Seeking Alpha Inc. (YOKU)

  • Mon, Mar. 30, 3:13 PM
    • Today's notable tech gainers include industrial laser maker IPG Photonics (IPGP +4.3%), cloud classroom software provider 2U (TWOU +5.8%), California solar installer Solar3D (SLTD +10.3%), Korean analog/mixed-signal chipmaker MagnaChip (MX +6.8%), privileged account security software vendor CyberArk (CYBR +5.3%), haptic tech provider Immersion (IMMR +4.6%), and solar power optimizer maker/recent IPO SolarEdge (SEDG +4.8%). The Nasdaq is up 1.1%.
    • There are relatively few major decliners. The group includes Chinese online video platform Youku (YOKU -4.5%), Chinese solar cell/module maker Yingli (YGE -5.6%), authentication hardware/software provider Vasco (VDSI -3%), and IP licensing firm Marathon Patent Group (MARA -8.8%).
    • Solar3D is now up 97% from a March 18 close of $2.57. SolarEdge is up 23% from last week's $18 IPO price. Immersion might be getting a lift from a Barclays report stating Analog Devices will be supplying converter ICs to help enable haptics support on future iPhones/iPads.
    • Youku has fallen to fresh 52-week lows, and is now down 18% since posting Q4 results and disclosing an SEC inquiry on March 19. Marathon is down 11% since reporting last Thursday.
    • Previously covered: BlackBerry, Altera, Ambarella, OTI, Angie's List, You On Demand,, Chinese online real estate
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  • Fri, Mar. 27, 3:12 PM
    • Today's notable tech gainers include next-gen firewall leader Palo Alto Networks (PANW +3.5%), touchscreen tech developer UniPixel (UNXL +5.9%), solar microinverter leader Enphase (ENPH +5.8%), optical transport/switching hardware vendor Infinera (INFN +3.8%), telecom service/analytics provider Neustar (NSR +4.4%), and Chinese online classifieds leader (WUBA +4%). The Nasdaq is up 0.3%
    • There are relatively few major decliners today. The group includes Infinera rival Ciena (CIEN -4.5%), Chinese sports lottery site (WBAI -5.3%), and Chinese online video leader Youku (YOKU -3.4%).
    • Palo Alto is adding to Thursday gains seen amid a broader cybersecurity stock rally. Likewise, Enphase gained on Thursday following rival SolarEdge's IPO, Neustar gained after announcing a $150M buyback, and Infinera gained following a bullish MKM note.
    • Ciena is reversing the Tuesday gains seen after Stifel reported the company's share of a major Verizon 100G metro contract (has been officially announced) could be larger than expected. is giving back major Thursday gains; yesterday morning, SA Instablog author/former i-banker MNS Global reported hearing Chinese authorities are thinking of indefinitely extending recently-placed bans on online sports lottery sales, after uncovering corruption.
    • Previously covered: EMC, HP, Voxeljet, Skyworks, SuperCom, Stratasys, Qunar, Pandora, SanDisk
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  • Fri, Mar. 20, 6:11 PM
    • Down only modestly in AH trading yesterday after posting mixed Q4 results, offering above-consensus Q1 sales guidance, and disclosing SEC inquiries, Youku (NYSE:YOKU) gradually sold off to new 52-week lows today.
    • Deutsche's Vivian Hao downgraded to Sell, and cut her target to $10.90 from $18.60. "We believe Youku is facing increasing pressure from the content arms race and market share challenges following a year of 'conservative progression.'"
    • Hao notes Youku, which already saw content spend rise to 47% of revenue in Q4 from 38% a year earlier, plans to spend aggressively in 2015 to halt share losses to Baidu (iQiyi) and Tencent - research firm EnfoDesk estimates Youku's Chinese online video share has fallen to 22% from 25% in early 2014.
    • Brean's Fawne Jiang (Buy) remains bullish, but has cut her target by $4 to $20. "We are positive on the growth momentum of the company as YOKU continues to transform its business model ... The recent partnership with Alibaba could help the company to expand its user base, thereby improving content production and exploring new revenue streams." However, she doesn't see competitive and margin pressures abating near-term.
    • Nearly half of Youku's market cap ($2.9B) is now covered by its cash balance ($1.4B). After backing out the cash, shares trade for 1.7x 2015E sales; the 2015 revenue growth consensus is at 37.5%.
  • Fri, Mar. 20, 12:45 PM
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  • Fri, Mar. 20, 9:23 AM
  • Thu, Mar. 19, 7:01 PM
    • On top of beating Q4 revenue estimates (while missing EPS estimates), Youku (NYSE:YOKU) is guiding for Q1 revenue of RMB1.01B-RMB1.03B ($163.2M-$166.4M), above an RMB996.5M consensus. Ad revenue is expected to total RMB870M-RMB890M.
    • Youku also discloses it has received "comments and queries" from the SEC staff about its past accounting. Specifically, questions have been asked about revenue recognition for multi-part deals, the accounting of "non-monetary exchanges of licensed content," and the classification of licensed content as long-lived assets. Youku is "evaluating the impact to its 2014 and historical financial statements that may result from the resolution" of the issues.
    • Ad revenue rose 37% Y/Y in Q4 to $177.1M, and consumer revenue (subscription/pay-per-view) 649% to $11.2M.
    • Hurting EPS: Content costs (non-GAAP) rose to 47% of revenue from 38% a year ago, and bandwidth costs to 22% from 20%. In addition, operating expenses rose 69% to $76M, outpacing revenue growth of 40%. Sales/marketing spend totaled $50.1M, R&D $16.9M, and G&A $9.1M.
    • Youku ended 2014 with $1.4B in cash. Its market cap is currently near $3B.
    • YOKU -0.7% AH to $15.05.
    • Q4 results, PR
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  • Thu, Mar. 19, 6:23 PM
    • (NYSE:YOKU): Q4 EPS of -RMB1.18 misses by RMB0.18.
    • Revenue of RMB1.26B (+39.8% Y/Y) beats by RMB60M.
    • Press Release
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  • Wed, Mar. 18, 5:35 PM
  • Mon, Mar. 16, 3:19 PM
    • Though the Nasdaq is up 1.1%, major tech decliners are roughly on par with major gainers today.
    • Notable gainers include telecom equipment vendor Ciena (CIEN +3.9%), data center owner CyrusOne (CONE +4.6%), optical component maker NeoPhotonics (NPTN +6.1%), software outsourcing firm Luxoft (LXFT +7.7%), supply chain software vendor Manhattan Associates (MANH +4.2%), and Chinese game developer NetEase (NTES +3.7%).
    • Notable decliners include leading Chinese online video platform Youku (YOKU -4%), 4G router/M2M module maker Novatel (MIFI -5.5%), security hardware/software vendor KEYW Holding (KEYW -5.3%), Chinese online retailer LightInTheBox (LITB -8.7%), Chinese online real estate plays E-House (EJ -4.7%) and Leju (LEJU -5.3%), seismic tech provider Geospace (GEOS -7.5%), and U.S. solar installer Vivint (VSLR -4.3%).
    • CyrusOne, Luxoft, and Manhattan Associates are making new 52-week highs. Geospace's decline comes as crude oil falls to fresh 6-year lows. The Chinese decliners are failing to get a boost from pro-stimulus remarks from premier Li Keqiang (they've lifted many other Chinese names).
    • Previously covered: Xilinx, Neonode, MoSys, Superconductor Technologies, Himax, Alibaba, Avago, Qorvo, King Digital, iDreamSky, MicroVision
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  • Thu, Mar. 5, 9:24 AM
    • Youku Tudou (NYSE:YOKU) sets up a pair of new business units, targeting new drama content and programmatic advertising.
    • The Chinese video firm creates Heyi Studios, to make original TV dramas and "innovative Web-native content," and names its chief content officer, Sunny Xiangyang Zhu, to be CEO of the new operation.
    • The new Innovative Marketing unit will be led by Yawei Dong, chief marketing officer, and focus on developing programmatic advertising.
    • The company also named Edward Su COO. He was most recently CEO of Cina Group for Havas Worldwide.
    • The changes mean that Youku Tudou has six units in total -- Youku platform, Tudou platform, Heyi Pictures, Heyi Studios, Innovative Marketing and Cloud Entertainment -- and nine vertically oriented content centers to cover content categories such as games, music, variety shows and others.
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  • Wed, Feb. 4, 2:05 PM
    • In a fresh monetary easing move, the PBOC has cut its reserve requirement ratio for banks by 50 bps to 19.5%, its first cut since 2012. Many Chinese Internet and mobile stocks are posting healthy gains on a day the Nasdaq is near breakeven.
    • Carriers China Mobile (CHL +2.3%), China Unicom (CHU +4.5%), and China Telecom (CHA +1.9%) are among the gainers. As are online retailers Vipshop (VIPS +4%) and Dangdang (DANG +5.1%).
    • Other notable gainers include online video giant Youku (YOKU +3.9%), mobile game publishers Sky-mobi (MOBI +7.8%) and China Mobile Games (CMGE +2.6%), chat app/social network owner Momo (MOMO +4.1%), microblogging leader Weibo (WB +2.7%), online/mobile game developer NetEase (NTES +2.4%), online classifieds leader (WUBA +2.3%), and #2 online travel agency Qunar (QUNR +3.4%).
    • Previously covered: SouFun, E-House
  • Dec. 10, 2014, 1:41 PM
    • Youku's (YOKU +0.1%) new Cloud Entertainment unit is its fourth consumer business unit, joining Youku, Tudou, and the recently-launched Heyi Pictures film production arm.
    • The business will be run by CTO Leo Yao. Its responsibilities include "developing hardware and services that make Youku Tudou's content more accessible to users," as well as operating games and "making the user experience more compelling."
    • Among the hardware products to be offered by the unit: A set-top, a 15.6" Android tablet, and a Wi-Fi router that go on sale in January. The routers will be used to create a P2P content deliver network (potentially lowering Youku's bandwidth costs). The set-top will support 4K video and Android games, and will eventually use partner Alibaba's Aliyun OS.
    • Several other Chinese Internet firms have also rolled out hardware lines, hoping to strengthen their brands and keep consumers actively using the services supported by the hardware.
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  • Nov. 21, 2014, 9:31 AM
    • Chinese regulators have granted Youku (YOKU +2.5%) a license to provide mobile services as an MVNO. A reseller deal has been reached with #2 local carrier China Unicom (CHU +3.7%).
    • Youku asserts becoming an MVNO will allow it to "add more customer behavioral data to its existing big data of users' content consumption behavior, and expand its reach beyond its current mix of customers as an online video service provider."
    • Youku now gets over 60% of its video traffic from mobile. However, mobile's share of ad revenue is still only about half that figure.
    • Youku and Unicom have joined many other Chinese companies in opening sharply higher.
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  • Nov. 18, 2014, 1:32 PM
    • While several Chinese Internet stocks are seeing selling pressure, Youku (NYSE:YOKU) .is easily the biggest decliner Volume (2.9M shares) has already topped a 3-month average of 2.49M.
    • Yesterday afternoon, Reuters highlighted new government rules requiring regulators to approve foreign video content before it's aired, and restricting the ratio of foreign to domestic content on streaming sites to 30%.
    • Marbridge Consulting's Mark Natkin: "The regulators say 'we can't permit this particular show', but in some cases the real reason is they want to protect and foster the growth of the domestic industry." Shortly after authorities required streaming sites to take down The Big Bang Theory (along with other U.S. shows) in May, state-owned CCTV began airing it.
    • Reuters notes Youku has 1,451 TV seasons for U.S., U.K., and Korean shows, far above Sohu's 509 and Tencent's 471. On its Q3 CC (transcript), Youku said it plans to nearly double its spending on original content next year, and will also grow its content investments in other segments.
  • Nov. 18, 2014, 12:49 PM
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  • Nov. 14, 2014, 3:44 PM
    • With shares well below their early-2014 highs going into earnings, Youku (NYSE:YOKU) has shrugged off its light Q4 sales guidance and CFO resignation announcement. An HSBC downgrade to Underweight has also been brushed aside.
    • Deutsche's Vivian Hao (Hold, $18 target) is still cautious: "Despite the encouraging subscription revenues (+473 percent YoY/+47 percent QoQ), we believe Youku is still struggling in mobile monetization with a stagnating ~30 percent of total revenues."
    • Hao notes management is doubling its original content budget to RMB600M (11% of revenue) as it continues battling with Baidu/Sohu/Tencent, and forecasts R&D spend will rise to 8% of revenue next year (above Deutsche's 6.7% forecast). However, she's upping her 2015/2016 revenue estimates by 4% to "reflect the potential stronger ads growth from heavier content spending."
    • Healthy traffic numbers could be giving Youku a lift: On the CC (transcript), CEO Cheung Koo Wing stated Youku had 500M+ monthly unique visitors in Q3, and 170M daily unique visitors. Daily video views rose by ~140M Q/Q to nearly 700M.
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Company Description
Youku Tudou Inc is an Internet television company in china. Its internet television platform enables consumers to search, view and share high-quality video content quickly and easily across multiple devices.