Tue, Mar. 17, 2:03 PM
- With the proposed merger of Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) getting all the oxygen from the post-net-neutrality FCC, the $48.5B deal that AT&T (NYSE:T) has to acquire DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) appears to be getting a relatively free pass.
- Both deals will create a company controlling more than a quarter of pay TV -- so it may be Internet access that's drawing extra scrutiny. The combined Comcast-TWC company would serve high-speed Internet to almost 40% of Americans.
- Even FCC petitions opposing the deals are telling: 20 against Comcast-TWC, five against AT&T-DirecTV. And 88,000 brief comments opposing Comcast-TWC, 14,000 opposing AT&T-DirecTV.
- One critic of the T-DTV deal told Reuters that Justice Department reviewers responded in a meeting with "few questions" and "blank stares."
- Today: CMCSA -0.7%; TWC -1%; T +0.1%; DTV +0.2%.
- Previously: FCC pauses review of Comcast-TWC, AT&T-DTV; likely weeks away (Mar. 13 2015)
- Previously: Brean downgrades DirecTV to Hold; AT&T offer priced in (Feb. 23 2015)
Fri, Mar. 13, 4:28 PM
- As signaled before, the FCC has paused the 180-day "shot clock" on reviewing two megamergers -- Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) deal for Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), and AT&T's (NYSE:T) deal to buy DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) -- as it's tied up with another case over programming contracts.
- The review of the deals was set to expire by the end of March, but now may take somewhat longer, likely several more weeks.
- The cause is the ongoing dispute with programming firms -- Disney (NYSE:DIS), CBS, Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA), Viacom (VIA, VIAB) and others -- over whether third parties commenting on the mergers will get access to private documents containing sensitive pricing and strategy information.
- The FCC has argued it has sufficient protections to keep those details from getting out. But the merger reviews now appear to be dependent entirely on that case's timetable.
- "In reaching this conclusion, the commission reserves the right to restart the clock as it believes will best serve the public interest," the FCC said.
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)
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, 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)
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. 23, 2014, 1:52 AM
- The FCC is again pausing its review of the proposed $45B merger of Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), citing delays in getting documents from the latter.
- Imposing an informal 180-day countdown for the review, the FCC is determining whether combining the cable companies is in the public interest.
- Time Warner Cable has promised to produce the missing documents, but the agency is pausing the review at day 104 until Jan. 12, saying it needs extra time to study new submissions.
Nov. 13, 2014, 3:12 AM
- Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) is pushing "full steam ahead" with its acquisition of Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC), despite the regulatory review process and looming regulation governing net neutrality.
- Comcast expected the deal to be completed “sometime in the first quarter and we still believe that today,” says CEO Brian Roberts.
- Roberts reiterated that Comcast opposes the proposals to classify broadband providers as utilities, which would endanger the company's plans to spend tens of billions of dollars to upgrade its networks.
May. 29, 2014, 4:15 AM
- Sprint (S) Chairman Masayoshi Son reasons that the rise in telecom and cable mergers should allow his company to buy rival T-Mobile (TMUS). Three big mergers have taken place in recent months with Verizon (VZ) acquiring Vodafone (VOD) for $130B, Comcast (CMCSA) buying Time Warner Cable (TWC) for $45B, and the AT&T (T) purchase of DirecTV (DTV) for $49B.
- "Access to the Internet is currently dominated by three giants with no sizable competitor," says Son.
- Although the company has not yet made a formal bid on T-Mobile, it looks to lay the framework for a future purchase.
- Antitrust authorities have previously frowned on such a deal, as it would cut the number of national competitors in the wireless industry to three from four.
Apr. 28, 2014, 6:57 AM
- Charter (CHTR) will acquire 1.4M existing Time Warner Cable (TWC) customers, giving it 5.7M in total and making it the second-largest cable operator in the U.S.
- Charter and Comcast (CMCSA) will also each transfer approximately 1.6M subs respectively.
- Charter will acquire 33% in a new publicly-traded cable provider that Comcast will spin off to its shareholders and that will serve 2.5M customers. Charter will pay for the stake by issuing new stock to Comcast shareholders.
- After all the deals are finalized, Charter's managed residential subscribers will be below 30% of the U.S.'s total MVPD (multichannel video programming) subscribers.
- The value of the Comcast-Charter transactions wasn't provided, but the FT put a figure of $20B when it published a mostly accurate report about them over the weekend, prior to an official announcement today. (PR)
Apr. 28, 2014, 6:10 AM
Apr. 27, 2014, 1:39 AM
- Comcast (CMCSA) could this week announce a $20B three-part deal to divest subscribers as part of its attempt to assuage antitrust concerns about its proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable (TWC), the FT reports.
- Comcast would sell 1.4M subscribers from TWC's network to Charter (CHTR), while Comcast would also place 2.5M subscribers in a new company in which Charter would own 35%. Comcast and Charter would then swap 1.65M customers.
- The transactions are contingent on Comcast receiving approval for its takeover of TWC.
Apr. 20, 2014, 2:24 AM
- Charter Communications (CHTR) is in negotiations to acquire 3M subscribers from Comcast (CMCSA) in a deal that could be worth $18-20B, Reuters reports.
- Charter could buy the subscribers through a straight purchase or Comcast could create a spin-off in which Charter would acquire a large minority holding.
- Other cable firms also are interested in obtaining the Comcast subscribers.
- Comcast has already committed to selling the subscribers in order to assuage antitrust concerns about its $45.3B takeover of Time Warner Cable (TWC).
Apr. 9, 2014, 2:45 AM
- Comcast (CMCSA) has submitted a 180-page document to the FCC outlining why it should be allowed to acquire Time Warner Cable (TWC) for $45B.
- The filing comes ahead of hearings at the Senate Judiciary Committee today about the deal.
- Comcast's main argument is that it doesn't compete with Time Warner in any market in cable TV or in broadband, and that it faces potential competition from the likes of Google's nascent broadband service.
- However, opponents believe that the increased power that the combined company will hold will hurt competition in the markets for video, television programming, broadband Internet access, and the $5B market for local cable advertising. There are also concerns about the implications for net neutrality.
Feb. 16, 2014, 2:28 AM
- Time Warner Cable (TWC) shareholder Breffni Barrett has sued to block the company's $45.2B sale to Comcast (CMCSA), saying the price is unfair and anyway faces high regulatory obstacles.
- Barrett wants to sue on behalf of Time Warner's shareholders.
- "It has been reported that Time Warner failed to engage in good faith negotiations," Barrett said. The sales process was "woefully deficient," Barrett's lawyers said, while Comcast's offer doesn't take into account Time Warner's "positive momentum going forward."
Feb. 14, 2014, 4:58 AM
- Charter Communications (CHTR) is unlikely to make a counter-bid for Time Warner Cable (TWC), the WSJ reports, due to the gap between Comcast's (CMCSA) $158.82-a-share offer and Charter's $132.50 proposal.
- Instead, Charter is looking at other possible acquisitions, including the 3M managed subscribers that Comcast has pledged to sell in order to win antitrust approval for its deal.
- Charter will also look at other cable-TV firms, with one possible target Cox Communications.
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.
Other News & PR