Thu, Feb. 12, 3:04 PM
- On a day the Nasdaq is up 1% (thanks in part to Cisco), notable tech gainers include wireless broadband/Wi-Fi hardware provider Ubiquiti (UBNT +5.5%), M2M hardware/service provider Sierra Wireless (SWIR +6.2%), fiber access equipment vendor Zhone (ZHNE +3.3%), CDN leader Akamai (AKAM +5.8%), 3D printing plays Voxeljet (VJET +12.5%) and Materialise (MTLS +4.4%), satellite services/hardware vendor ViaSat (VSAT +4.4%), capacitor maker Kemet (KEM +5.8%), Chinese online real estate play Leju (LEJU +5.7%), and microcap solar installer RGS Energy (RGSE +24.3%).
- With markets trading higher, the list of notable decliners is smaller. It includes fixed wireless broadband provider Towerstream (TWER -8.9%), local services marketplace Angie's List (ANGI -5%), Chinese social networking/IM platform YY (YY -4.5%), and chip packaging IP provider Tessera (TSRA -6.1%).
- Sierra, Ubiquiti, and Zhone have joined the list of telecom/networking equipment firms rallying on account of Cisco's numbers. Akamai and ViaSat are adding to the gains they saw yesterday thanks to market-pleasing earnings (I, II), and Tessera is reversing the Wednesday gains it saw on account of a Q4 beat. Voxeljet also rose sharply yesterday.
- Previously covered: Baidu, TripAdvisor, Nvidia, FireEye, Zillow/Trulia, enterprise tech stocks
Tue, Feb. 10, 5:06 PM
- ViaSat (NASDAQ:VSAT) posted strong earnings growth off a boost in operating performance.
- Non-GAAP diluted net income came in at $0.49/share vs. the previous $0.03. Along with revenues that gained 2% to $339.6M, adjusted EBITDA came in at $85.9M vs. an expected $79M.
- New contract awards were $313.1M, down from the prior year's $326.8M. Sales backlog was $992.9M vs. the prior year's $797.9M.
- Revenues by segment: Satellite services, $123.8M (up 26%, driven by consumer residential broadband); Commercial networks, $84M (down 8.6%); Government systems, $131.7M (down 7.3%).
- New contracts by segment: Satellite services, $114.7M; Commercial networks, $55.9M; Government systems, $142.5M.
- Consumer subscribers in Q3: 67K gross adds, 18K net adds, ending with 675K subscribers; wWeighted average ARPU of $52.91 and churn decreasing to 2.6%.
- Shares gained steadily throughout the day to close +3.5% on near triple average volume.
- Press release
Tue, Feb. 10, 4:20 PM
Mon, Feb. 9, 5:35 PM
Mon, Jan. 19, 3:07 PM
- The Information reports Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is nearing a deal to invest in Elon Musk-founded rocket/spacecraft maker SpaceX. One source says the funding round is "very large," and will assign SpaceX a $10B+ valuation.
- The reported goal of the investment would be to "support the development of SpaceX satellites that could beam low-cost Internet around the globe to billions who don’t have it." Google was reported last June to be looking to spend anywhere from ~$1B to $3B+ on a satellite constellation providing Web access, and soon afterwards bought satellite imagery/analytics firm Skybox Imaging.
- Musk and SpaceX, meanwhile, are just days removed from unveiling plans for an Internet venture involving hundreds of satellites traveling at a much lower orbit than most satellites (thus reducing latency). Musk: "The speed of light is 40 percent faster in the vacuum of space than it is for fiber. The long-term potential is to be the primary means of long-distance Internet traffic and to serve people in sparsely populated areas."
- A Google/SpaceX effort would have competition: Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Richard Branson's Virgin Group just agreed to invest in OneWeb, a firm that plans to launch 648 broadband-capable low-orbit satellites.
- OneWeb is led by Greg Wyler, an industry vet who once worked for Google and was later rumored to be talking with Musk. Musk now asserts SpaceX has an edge on OneWeb. "Greg and I have a fundamental disagreement about the architecture. We want a satellite that is an order of magnitude more sophisticated..."
- Satellite services firms that could be affected: LORL, GSAT, IRDM, I, VSAT
Nov. 10, 2014, 11:36 AM
- Citing subscriber add concerns, Needham has downgraded ViaSat (NASDAQ:VSAT) to Hold in the wake of its FQ2 beat. On the other hand, Raymond James has upgraded to Market Perform.
- Needham's Richard Valera: "It is likely to get increasingly challenging to add net subscribers over the next 1.5-2 years as the company's high demand spot beams fill and it awaits ViaSat-2." He sees "diminishing returns" for new high-bandwidth promotions as more spot beams get filled up.
- Valera does expect the ViaSat-2 satellite to drive a "new leg of growth," but considers shares fairly valued at a multiple of 11x EV/FY16E EBITDA.
- Shares rallied strongly on Friday thanks to ViaSat's FQ2 beat and solid backlog growth. The company's consumer broadband sub base rose by 16K during the quarter to 657K.
Nov. 9, 2014, 2:12 PM
- Elon Musk (of PayPal/Tesla/SolarCity/SpaceX fame) is working with Greg Wyler (founder of satellite startup/spectrum owner WorldVu) on building and launching cheap, lightweight satellites that would blanket the Earth with Internet access, the WSJ reports.
- Musk and Wyler are said to have "discussed launching around 700 satellites, each weighing less than 250 pounds." The WSJ observes such a constellation would be 10x as large as Iridium's (NASDAQ:IRDM), currently the world's largest, and would likely cost $1B+ to finance.
- Whereas the cheapest telecom satellites currently cost several million dollars, WorldVu is reportedly hoping to build satellites with a sub-$1M manufacturing cost. Sources state Musk/Wyler are thinking of building a manufacturing plant, and that WorldVu is looking for a satellite industry partner to "lend expertise." Musk's SpaceX would launch the hardware.
- In June, the WSJ reported Google is looking to spend as much as $3B+ to build a fleet of satellites providing Web access to unconnected/underserved regions. Since then, Google has bought satellite imagery services firm Skybox Imaging, while stating Skybox's satellites could also be used to "improve Internet access."
- Wyler was working for Google before departing this summer. Sources state he left in part due to concerns about Google's lack of manufacturing expertise.
- Other satellite services firms Musk/Wyler's efforts could have implications for: GSAT, VSAT, LORL, I.
Nov. 7, 2014, 3:34 PM
- ViaSat's (NASDAQ:VSAT) sales backlog totaled $1.02B at the end of FQ2, +27% Y/Y. The quarter's new contract awards totaled $498.9M, +28%.
- Satellite services revenue rose 35% Y/Y to $135.9M, driving the FQ2 beat. 16K consumer broadband subs were added, raising the base to 657K, and ViaSat's in-flight Wi-Fi service now reaches 200+ aircraft.
- Commercial networks revenue remained weak, falling 14% to $86.9M due to the completion of a major Australian infrastructure project. Government systems revenue fell 5% to $136M.
- ViaSat ended FQ2 with $41.9M in cash, and $724M in debt. The company received a $524.9M loan commitment from Ex-Im Bank during the quarter.
- FQ2 results, PR
Nov. 7, 2014, 8:35 AM
Nov. 6, 2014, 5:30 PM
Aug. 13, 2014, 2:01 PM
- ViaSat's (NASDAQ:VSAT) commercial networks revenue fell 5% Y/Y in FQ1 to $92.2M, a reversal from FQ4's 15% growth and FQ3's 34% growth. The company blames lower consumer broadband terminal sales, the winding down of a major Australian Ka-band infrastructure project, and "the transitioning of engineering resources" to a recently-awarded Canadian Ka-band contract.
- In addition, government systems revenue fell 15% to $117.5M, a decline much bigger than FQ4's 3%. The "completion of many production and service obligations under [ViaSat's] Blue Force Tracking project" more than offset growth in other segments.
- Satellite services is still a strong point, growing 28% to $109.7M after posting 35% growth in FQ4. Consumer broadband (+20%) and commercial mobility fueled the growth - ViaSat's services were available on 140 planes at quarter's end, and another 120 in-flight terminals had been delivered.
- SG&A spend rose 7% Y/Y to $69.1M, while independent R&D spend fell 30% to $9.8M. New contract awards totaled $310.1M vs. $454M in FQ4 and $254M a year ago. The sales backlog was at $892.3M at the end of FQ1, down from $899.5M at the end of FQ4 and up from $778.7M a year ago.
- FQ1 results, PR
Aug. 12, 2014, 4:10 PM
Aug. 11, 2014, 5:35 PM
Jul. 28, 2014, 1:00 PM
- ViaSat (VSAT -1.2%) has bought a high-rate satellite modem product line, along with "custom spacecraft technologies for Earth observation," from private Gray Labs. Deal terms are undisclosed.
- ViaSat: "The output of ISR sensors is growing exponentially, so maximizing satellite data rates is increasingly important ... The expertise we obtained from Gray Labs in high-rate communications gives us important new ways to deliver a higher level of performance and increased data throughput for commercial and government customers."
- Last month, ViaSat announced it's buying Wi-Fi management services firm NetNearU.
Jun. 9, 2014, 2:42 PM
- ViaSat (VSAT +0.4%) is buying NetNearU, a provider of managed Wi-Fi services, for an undisclosed sum. The deal is expected to be accretive to FY15 (ends March '15) EPS.
- NetNearU currently helps manage 60K+ public Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide, and claims a variety of carrier, enterprise, and government clients.
- ViaSat predicts NetNearU's offerings, which are based on proprietary network management software, will help it extend its Exede satellite broadband services to "a growing base of subscribers for multiple markets, including commercial airlines, live events, hospitality, enterprise networking and government broadband projects."
Jun. 2, 2014, 9:16 AM
- Google (GOOG) plans to spend ~$1B to more than $3B to build a fleet of satellites providing Web access to unconnected and underserved regions, the WSJ reports.
- Google's project will reportedly start with 180 small satellites orbiting the earth at relatively low altitudes, and is being led by the founder of satellite services startup O3b Networks.
- The effort comes on the heels of Google's purchase of solar-powered drone maker Titan Aerospace (also aims to provide Web access to remote areas), and the launch of Project Loon, an effort to prove 3G-or-faster Web access for the planet using hot-air balloons.
- Larry Page has argued balloons are cheaper and easier to deploy than satellites, but satellites offer more capacity, and have seen their costs drop sharply in recent years. Analyst Tim Farrar thinks Google will replace Loon in favor of Titan's drones, and have Titan complement a satellite network.
- Google has also been reported to be close to acquiring Skybox Imaging, a provider of high-res satellite imagery and related analytics services, for ~$1B.
- Globalstar (GSAT) +1.2% premarket. Other satellite services firms that could be affected by Google's move: VSAT, LORL, SATS, IRDM.
VSAT vs. ETF Alternatives
Viasat Inc is engaged in the provision of high-speed fixed and mobile broadband services. The Company also offers advanced satellite and other wireless networks and secure networking systems, products and services.
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