will circulate ... proposed new rules to preserve the Internet as an open platform for innovation and free expression. This proposal is rooted in long-standing regulatory principles, marketplace experience, and public input received over the last several months."
- Wheeler calls directly for Title II authority in "the strongest open Internet protections ever proposed by the FCC."
- Stocks on the move: (CMCSA +3.3%); (CVC +2.9%); (TWC +4%); (T +0.8%); (VZ +0.7%); (CHTR +4.3%); (DISH +3.3%); (DTV +1.2%); (CCOI +4.3%)
Tue, Feb. 3, 12:06 PM
- Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) is up 2.3% after Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed its Buy rating on the stock ahead of Charter's Thursday earnings report.
- Canaccord thinks Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) purchase will get done, sending 1.4M customers Charter's way as the combined Comcast-TWC divests them.
- Canaccord's $182 price target is a 15.5% premium to Charter's current trading price of $157.59.
Mon, Feb. 2, 4:19 PM
- Speculation about how hard the FCC would come with new regulations on "net neutrality" tilts toward "more aggressive" as sources tell the WSJ the agency is seeking a significant expansion of its authority.
- In summary, the changes would take mobile and fixed broadband firms (like T, TWC, VZ, CMCSA, CHTR, CVC, LBRDA) from being lightly regulated entities into a regulatory structure more like the traditional phone companies/telecoms, treating them more like public utilities.
- The upshot: A ban on "paid prioritization," where service providers block or slow access to some websites/destinations depending on payments.
- The rules would put interconnection (deals such as Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) arranges for content delivery) under Title II standards and the deals would be put to an "unjust/unreasonable" standard for evaluation.
Mon, Feb. 2, 3:48 PM
- Investors are getting nervier about Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) $45B deal for Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), Maureen Farrell notes.
- TWC isn't just down nearly 10% YTD -- it's 10% below Comcast's offer value.
- The FCC's recent broadband redefinition changes anticompetitive concerns as well: Using the old definition, the two cablecos controlled some 35-40% of the market, but the new definition means controlling 57% of the market. Comcast could step away if regulators get too demanding.
- Both companies are showing optimism and extended the deal's "end date" to Aug. 12.
- Previously: TWC misses expectations as video subs continue exodus (Jan. 29 2015)
Thu, Jan. 29, 2:29 PM
- Regulators changed their definition of "broadband" Internet by setting it at download speeds of 25 Mbps or faster, in the face of opposition by Internet service providers.
- The move was a sharp increase from the previous definition of 4 Mbps and will likely affect how mergers and competition are viewed, and give steam to municipal broadband partnerships that states (and providers) often try to block.
- Using the new definition, nearly a fifth of Americans (and more than half in rural areas) lack access to broadband, compared to about 6% before.
- For one, Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) CEO Rob Marcus said in today's earnings call: "I think that the notion of defining broadband at 25 Mbps is somewhat arbitrary and I'm not really sure what that is intended to mean. And really I don't anticipate that that has any practical implications for life going forward, or for the DOJ's analysis of the [Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA)] deal."
Thu, Jan. 29, 9:20 AM
- On Time Warner Cable's (NYSE:TWC) earnings conference call, the company waved off persistent attempts to get a hint of 2015 guidance due to the Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) deal. Capex of $4.1B in 2014 (up 28%) comprised "accelerated investment in TWC Maxx, improved customer experience and network expansion."
- Revenue growth was offset in part by increasing operating expenses of 2.8%, including increases in programming costs (up 4.7%), sales and marketing (business) costs, and technical operations (residential) costs.
- Q4 Free cash flow of $891M, up 15% Y/Y; full-year free cash flow of $2.35B is down about 10%.
- Previously: TWC misses expectations as video subs continue exodus (Jan. 29 2015)
- Previously: Time Warner Cable misses by $0.06, misses on revenue (Jan. 29 2015)
Thu, Jan. 29, 8:52 AM
- Time Warner Cable's (NYSE:TWC) earnings miss today comes as it continued to bleed off residential video customers, while business services revenues and ad revenues made up highlights of its revenue growth. Operating income up 4.5%.
- Subscriber breakdowns: Residential video customers net loss of 38K; Residential high-speed data net adds of 168K; residential voice net adds of 295K; residential triple play net adds of 273K. Total customer relationship net adds of 67K.
- Residential services revenue up on increased high-speed data revenue, offset by declines in video and voice.
- Business services revenue up mainly on high-speed data and voice customers as well as cell tower backhaul.
- No full-year guidance offered, given where TWC is with the ongoing Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) buyout.
- Q4 results
- Press release
Thu, Jan. 29, 6:05 AM
Wed, Jan. 28, 8:41 AM
- Liberty Media (NASDAQ:LMCA) CEO Greg Maffei says that the government will likely approve the giant media merger deals on the table -- Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) with Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), and AT&T (NYSE:T) with DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) -- but the key issue will be what the firms are forced to give up.
- "My bet would be that all those deals get done," Maffei tells CNBC. "What is the set of regulations or restrictions around them and what the acquiring companies have to agree to, that'll be the rub."
- Liberty's interest in Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) is on his mind: "Charter has been an acquirer, is going to continue to be an acquirer" -- and Charter will have room to make buys if Comcast ends up swallowing TWC.
- Previously: Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger review clock running again (Jan. 13 2015)
- Previously: DirecTV hiking prices ahead of AT&T deal's closing (Dec. 29 2014)
Thu, Jan. 15, 12:40 PM
- Barry Diller says there's no stretch left on pay-TV pricing as he dissects the influence of Amazon Prime (NASDAQ:AMZN) in the industry.
- He warns on the Prime model where adding subscribers for the company dwarfs concerns on viewership and advertising.
- By the sound of it, Diller isn't recommended staying long cable stocks (CMCSA, TWC, CHTR, CVC) or positive on programmers (SNI, CBS, AMCX, FOXA, VIA, VIAB, MSG, DIS) set to renegotiate carriage deals.
- CNBC interview (video)
- Previously: Woody Allen to direct series for Amazon Studios (Jan. 13)
- Previously: Amazon added over 10M new Prime users during holiday season (Dec. 26, 2014)
Wed, Jan. 14, 4:08 AM
- Building on his previous call for the FCC to regulate broadband service as a utility, President Obama will push the FCC today to overturn state laws that prevent cities from building their own broadband networks.
- The centerpiece of the initiative is a call for the FCC to pre-empt laws in 19 states that can prevent cities and localities from building their own high-speed broadband networks.
- FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has already indicated that he is strongly considering the move.
- Related Tickers: CMCSA, T, VZ, TWC, NFLX, CTL, CHTR, FTR, ELNK
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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