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July 7, 2014
05:43 EDTDIS, CMCSA, FOXA, CTCMCTC Media, Roskino announce agreement for Russian content rollout on Hulu
Roskino and Digital Media Rights announced the exclusive launch of Russian TV series in the U.S. on the free, ad-supported Hulu and Hulu Plus (CMCSA, DIS, FOX.A) subscription service. CTC Media (CTCM) is one of the partners in the agreement. CTC Media and Roskino will provide a range of their in-house television shows including sports drama Junior League, dramedy Ranetki, mystery thriller The Day After and crime drama Lavrova's Method on Hulu and Hulu Plus.
News For CTCM;CMCSA;DIS;FOXA From The Last 14 Days
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September 29, 2015
15:19 EDTDISDiscovery drops as investor day fails to dispell cord-cutting fears
Shares of Discovery Communications (DISCA) have dropped today as the company held its first-ever investor day amid ongoing concerns about the potential decline of pay TV. NEW GUIDANCE: Discovery Chief Financial Officer Andrew Warren updated the company's full year 2015 outlook, saying he expects constant currency adjusted earnings per share to grow in the low double digits. The company expects revenue for the year to grow 9%-10%, with free cash flow up in low single digits. Meanwhile, year over year currency headwinds were seen deducting $460M from revenue and 24c-29c from adjusted EPS. Discovery also established long-term guidance, saying it sees its adjusted EPS compound annual growth rate up in low double digits from 2015 to 2018, on a constant currency basis. "Third quarter results are on track, highlighted by strong U.S. advertising growth," Warren added. THREE BILLION SUBSCRIBERS: CEO David Zaslav commented during the investor day that the company is "confident in the long-term outlook for our business," adding that Discovery expects to reach 3B cumulative worldwide subscribers by year's end. The Chief Executive highlighted what he called five differentiators for Discovery's growth potential, including its ownership of a growing and diverse portfolio of content and IP "that uniquely positions Discovery for the changing media landscape." CORD CUTTING: Multiple Discovery executives showcased the company's European products, including Eurosport and the Eurosport Player OTT service, as well as the company's apparent first-mover advantage in Latin America. The seemingly increased attention on foreign initiatives comes as U.S. cord-cutting trends continue generating headlines, with Citi analyst Jason Bazinet arguing as recently as September 18 that Disney (DIS) would be the only cable network to make more money in a bundle-free world. According to media reports of today's Discovery event, Chief Executive Zaslav said "it's not rational" that media companies are selling so much of their content to streaming services like Netflix (NFLX) that threaten the appeal of cable bundles. The CEO added that Discovery has assumed a 1%-2% decline in pay TV over "the next couple of years," though he reassured investor day attendees that the company's adjusted operating income should be roughly flat even in a worst-case scenario. PRICE ACTION: Shares of Discovery crashed as much as 7% in early morning trading before seeing hesitant moves higher. The stock is down just under 4% to roughly $26.70 heading towards session close.
11:09 EDTCMCSAGoPro announces launch of channel on Comcast Watchable
GoPro (GPRO) announced it's bringing the GoPro Channel to Watchable, Comcast's (CMCSA, CMCSK) new, cross-platform video service. GoPro's first Multichannel Video Programming Distributor agreement will deliver GoPro content to users on iOS,, and X1. Launching in beta, all Watchable content is free, the company stated.
11:05 EDTCMCSAComcast launches video platform Watchable, Business Insider reports
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09:40 EDTFOXA21st Century Fox, ValueAct Capital enter into agreement regarding ownership
Twenty-First Century Fox announced that it entered into a Nomination Agreement dated September 28 with ValueAct Capital Master Fund L.P., VA Partners I, LLC, ValueAct Capital Management, L.P., ValueAct Capital Management, LLC, ValueAct Holdings, L.P., ValueAct Holdings GP, LLC, Volpe Velox, L.P., Volpe Velox, LLC and Jeffrey W. Ubben. The ValueAct Group currently beneficially owns approximately 5.9% of the company's outstanding Class B Common Stock. Pursuant to the Nomination Agreement, and subject to the conditions set forth therein, the company agreed to nominate Ubben, the Founder, CEO and CIO of ValueAct Capital, for election to the company's Board at the company's annual meeting of stockholders to be held in 2015.Subject to certain exceptions, if at any time the ValueAct Group ceases to own at least 5% of the outstanding Class B Common Stock of the company, the company will no longer be required to nominate Ubben for election at the 2015 Annual Meeting and, if he previously joined the Board, Ubben will be required to resign from the Board. Under the Nomination Agreement, in the event that Ubben no longer serves as a company director prior to the Company's 2016 annual meeting of stockholders due to his death or disability, the company and the ValueAct Group shall work together to nominate a mutually acceptable replacement so long as the ValueAct Group continues to own at least 5% of the company's outstanding Class B Common Stock. For the duration of the Standstill Period, the ValueAct Group has agreed, among other things, that it will not: (i) in any way participate in any "solicitation" of proxies; (ii) in any way participate in any group with any persons who are not ValueAct affiliates with respect to the company's securities; (iii) acquire any beneficial or other ownership interest of (A) 7% or more of the company's Class B Common Stock outstanding at such time or (B) 7% or more of the company's Class A Common Stock outstanding at such time; (iv) knowingly sell the securities of the company to any person or entity that would own more than 4.9% of the outstanding shares of the Company's Class B Common Stock or 4.9% of the outstanding shares of the company's Class A Common Stock following such transaction; (v) effect or seek to effect any tender or exchange offer, merger, consolidation, acquisition, scheme, arrangement, business combination, recapitalization, reorganization, sale or acquisition of material assets, liquidation, dissolution or other extraordinary transaction involving the Company, or frustrate or seek to frustrate any extraordinary transaction proposed or endorsed by the company; (vi) engage in any short sale or similar derivative transaction related to the market price or value of the company's securities.
09:31 EDTFOXAValueAct agrees to 7% equity cap in standstill with 21st Century Fox
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08:38 EDTFOXA21st Century Fox, ValueAct Capital enter into agreement regarding ownership
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08:37 EDTFOXA21st Century Fox nominates ValueAct CEO Jeffrey Ubben for election to board
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September 28, 2015
09:36 EDTDIS Active equity options trading on open
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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 EDTFOXA, 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 EDTCMCSA, 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, 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.
05:18 EDTCTCMCTC Media agrees to sell 75% interest in operating business to UTH Russia
CTC Media announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell a 75% interest in its operating businesses to UTV-Management LLC, an affiliate of UTH Russia, a private commercial television broadcaster in Russia, for $200M in cash, subject to adjustment as described below. The transaction is being undertaken to ensure compliance with the foreign ownership restrictions imposed by Russia's new Mass Media Law, while maximizing the potential return to the company's stockholders. The company had previously announced its receipt of a formal, non-binding offer from UTH on July 6, 2015. The board of Directors of CTC Media will recommend that the company's stockholders approve the transaction at a special meeting to be convened as soon as possible. The transaction is expected to close in late December 2015. MTG Russia, the company's largest stockholder, holding approximately 38% of the company's common stock, has indicated that it is prepared to support the transaction based on the terms of the agreement with UTH and the ability of the Company to return value to stockholders, all as described below.
September 24, 2015
20:04 EDTDIS, CMCSA, 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 EDTFOXA, DIS, CMCSAOculus says bringing Netflix, Huly to GearVR, company says in tweet
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September 23, 2015
09:18 EDTDISPaulson Institute and CCPIT to co-host U.S.-China Business Roundtable
The Paulson Institute and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) provide an opportunity for U.S. and Chinese business leaders to discuss issues facing the two countries in a roundtable being held in Seattle, Washington on September 23.
08:18 EDTDISDisney volatility flat on tight one-month price movement
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September 22, 2015
10:07 EDTFOXA, CMCSA, DISMedia companies adjust Netflix strategy ahead of OTT growth, Bloomberg says
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September 21, 2015
18:09 EDTDISESPN to lay off 200-300 employees in coming months, Big Lead says
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September 20, 2015
19:48 EDTFOXA, 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.
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