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July 7, 2014
07:26 EDTLGF, DTV, TWC, AMCX, T, TWX, DIS, CMCSA, SNI, DISCAConsolidation in focus as media conference kicks off, WSJ says
As Allen & Co.'s annual media and technology conference in Sun Valley kicks off Tuesday against the backdrop of mega-deals like Comcast's (CMCSA) pending merger with Time Warner Cable (TWC) and AT&T's (T) proposed acquisition of DirecTV (DTV), attendees and industry watchers are wondering which content companies might be in play in the coming months, according to The Wall Street Journal. Analysts and bankers say Discovery Communications (DISCA) could be a target or a buyer in a consolidation wave, the report adds, noting the the company considered buying Scripps (SNI) last year and that analysts have pointed out the benefits of pairing Discovery with Disney (DIS). Other potential M&A targets discussed in the article include AMC Networks (AMCX), Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) and Time Warner (TWX). Reference Link
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September 30, 2015
07:30 EDTDISCADiscovery long-term guidance missed Street expectations, says UBS
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07:20 EDTTAT&T Q3 wireless adds better than expected, says UBS
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05:38 EDTTAT&T IoT technology used by Maersk
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September 29, 2015
16:52 EDTTAT&T backs FY15 adjusted EPS view $2.62-$2.68, consensus $2.62
Backs FY15 double-digit revenue growth, consensus $153.06B. In a regulatory filing, AT&T reiterated its guidance for full-year adjusted EPS, double-digit revenue growth and continued consolidated margin expansion, even with foreign exchange pressure from the company's international operations. The company also expects capital spending to increase from second-quarter levels and free cash flow to be greater than $4.5B for the quarter. The company also reaffirmed all other full-year guidance. AT&T's wireless performance includes results from both business and consumer customers. AT&T expects more than 2M total net adds in the third quarter with gains in every customer category (postpaid, prepaid, connected devices and reseller). The company also expects positive branded voice net adds in the quarter. As a result, and with a continued focus on efficiency initiatives, the Company expects to maintain momentum in wireless service EBITDA margins. AT&T said its early integration efforts with DIRECTV are going well and are in line or better than expectations. The Company expects to report positive U.S. DIRECTV net adds in the third quarter and positive IP broadband net adds. U-verse TV subscribers are expected to decline as the Company continues to focus on satellite and high-value subscribers. The Company also said that it is changing the methodology DIRECTV used to count commercial subscribers to conform to AT&T practices. Previously, DIRECTV used a method of counting commercial customers that converted commercial accounts to an equivalent number of residential subscribers based on relative revenues per account. Under the new methodology, the Company will simply count each commercial account as one subscriber. This will reduce DIRECTV's total subscriber count by 918,600 at acquisition close on July 24, 2015. This change has no impact on historical or future revenues, EBITDA or cash flows. In International, the Company continues to show great progress in its deployment of 4G LTE in Mexico as the Company invests in that country's wireless network. AT&T is on track with reaching its end-of-year goal of covering 40 million POPs. The Company also continues its work on creating operating efficiencies for its Latin America satellite properties, even with foreign exchange pressure. AT&T will announce its full third-quarter results on Oct. 22.
15:19 EDTDIS, DISCADiscovery 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.
12:57 EDTTWCFCC nod for TWC, Charter deal may not be as easy as expected, dealReporter says
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12:27 EDTTAT&T may take $1.1B charge for DirecTV Venezuela assets, Reuters reports
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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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10:56 EDTTAT&T may take $1.1B charge for DirecTV Venezuela assets, CNBC says
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09:19 EDTDISCADiscovery CEO: Low double-digit revenue growth in next 3 years, Variety says
Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav pledged that the company will deliver low double-digit revenue and earnings growth over the next three years, Variety reports. Zaslav gave the forecast at the company's inaugural investor day presentation in Manhattan, the report says. Reference Link
06:47 EDTDISCADiscovery to host Inaugural Investor Day
Inaugural Investor Day to be held in New York on September 29 at 8:15 am Webcast Link
September 28, 2015
09:36 EDTDIS Active equity options trading on open
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09:12 EDTTWCRovi news a 'small positive first step,' says JPMorgan
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08:07 EDTTWCRovi, Time Warner Cable extend existing agreement
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07:28 EDTTSamsung to pay customers up to $120 for buying new Galaxy phone, Verge says
Samsung's (SSNLF) new promotion in the U.S. will pay the rest of a customer's monthly payments in 2015 towards a new Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, or Galaxy Note 5, the Verge reports. The promotion will result in $120 off the price of any of those phones if users buy one under a new carrier installment plan between now and October 9, the report says. AT&T (T) will sit the promotion out, the report says. Reference Link
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, 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, LGFFly 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, AMCXMorgan 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.
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