Tue, Sep. 1, 12:01 PM
- Ahead of the vaunted launch of Netflix (NFLX -6.3%) service in Spain next month, Vodafone Spain (VOD -1.7%) has signed a deal to become the first pay TV provider to offer Netflix in the country.
- Vodafone says it can deliver Netflix's app to subscribers without a set-top box update. Perhaps more important for subscribers, they'll have an integrated search engine for programming on Vodafone's service, and Netflix offerings will be part of the recommendations section.
- Netflix has been stacking up deals with (smaller) pay TV providers, including Cogeco's Atlantic Broadband earlier this summer, Cable One, Mediacom, Suddenlink and Grande Communications.
- Previously: Netflix sets October for delayed launch in Spain (Jun. 03 2015)
- Previously: Netflix eyes tough market in Spain (Mar. 08 2015)
Wed, Aug. 26, 3:36 PM
- Turkey's once-postponed auction of 4G airwaves did better than expected, drawing €3.96B (about $4.5B) in bids from Turkey's three operators: Vodafone (VOD +2.5%), Turkcell (TKC +4.6%) and Avea (OTC:TRKNY).
- The original tender had been postponed in May as president Recep Tayyip Erdogan pressed for a cancellation, and for the country to skip a generation and try to upgrade infrastructure to 5G. But that technology isn't fully defined yet, and any commercial rollouts aren't likely before 2020.
- The auction performed well in a market that features a young, data-hungry population, says analyst Jonathan Friedman: "Beyond recent political instability, Turkey is a large market with nearly 80 million consumers, and investors want to be a part of that."
- The bids received today are subject to a final approval process before frequencies are allocated.
Fri, Aug. 21, 12:54 PM
- Vodafone (VOD -2.8%) has pulled out of a six-company competition to take over Lebanon's two mobile operators.
- The government's two mobile firms, Touch and Alfa, were being run by Zain and Orascom Telecom Media and Technology, though the two companies' management contracts expired two years ago.
- Vodafone's pulling out leaves five others competing: Zain, Orange (ORAN -0.2%), Maxis, Turkcell (TKC -1.9%) and a unit of Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY), as OTMT didn't submit a bid application on time.
Tue, Aug. 4, 7:41 PM
- Telecom Italia (TI -1.3%) is looking to avoid up to €4B (about $4.4B) in antitrust charges via a reorganization of the unit that leases its wireline network to competitors -- including Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD), which is seeking more than €1B in damages, Bloomberg reports.
- The plan would be modeled after what BT Group has done in the UK with Openreach: folding its OpenAccess unit into its wholesale business.
- The board is reportedly set to review the plan at a meeting on Thursday. TI has reportedly made provisions, including one-time items of €309M in Q2, to address antitrust concerns.
- Telecom competitor Fastweb SpA --owned by Swisscom (OTCPK:SCMWY) -- is also pursuing remedies against TI, to the tune of €1.7B.
- The proposal would have TI buying wholesale capacity from OpenAccess just as its rivals do, and the wholesale group would have total oversight over OpenAccess.
Fri, Jul. 24, 9:20 PM
- Following Vodafone's (VOD +2%) Q1 results, in its earnings call today (transcript), CEO Vittorio Colao elaborated on the company's discomfort with the power of a consolidated BT Group/EE combo in the UK as regulatory questions piled up.
- Vodafone and industry peers have called for a breakup of BT Group -- UK regulator Ofcom is considering a split of Openreach -- and Colao said the right rules could prompt investment.
- "So I think the regulators should have a serious look at the possibility of creating a true modern infrastructure company to serve the country. And Openreach could be that one. And, ideally, Vodafone could even be an investor in fiber like we are in other places, if it was a genuine thing."
- Colao also complained about broadcasters like Sky paying heavy fees to get exclusive programming rights that are enforced with some close-together geographic borders in Europe, a subject that touches on the EU's antitrust action against major Hollywood studios.
- "Minimum guarantees are my enemy and we need to convince regulators they are anticompetitive," Colao said. "But I think the behavior of content owners will be under a lot of scrutiny in coming years."
- Previously: BT CEO threatens decade of litigation if forced to divest wholesale unit (Jul. 20 2015)
Fri, Jul. 24, 9:27 AM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is up 2.7% premarket after a quarterly report where growth sped up slightly on revenues held down by currency changes.
- Revenues were down 0.9%, but increased 3.3% excluding forex and M&A. Organic service revenues (excluding M&A, forex and handset sales) was up 0.8%, boosted by 6.1% gains in its Africa/Middle East/Asia Pacific geo. India provided a regional boost with 6.9% gains.
- European organic service revenue fell 1.5% but comparative recovery was apparent across markets: Germany -1.2%; Italy -2%; Spain -5.5%; UK +0.2%.
- The company reported 24.1M 4G customers across 18 markets.
- CEO Vittorio Colao called it "a good start to the year. Our emerging markets have maintained their strong momentum and more of our European businesses are returning to growth, as customer demand for 4G and data takes off."
Tue, Jul. 21, 9:07 AM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is down 1.1% premarket in U.S. trading following news of a shakeup of its European management even as it talks with Liberty Global about swapping assets on the continent.
- European chief Philipp Humm will step down and leave Vodafone, and the chiefs of Vodafone's most crucial markets -- Germany, Italy, the UK and Spain -- will report directly to CEO Vittorio Colao as part of a group executive committee.
- Colao says this will "simplify and streamline the management of our largest European markets and accelerate our strategic plans in those countries" as convergence quickens and the company proceeds with organic investment.
- Meanwhile, Grupo Santander reiterated its Underweight rating on Vodafone. Santander has a price target on London shares of 215 pence; shares are down 0.9% in London, to 236.9 pence.
- Nomura has reiterated its Buy rating today.
- Previously: Vodafone up as firms counter Goldman, reiterate Buy ratings (Jul. 16 2015)
- Previously: Vodafone, Liberty merger "far more attractive" than asset swap: Nomura (Jun. 23 2015)
Thu, Jul. 16, 10:55 AM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is up 0.9% in U.S. trading as it has its Overweight/Outperform rating reiterated by both JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse today.
- Credit Suisse has a price target on London shares of 250 pence.
- Nomura has reiterated its Buy rating as well, with a 290 pence price target. Shares are currently +1.1% to 238.3 pence in London.
- In its action yesterday, Goldman Sachs had downgraded to Neutral with a price target on ADRs of $39, down from $41, and a London price target of 250 pence, down from 275p. The firm removed Vodafone from its Pan-Europe Buy list. ADRs closed at $36.99 yesterday.
- Previously: Vodafone -1.1%; pulled off Goldman's Pan-Europe Buy List (Jul. 15 2015)
Wed, Jul. 15, 10:12 AM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is 1.1% lower as Goldman Sachs removes it from its Pan-Europe Buy List, downgrading the stock to Neutral from Buy.
- The firm has a price target of 250 pence, down from 275 pence; shares are trading down 1% in London at 235.55 pence.
- Amid recent talk about an asset swap with Liberty Global (LBTYA +0.5%), Goldman's Tim Boddy sees the risk/reward profile as "more binary" with Vodafone still set to benefit from "'double' consolidation of both mobile and fixed-mobile operators ... We see attractive operational gearing to this growth recovery given its low margins."
- M&A is still a very valid option and if management reconsiders its structure, "we believe a number of other potential acquirers could take interest in its remaining assets," he says.
Tue, Jun. 23, 12:23 PM
- South Africa is near a deal on the sale of its $2.3B (27.7B rand) stake in Vodacom (OTC:VODAF), the Johannesburg-based unit of Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD), Bloomberg reports.
- The government is likely to sell all of a 13.91% stake in Vodacom to its state-owned Public Investment Corp. in stages, and apply the proceeds to a rescue package for state-owned power utility Eskom Holdings SOC, which has engineered blackouts amid a funding shortfall.
- Combined with the PIC's existing stake in Vodacom, it could become the second-largest shareholder behind Vodafone's 65% stake.
- Vodacom is up 2% in Johannesburg; Vodafone ADRs are up 0.8% on Nasdaq.
Mon, Jun. 22, 12:13 PM
- With consolidation in the air, telecom players are trading significantly higher today Europe-wide.
- Telefonica (TEF +4.5%), Telecom Italia (TI +1.9%), Orange (ORAN +8.2%), Vodafone (VOD +1.8%), KPN (OTCPK:KKPNY +5.5%), Deutsche Telekom (OTCQX:DTEGY +5.4%), Belgacom (OTCPK:BGAOY +2.7%), TeliaSonera (OTCPK:TLSNY +1.9%) and Pharol (OTCPK:PTGCY +8.5%) are all among firms getting a punch up today.
- The richness of the proposed deal by Numericable-SFR (Altice, OTC:ATCEY) for Bouygues Telecom (OTCPK:BOUYY) -- at €10B, it suggests one of the highest regional industry EBITDA multiples (14.4x) in years -- may be lifting firms in a consolidation-friendly atmosphere, even with the hurdles this deal has to overcome.
- French regulators have gone on the record against the deal, calling for investment: “Consolidation isn’t advisable for the sector,” says econ minister Emmanuel Macron. “Employment, investment and giving customers the best possible service should be the priority.”
- In addition, a reluctant Martin Bouygues would need to be convinced to change his mind and sell.
- Previously: Altice confirms Bouygues Telecom bid (Jun. 22 2015)
Fri, Jun. 5, 11:39 AM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is off 2.2% today after clarifying that it is talking with Liberty Global (LBTYA +1.3%), but about asset swaps instead of an outright merger.
- A merger would be difficult considering the size of both companies; it would be one of the largest deals ever on enterprise value. But where would asset swaps happen?
- Swaps would be best where the overlap is heavy: in Germany, the UK and the Netherlands. But neither company seems likely to give up on the UK, Thao Hua notes. It's Liberty's largest market (and where it draws a chunk of tax benefits), and Vodafone's home. Meanwhile, Germany is Vodafone's biggest sales market.
- "I do not think Malone wants to exit any of U.K., Germany or Netherlands," Wunderlich's Matthew Harrigan says.
- Meanwhile, Macquarie's Amy Yong and Guy Peddy point out that "neither Vodafone nor Liberty Global have any track record of integrating wireless and cable TV assets." They had previously described a "more rational" deal for Vodafone would be tying up with Sky (OTCQX:SKYAY) in a content play.
- They add: "Any deal with Liberty Global would in our view result in a transfer of value from Vodafone to Liberty Global."
- Previously: Liberty Global up 4.7%, Vodafone up 4.2% on report of merger talk (Jun. 04 2015)
- Previously: Vodafone-Liberty still good strategy, but not a slam dunk (Jun. 02 2015)
Thu, Jun. 4, 5:57 PM
- Following on John Malone's "great fit" comment, Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) is up 4.7% after hours as Bloomberg reports the company's talking with Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD), up 4.2% now in late trading, about a range of transactions including a straightforward merger -- which would be one of the largest deals ever on enterprise value.
- Management issues may be a hurdle (to be expected in any discussions involving the role of billionaire Malone), and Liberty has reportedly soured a bit on the talks recently.
- Aside from a merger, though, the companies could merge their European business or conduct a series of asset swaps.
- Liberty Global is the largest cable company in the world, with an enterprise value of about $89B. Vodafone has an EV of about $141B.
- A European asset merger would likely mean that Vodafone looks at spinning off Middle East/Africa operations.
- Previously: Vodafone-Liberty still good strategy, but not a slam dunk (Jun. 02 2015)
- Previously: Vodafone stakeholders: More open to Liberty tie-up (May. 28 2015)
- Previously: Vodafone jumps on Malone comments (May. 20 2015)
- Previously: Liberty's Malone: Combo with Vodafone would be 'great fit' (May. 19 2015)
Fri, May 22, 10:18 AM
- Vodafone ADRs (NASDAQ:VOD) are up 1.7% (and shares up 4.4% in London) as Goldman Sachs reports after meeting with company management that Vodafone may sell some assets.
- With Vodafone moving up this week (ADRs +7.4% since Tuesday) on John Malone's comments that his Liberty Global (LBTYA +2.4%) and Vodafone could be a "great fit," Goldman's Tim Boddy says Vodafone "is willing to consider both acquisitions and disposals where the financial rationale makes sense" and "may be more likely a seller than a buyer of assets."
- He attributed that to Liberty's preference for tax efficiency vs. Vodafone's preference for dividends -- part of stylistic differences that Malone himself alluded to: "Their philosophy is low leverage, low risk and high cash payout to their shareholders. I prefer to grow equity value."
Tue, May 19, 6:08 PM
- Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) rose into today's close, +2.3%, as telecom titan John Malone says a combination of his firm and Vodafone (VOD -0.9%) would be a "great fit" with "very substantial synergies if we could find a way to work together or combine the companies with respect to Western Europe."
- Malone was making his first public comments on a combination in an interview with Bloomberg, though he wouldn't comment on whether the companies were talking. A tie-up would create a telecom behemoth, between Liberty's $45B in market value and Vodafone's $93B.
- Citigroup has said a stock-based combination could generate synergies of £1.4B/year in free cash flow. But Malone is aware of philosophical differences in approach: “Their philosophy is low leverage, low risk and high cash payout to their shareholders. I prefer to grow equity value.”
- Liberty has been acquisitive in Europe and is also seeking targets in faster-growing South America, and Mexico -- a market Malone considers most attractive.
- Previously: Vodafone -3.8% following signs of life in FQ4 earnings (May. 19 2015)
Tue, May 19, 10:14 AM
- Vodafone (NASDAQ:VOD) is 3.8% lower in early U.S. trade, trailing its decline in London, after an earnings report that was encouraging for its revenue trends as well as solid growth in EBITDA despite fierce competition in its markets.
- Revenue grew for the first time in 11 quarters (boosted by results in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific) and the company forecast full-year core earnings growth (to £11.5B-£12B) after seven years of declines.
- Profit of £5.76B declined substantially but it was compared against a year-ago quarter when the company got a one-time contribution of £48.2B from selling its share of its JV with Verizon.
- The company had slightly more subscribers at quarter's end, totaling 445.8M mobile subscribers and 12M fixed-line (up from 11.8M).
- Citigroup analysts called the results in line -- "We see the positives as probably not quite positive enough to keep the stock moving up today."
- After earnings, Vodafone renewed its call on regulators to clamp down on BT Group's acquisition of EE, and for deal concessions to "avoid the re-creation of a giant, dominating company."
VOD vs. ETF Alternatives
Vodafone Group PLC is engaged in providing voice and data communications services for all types of customers. The Company has presence in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Asia Pacific region and the United States.
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