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June 10, 2014
09:17 EDTCMCSA, T, FOXA, SNI, VIAB, TWX, AMCX, DISCAMedia companies may be weighing purchase of AMC Networks, says Topeka
Topeka believes that it is very possible that a few major media companies are weighing an acquisition of AMC Networks (AMCX) in order to improve their positions vis-a-vis AT&T (T) and Comcast (CMCSA) in the wake of their recent acquisitions. The firm sees Viacom (VIAB), Discovery (DISCA), Time Warner (TWX), Scripps Networks (SNI), and Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA) as potential acquirers of AMC Networks. It keeps an $87 price target and Buy rating on AMC.
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September 28, 2015
06:08 EDTCMCSAComcast NBCUniversal to acquire 51% stake in Universal Studios Japan
Comcast NBCUniversal (CMCSA) announced that it has agreed to purchase 51% ownership of Universal Studios Japan in a recapitalization transaction, partnering with the current owners including Goldman Sachs (GS), USJ's CEO Glenn Gumpel, Asian private-equity firm MBK Partners, and U.S. hedge fund Owl Creek Asset Management. Comcast NBCUniversal's purchase price for the majority ownership of the theme park destination is Y183B, or $1.5B. "We are excited to expand our global footprint with this wonderful theme park in Osaka and are excited by the opportunities that lie ahead in Japan and all of Asia," said Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast. "This investment represents a huge opportunity and commitment to creating value for our shareholders and continuing to grow internationally." Acquiring majority ownership of Universal Studios Japan continues Comcast NBCUniversal's ongoing investment strategy for it's U.S. parks in Orlando and Hollywood.
September 27, 2015
19:39 EDTTWX, FOXA, CMCSA'Hotel Transylvania 2' bites down in record-setting debut
Animated children's film "Hotel Transylvania 2" set a domestic record for September while "Maze Runner" and "Black Mass" dropped in their second weekends at the box office. WEEKEND LEADER: Sony's (SNE) computer animated comedy "Hotel Transylvania 2" grossed $47.5M during its domestic open for the weekend of September 27, beating expectations for $35M-$40M and setting a new record for September box office debuts. Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, and others returned to provide voice acting for the monster-themed movie, which saw the biggest open yet for Sony Pictures Animation. BOX OFFICE RUNNERS-UP: With Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway in leading roles, Time Warner (TWX) subsidiary Warner Bros.' "The Intern" opened at $18.2M against estimates sales of $15M-$20M. Fox's (FOX, FOXA) "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials" came in third with $14M after grossing $30.3M domestically during last weekend's debut. Meanwhile, Comcast (CMCSA, CMCSK) subsidiary Universal's "Everest" jumped to $13.1M after significantly expanding its screen count, while Warner Bros.' "Black Mass" rounded out this weekend's Top 5 at $11.5M.
September 25, 2015
13:17 EDTTWX, CMCSA, FOXAFly Watch: 'Hotel Transylvania 2' expected to top weekend box office
Sony's (SNE) animated sequel "'Hotel Transylvania 2," which is opening in 3,600 theaters, is expected to win this weekend's box office with a domestic gross of $35M-$40M. The next bunch of films are all expecting similar grosses in the mid-to-high teens. Time Warner (TWX) subsidiary Warner Bros.' comedy "The Intern," starring Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway, is estimated to open in the $15M-$20M range in 3,305 theaters. Comcast (CMCSA, CMCSK) subsidiary Universal's "Everest," which opened last weekend on IMAX (IMAX), is expanding to over 3,000 theaters this weekend and is estimated to gross in the range of $15M-$17M. Fox's (FOX, FOXA) "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials," which grossed $30.3M domestically for the weekend of September 20, is expected to earn an estimated $16M in its second weekend of release. Warner Bros.' Whitey Bulger biopic "Black Mass," which took in $23.4M in its domestic opening last weekend, is expected to gross $12.5M-$13M this weekend. Additionally, Lions Gate's (LGF) drug cartel drama "Sicario" is playing in about 50 theaters ahead of the film's wide release on October 2.
10:48 EDTCMCSA, TWX, VIAB, AMCX, FOXAMorgan Stanley cautious on media, but sees several stocks punished too hard
Morgan Stanley cut its price targets on a number of media companies, citing the impact of cord cutting and skinny bundles. The firm also reduced its outlook for the pay-TV sector due to its belief that the adoption of skinny bundles will accelerate, while the outlook for cable TV ads has deteriorated slightly, given macro pressures. The firm kept a Cautious view on the media sector, but also identified several stocks in the space that it thinks have been punished too harshly by investors recently. WHAT'S NEW: TV networks in general, and cable networks in particular, have the highest margins in media and are encountering increased top and bottom line competitive pressures, Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne believes. On the top line, they are being hit by ratings and ad pressures as well as cord cutting and distribution consolidation, the analyst stated. Meanwhile, their profit is being hurt by the increased need to obtain new content and intensified competition for content from new sources like Netflix (NFLX) and Google's (GOOG) YouTube, Swinburne said. However, the analyst thinks that media stocks are "starting to get" cheap, given the leverage that many of the companies carry. Swinburne cuts his price target on 21st Century Fox (FOXA) to $31 from $37, on AMC Networks (AMCX) to $86 from $88, on CBS (CBS) to $46 from $56, on Time Warner (TWX) to $72 from $87 and on Viacom (VIAB) to $48 from $60. He kept Overweight ratings on Fox, AMC and CBS, an Equal Weight rating on Time Warner and an Underweight rating on Viacom. OVERDONE DECLINES: Swinburne believes that the declines in three media stocks - CBS, 21st Century Fox, and AMC Networks - have been overdone, while the decline in Comcast's (CMCSA) stock has also been excessive. CBS and 21st Century Fox are "best positioned for the skinny bundle" and have the cheapest valuations relative to their growth rates, Swinburne believes. Meanwhile, AMC Networks has "content momentum" and its EPS can exceed expectations, the analyst believes. Comcast is gaining share in the broadband Internet market, could take share in video soon, and has sufficient scale and offerings to benefit from the increased popularity of skinny bundles, according to the analyst, who kept an Overweight rating on the stock. The media sector could benefit from consolidation going forward, added Swinburne, who recommended that investors interested in buying potential takeover targets in the space focus on AMC Networks, MSG Networks (MSG) and Dreamworks Animation (DWA). He kept Overweight ratings on all three of those stocks. OTHERS TO WATCH: Besides Comcast, other pay TV companies include DISH Network (DISH) and Charter Communications (CHTR). PRICE ACTION: In early trading, Fox A shares lost 0.5% to $25.83, AMC fell 0.3% to $73.29, CBS added 0.2% to $41, Time Warner was little changed at $67.66 and Comcast A shares added 0.6% to $57.17.
September 24, 2015
20:04 EDTCMCSA, FOXAFacebook virtual reality initiative picks up speed with $99 Samsung device
Thursday's Oculus Connect 2 event saw numerous announcements from Facebook (FB) virtual reality subsidiary Oculus VR, including content deals with major media players as well as a $99 VR headset developed in conjunction with Samsung (SSNLF). CONTENT OFFERINGS: The virtual reality firm will be partnering with Fox (FOX, FOXA) and Lionsgate (LGF) to bring more than 100 films to the Oculus Store at launch. Additionally, Netflix (NFLX), Amazon's (AMZN), TiVo (TIVO), and Hulu -- the joint venture of Disney (DIS), Fox, and Comcast's (CMCSA, CMCSK) NBCUniversal -- will be launching apps for the company's virtual reality products, bringing web TV and streaming content to early adopters of the new technology. MAINSTREAM DEVICE: Samsung joined with Oculus to reveal a new $99 "Gear VR" headset on Thursday. Standing in contrast to Oculus' own pricier devices, the Samsung headset will rely on the company's Galaxy line of smartphones to power its virtual reality experiences. Note that a major point of contention regarding the "blockbuster" potential -- or lack thereof -- of VR technology is whether consumers will be willing to pay upwards of $399 for the Oculus gadgets. Samsung's Gear VR tends more towards what Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has called "medium immersion" devices, potentially allaying investor concern over adoption rates with its more attractive point of entry. PRICE ACTION: Facebook shares closed higher by 0.5% and continued to rise in after-hours trading, up another 0.2%.
13:44 EDTCMCSA, FOXAOculus says bringing Netflix, Huly to GearVR, company says in tweet
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10:01 EDTAMCXOn The Fly: Analyst Upgrade Summary
Today's noteworthy upgrades include: 8point3 Energy (CAFD) upgraded to Market Perform from Underperform at Avondale... AEGON (AEG) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman... AMC Networks (AMCX) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Evercore ISI... Citi ups Ralph Lauren (RL) to Buy on valuation, cost savings... Kate Spade (KATE) upgraded to Overweight from Equal Weight at Stephens... L'Oreal (LRLCY) upgraded to Buy from Hold at Societe Generale... Marriott (MAR) upgraded on historical performance, growth outlook at SunTrust... Monster Beverage (MNST) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Goldman... Nimble Storage (NMBL) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Longbow... Qualys (QLYS) upgraded to Neutral from Underperform at Macquarie... Ralph Lauren (RL) upgraded to Buy from Neutral at Citi... Trex Company (TREX) upgraded to Outperform from Neutral at Wedbush... Valero Energy Partners (VLP) upgraded on better than expected transaction at SunTrust.
09:22 EDTTSprint to offer iPhone 6s 16GB for $1 per month
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06:28 EDTAMCXAMC Networks upgraded to Buy from Hold at Evercore ISI
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September 23, 2015
17:41 EDTTAT&T, CSC announce hybrid cloud management platform
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11:48 EDTTSynchronoss drops after concerns raised about Verizon cloud business
After Verizon (VZ) recently reduced the amount of free cloud storage it provides to customers as part of its cost cutting efforts, analysts at Baird told investors they were "increasingly concerned" that the telecom giant is "no longer fully committed" to the white-label cloud product it offers via its agreement with cloud services provider Synchronoss Technologies (SNCR). Analysts at two other firms have issued defenses of Synchronoss in the wake of its sharp decline today. BEARISH VIEW: After Version cut its free cloud storage to 5GB from 25GB, Baird said it believed the Telco is less committed to Synchronoss' cloud offering, which the firm contended will "likely have revenue implications for 2016." The firm, which said it has had a negative bias on Synchronoss due to long-term cloud competitive concerns and the lack of growth outside of AT&T (T) and Verizon, has a Neutral rating on the cloud services provider's shares. DEFENSES: JPMorgan analyst Sterling Auty attributes today's pullback in shares of Synchronoss to the concerns raised about the potential loss of Verizon as a cloud customer. Auty, however, sees "no chance" of Synchronoss losing Verizon as a customer in the near-term since the wireless carrier recently renewed its contract with the company for multiple years. He views today's selloff as a "significant overreaction" and recommends buying Synchronoss at current levels. Also noting concerns raised about Synchronoss' potential loss of some cloud business, Wells Fargo said even if Synchronoss' cloud business exhibited zero growth in 2016 from 2015, shares would be compelling at current levels. The firm views the selloff as overdone and reiterates its Overweight rating on Synchronoss shares. PRICE ACTION: Synchronoss shares, which dipped as low as $27.86 this morning, are off their worst levels but remain down $4.65 to $32.74 in late morning trading.
September 22, 2015
10:07 EDTFOXA, TWX, CMCSAMedia companies adjust Netflix strategy ahead of OTT growth, Bloomberg says
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10:00 EDTTAT&T commits to bringing broadband to over 37,00 homes, businesses in OH
AT&T has committed to extend broadband to more than 37,000 rural homes and businesses in Ohio over the next six years.
September 21, 2015
13:31 EDTVIAB, TWXAfter Emmys, analyst sees 'growing threat' to established content creators
Netflix (NFLX), Time Warner (TWX), and Viacom (VIA) shares fell in midday trading following last night's Emmy Awards, while Amazon (AMZN) climbed. An analyst called the combined nominations for Netflix and Amazon a an indication that emerging over-the-top streaming services have become a "growing threat to the establishment." WHAT'S NEW: HBO, a Time Warner network, dominated the 67th Annual Emmy Awards, walking away with 43 awards overall, including 29 Creative Emmys, while Netflix won four awards, as did Viacom's Comedy Central. Amazon, meanwhile, achieved its first-ever Emmy wins with five total awards. Following HBO's performance at the annual awards show, Netflix Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings tweeted: "Congrats @HBO on supporting so much Emmy-winning talent. Your leadership of great television is inspiring." Netflix was nominated for 34 awards, while Amazon was nominated for 12. STREET RESEARCH: Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali said that while Netflix's four Emmys this year was "somewhat disappointing" considering last year's seven, the service's performance at the awards show was "notable," particularly since the company has long been underestimated by bigger and more established content creators. Squali said that the combined 46 nominations for both Netflix and Amazon is a "clear indication" that emerging over-the-top streaming services have become a "growing threat to the establishment" and that it's "a matter of time" before such services begin to rival and possibly exceed their "linear cousins." The analyst sees Netflix gaining strong momentum heading into the second half of fiscal 2015 and 2016 and reiterated a Buy rating on the company's stock with a $125 price target. PRICE ACTION: Netflix shares are down 1.95% to $100.62 in afternoon trading. Meanwhile, Time Warner is down 0.29% to $69.44, Viacom is down 2.42% to $45.58, and Amazon is up 0.94% to $545.32.
13:01 EDTVIABViacom to cut back on primetime commercials in October, Variety reports
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12:55 EDTTWXOn The Fly: Top stock stories at midday
Stocks began the session with a triple digit gain for the Dow and remained in a fairly narrow range for most of the morning. However, once the European markets closed, the U.S. averages weakened and are now struggling to remain in positive ground. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., existing home sales fell 4.8% to a 5.31M rate in August, versus expectations for them to be down 1.6% to a rate of 5.5M. Over the weekend, three Federal Reserve officials, namely an Francisco Fed President John Williams, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker, all argued that an interest-rate increase is still warranted this year. In Europe, Alexis Tsipras' Syriza party gained 35.5% of the vote in the Greek election. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Volkswagen (VLKAY) trading in Germany plunged and the ADRs trading in New York dropped more than 17.5% after the EPA and California Air Resources Board detected manipulations that violate American environmental standards while testing Volkswagen diesel cars. The EPA said Volkswagen may face civil penalties of $37,500 for each vehicle not in compliance with federal clean air rules, which could total as much as $18B, according to Reuters... Time Warner's (TWX) HBO dominated the Emmy awards ceremony with 43 awards, including the 29 Creative Emmys it won last week. Meanwhile, Amazon (AMZN) earned its first-ever Emmy wins and Netflix (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings, whose company won four awards, tweeted out: "Congrats @HBO on supporting so much Emmy-winning talent. Your leadership of great television is inspiring." MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Atmel (ATML), which jumped 12% after agreeing to be acquired by German chipmaker Dialog Semiconductor in a deal valued at approximately $4.6B, or the equivalent of $10.42 per Atmel share. Among the noteworthy losers was Mallinckrodt (MNK), which dropped 9% following the announcement that ANI Pharmaceuticals (ANIP) plans to acquire two new drug applications from Merck (MRK) that could compete with Acthar, Mallinckrodt's largest product. Also lower was uniQure (QURE), which fell 15% after announcing topline results of one-year follow-up data from a Phase I/II clinical trial in four Sanfilippo B syndrome patients. Both stocks were among the many big pharma and biotech decliners after Hillary Clinton, on the heels of a Wall Street Journal report detailing Turing Pharmaceuticals' price hike to $750 from $13.50 per pill of a drug that treats a life-threatening parasitic infection, vowed to lay out a plan tomorrow to take on what she calls "price gouging" of specialty drugs. INDEXES: Near midday, the Dow was up 38.57, or 0.24%, to 16,423.15, the Nasdaq was down 21.13, or 0.44%, to 4,806.10, and the S&P 500 was up 1.85, or 0.09%, to 1,959.88.
09:14 EDTTWX, VIABNetflix CEO congratulates HBO on Emmy dominance
Netflix (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings tweeted out: "Congrats @HBO on supporting so much Emmy-winning talent. Your leadership of great television is inspiring." Time Warner's (TWX) HBO dominated the Emmy awards ceremony with 43 awards over all, including 29 Creative Emmys last week. Viacom's (VIA) Comedy Central, with four wins, was the network with the second-highest number of awards last night. Meanwhile, Hastings' won Netflix won four awards and Amazon (AMZN) earned its first-ever Emmy wins with two awards for its series "Transparent." Reference Link
06:34 EDTTSamsung may be planning leasing program for Galaxy phones, Forbes reports
Samsung (SSNLF) is rumored to be planning to launch a leasing program for its Galaxy phones in the U.S., similar to the program Apple (AAPL) recently announced, Forbes reports, citing an industry executive with knowledge of Samsung's plans. According to the source, Samsung could launch the leasing program in the next few months. Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program encourages consumers to buy iPhones directly from the Apple Store instead of going through carriers, the publication notes. Publicly traded wireless carriers include AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ), Sprint (S) and T-Mobile US (TMUS). Reference Link
September 20, 2015
19:48 EDTFOXA, TWX, CMCSA'Maze Runner' sequel outpaces 'Black Mass'
Young-adult science fiction film "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials" raced ahead of Johnny Depp-led crime biopic "Black Mass" in their respective weekend debuts. WEEKEND LEADER: Falling somewhat short of estimated sales in the range of $34M-$36M, Fox's (FOX, FOXA) "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials" grossed $30.3M domestically for the weekend of September 20. The sci-fi action thriller's $61M budget nearly doubles that of the first "Maze Runner" film, building on a trend of dystopic young-adult films popularized by Lionsgate's (LGF) "The Hunger Games" and "Divergent." BOX OFFICE RUNNERS-UP: "Black Mass" from Time Warner (TWX) subsidiary Warner Bros. took in $23.4M for its domestic open. The Boston-based crime film garnered acclaim from critics and audiences alike, with particular praise given to Johnny Depp in the role of mobster Whitey Bulger. Meanwhile, Comcast (CMCSA, CMCSK) subsidiary Universal's horror thriller "The Visit" earned $11.4M in its second week in theaters, while Sony (SNE) thriller "The Perfect Guy" fell to fourth place with $9.7M. Rounding out this weekend's Top 5, Universal's disaster film "Everest" grossed $7.6M despite opening in just 545 theaters ahead of its wider release.
16:37 EDTTWXWarner Bros., China Media Capital form joint venture to develop Chinese films
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