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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
July 23, 2014
15:00 EDTFOXA, LMCA, TWXLiberty Media's Malone sees tech players unlikely to bid Time Warner, DJ says
Liberty Media's (LMCA) Chairman John Malone said 21st Century Fox (FOXA) has been looking at Time Warner (TWX) for a "very long time," according to Dow Jones.
News For TWX;LMCA;FOXA From The Last 14 Days
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February 5, 2016
08:29 EDTTWXTime Warner initiated with an Outperform at Telsey Advisory
Target $89.
08:29 EDTFOXA21st Century Fox initiated with an Outperform at Telsey Advisory
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February 3, 2016
06:16 EDTFOXAHulu eyes Sundance film acquisitions, Bloomberg reports
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05:49 EDTTWXTime Warner board adopts amendments to by-laws
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February 2, 2016
18:39 EDTTWXAlibaba leads $794M funding round for augmented reality firm Magic Leap
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15:46 EDTFOXA, TWXEarnings Watch: Media networks report amid shifts in streaming, TV landscape
Comcast (CMCSA), CBS (CBS), Time Warner (TWX), Viacom (VIA), and 21st Century Fox (FOX) are among media companies expected to report quarterly results over the next several weeks. EXPECTATIONS: Comcast is expected to report EPS of 82c on revenue of $18.77B, CBS is expected to report EPS of 93c, Time Warner is expected to report EPS of $1.00 on revenue of $7.53B, Viacom is expected to report EPS of $1.18 on revenue of $3.26B, and Fox is expected to report EPS of 44c on revenue of $7.54B. LAST QUARTER: Comcast, Fox, and viacom reported mixed results for the previous quarter, while CBS and Time Warner beat on both top and bottom lines. NEWS: On November 10, Comcast announced it expanded its advanced fiber network to Modesto, California as part of the company's ongoing response to Google (GOOG) Fiber. On November 12, the Wall Street Journal broke news that Hulu, a video streaming joint venture of Disney (DIS), Comcast and Fox, is in talks to sell a stake to Time Warner, though the Journal said on January 31 that the company has expressed dissatisfaction with Hulu's inclusion of current-season TV episodes, which it believes contributes to cord-cutting. On December 2, the Wall Street Journal reported that YouTube was holding talks with Hollywood studios and production companies to seek content licenses amid intensified competition with Netflix (NFLX), Amazon (AMZN), and Hulu. On December 9, Re/code reported that Apple (AAPL), rumored to be working on a subscription TV service, walked away from its negotiations with the major networks after being pressed to include "filler" channels in its hypothetical service. Speaking at a January 7 media conference, Time Warner CFO Howard Averill said the company was negotiating to make full seasons of TV shows available to pay-TV customers on demand, mirroring the "binge watching" offered by Netflix. On January 8, the New York Post reported that Corvex Management was considering an activist position in Time Warner. That same day, Benzinga reported that Twenty-First Century Fox remained interested in the company and had made a $105 per share acquisition offer, though Fox later denied the report. On January 14, the New York Post reported that Comcast has begun "ripping up" agreements with cable networks, moving them from basic cable onto digital tiers in response to consumer demand for smaller bundles. On January 27, Reuters reported that SpringOwl Asset Management is urging Viacom to seek outside investment from strategic partners. On January 30, the New York Post reported that Nelson Peltz is considering an activist position in Time Warner. On February 1, the National Football League announced a broadcasting agreement with CBS and Comcast's NBC which will see the two companies paying roughly $225M each for rights to the next two seasons of Thursday Night Football. Also on February 1, it was reported that Fox offered certain employees voluntary buyouts as part of a $250M cost cutting target. STREET RESEARCH: On November 5, Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker downgraded Time Warner to Market Perform after its "huge" guidance cut last quarter, with the shares also seeing downgrades at CLSA and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. On December 22, Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne called Comcast one of his top large cap picks for 2016, saying the company can use skinny bundles to take market share and potentially add net video customers for the first time since 2006. On January 8, research firm Stifel cut its price target on CBS to $54 from $66, citing a belief that industry syndication and SVOD revenues will significantly decelerate going forward, with CBS having more exposure to those areas than its peers. Meanwhile, JPMorgan added the company to its U.S. focus list on January 11, citing its heavily discounted stock and potentially strong EPS growth in 2016. On February 1, Pacific Crest argued that Comcast shares should be owned going into fourth quarter results, contending that the company's video and broadband investments will likely translate to increased market share and strong cash flows this year. PRICE ACTION: Comcast and Fox, the first of the media giants to report quarterly earnings, are down 2% and 3.6%, respectively, amid the broader market selloff.
09:04 EDTTWXTime Warner worth more without break-up, says Credit Suisse
Credit Suisse analyst Omar Sheikh said Time Warner's can deliver more value for shareholders over the long-term with its current structure and strategy than it could with a potential break-up of the company. Time Warner is worth $79-$89 in a break-up, given bond redemption penalties and loss of synergies and scale, the analyst said. Sheikh expects the importance of scale for content companies to only increase in the future, as digital competitors spend more on exclusive content and thinks Time Warner can grow EBITDA by 25% and net income by a third over the next three years. The analyst has an Outperform rating and $90 price target on Time Warner shares.
06:55 EDTFOXAFox eyes cutting $250M in expenses mainly through buyouts, WSJ says
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February 1, 2016
16:21 EDTTWXOn The Fly: Top stock stories for Monday
Stocks began the session deep in negative territory, beginning February the way they spent most of January, weighed down by the price of oil, which fell about 6% for the session. Also hitting the market early were weak economic reports, both in China and the U.S. The averages moved higher late in the day as investors awaited the next barrage of earnings reports, which will include results from Google parent Alphabet (GOOG). ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., personal income rose 0.3% in December, versus expectations for an increase of 0.2%, while spending was flat, versus expectations for an increase of 0.1%. Markit's manufacturing purchasing managers index for January dipped to 52.4 in the final January reading, down from the 52.7 flash reading and below the 52.6 reading that was expected. The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index for January came in at 48.2, below the 48.4 that analysts expected. Construction spending rose 0.1% in December, which was weaker than the 0.6% increase that was forecast. Separately, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer spoke about recent monetary policy decisions undertaken by the Fed, reiterating expectations that "economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant only gradual increases in the federal funds rate," while also revealing that four rate hikes is among the numbers being discussed by the Federal Reserve for this year. In China, the government's official manufacturing purchasing managers index fell to 49.4 in January from 49.7 in December. The private Caixin manufacturing PMI edged up to 48.4 from 48.2 in the prior reading, but both figures still remain in contraction territory. In Europe, Markit's manufacturing PMI for the euro zone dropped to 52.3 from December's 53.2, in-line with the earlier flash estimate. COMPANY NEWS: After swinging as high as $18.77, shares of Twitter (TWTR) ended the day up 6.55% at $17.90 after tech reporter Jessica Lessin said private equity firm Silver Lake and investor Marc Andreessen have "considered some sort of deal" for the microblog service operator, though Lessin noted she didn't know if deal talks are currently active. Later in the day, a source familiar with the matter told Fortune that Silver Lake has no interest in acquiring "even a slice" of Twitter... Alere (ALR) surged 45.5% to $54.11 after Abbott (ABT) agreed to acquire the company for $56 per share at a total expected equity value of $5.8B. In other M&A news, Questar (STR) jumped 22.5% to $24.99 after Dominion Resources (D) agreed to acquire it for $25 per share, or about $4.4B. Dominion slipped 2.76% after announcing the deal and reporting its latest quarterly results... Chipotle (CMG) rose 4.3% to $472.64 after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its final update on the company's E. coli scare, saying the two outbreaks "appear to be over." MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers were Sysco (SYY) and Aetna (AET), which advanced 8.4% and 1.4%, respectively, after reporting quarterly earnings. Also higher was Barracuda Networks (CUDA), which jumped about 11% to $11.75 after Bloomberg reported the company is exploring a sale. In addition, Time Warner (TWX) gained 2.7% after the New York Post reported over the weekend that billionaire investor Nelson Peltz is considering taking an activist position in the company. Among the noteworthy losers was GoPro (GPRO), which declined 3.4% to $11.06 after analysts from Piper Jaffray and Citi predicted that the company's guidance this week will disappoint investors. Also lower was DreamWorks (DWA), which fell 6.8% to $23.90 after the studio's new film "Kung Fu Panda 3" missed expectations for its domestic box office opening. Meanwhile, Roper Technologies (ROP) and Cardinal Health (CAH) lost a respective 6.8% and 1.9% after reporting quarterly earnings. INDEXES: The Dow slipped 17.12, or 0.1%, to 16,449.18, the Nasdaq gained 6.41, or 0.14%, to 4,620.37, and the S&P 500 fell 0.86, or 0.04%, to 1,939.38.
14:39 EDTFOXAFox eyes voluntary resignations to save $250M, Hollywood Reporter says
21st Century Fox is offering voluntary resignations in its film and TV networks units with a goal of reducing annual costs by $250M, reported The Hollywood Reporter, citing a memo to staff. Reference Link
12:58 EDTFOXADreamWorks falls after Piper says 'Kung Fu Panda 3' missed expectations
Shares of DreamWorks Animation (DWA) dropped in midday trading after an analyst from Piper Jaffray said that the studio's new film "Kung Fu Panda 3" slightly underperformed his expectations, despite having topped the U.S. box office in its opening weekend. WHAT'S NEW: DreamWorks' newest picture "Kung Fu Panda 3," starring Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman and Angelina Jolie, topped the U.S. box office this past weekend after its release Friday, grossing $41M domestically. The film was produced by DreamWorks and distributed by 21st Century Fox (FOX), which also distributed the weekend runner-up "The Revenant," which grossed $12.4M in the U.S. WHAT'S NOTABLE: The first two films in the "Kung Fu Panda" franchise took in $60.2M and $47.6M, respectively, in their opening weekends and grossed a total of nearly $1.3B worldwide. 'SLIGHT' UNDERPERFORMANCE: Commenting on the movie's performance over the weekend, Piper Jaffray analyst James Marsh said in a note to clients that the movie's $41M debut figure was "solid" but still slightly missed the firm's expectations of $45M-$50M. Marsh noted that the movie grossed an "impressive" $58M in China, which set a new opening record for an animated movie in that region. The analyst added that "Kung Fu Panda 3" should still have a solid run over the next few weeks due to good reviews, minimal competition, President's weekend domestically and a Chinese New Year holiday abroad. Marsh maintained an Overweight rating and $31 price target on DreamWorks Animation. RECENT DOWNGRADE: Last week, Topeka analyst David Miller downgraded DreamWorks Animation to Sell from Hold with a $19 price target ahead of the "Kung Fu Panda 3" release, citing valuation. Miller said that shares had already reflected expectations for the movie and recommended that investors trim their positions. PRICE ACTION: In afternoon trading, DreamWorks Animation fell 6.7% to $23.92.
January 31, 2016
20:43 EDTTWXOn The Fly: Top five weekend stock stories
Catch up on the weekend's top five stories with this list compiled by The Fly: 1. Coca-Cola (KO) announced a minority stake in diary and juice company Chi, with plans to take full ownership within three years. 2. Billionaire investor Nelson Peltz is considering taking an activist position in Time Warner (TWX), the New York Post reported. 3. Toyota (TM) could temporarily halt domestic production after an explosion at a key supplier curbed its supply of steel, Reuters said. 4. Investigations into Herbalife (HLF), as well as investigations into Bill Ackman himself, have fizzled and criminal charges look unlikely, the Wall Street Journal revealed. 5. Virtu Financial (VIRT) and Ctrip (CTRP) were discussed positively by Barron's this week, as well as "tech bargains" Autodesk (ADSK), Akamai (AKAM), Western Digital (WDC), SanDisk (SNDK) and Lam Research (LRCX) and attractive banking stocks Citi (C), JPMorgan (JPM), Bank of America (BAC) and Wells Fargo (WFC).
20:11 EDTFOXA, TWXTime Warner, Hulu talks heat up over issue of current seasons, WSJ says
Time Warner's (TWX) negotiations to potentially buy into Hulu, a joint venture of Comcast (CMCSA, CMCSK), Fox (FOX, FOXA) and Disney (DIS), have been heating up lately over the issue of Hulu subscribers being able to view current-season TV shows, reports the Wall Street Journal, citing sources. Though the feature is a differentiator for Hulu when compared to Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon (AMZN), Time Warner believes the presence of full, current seasons contributes to cord cutting, the report says. Reference Link
18:07 EDTFOXA'Kung Fu Panda 3' swings to first, 'Finest Hours' lands in choppy waters
"Kung Fu Panda 3" topped the box office in its U.S. debut while nautical disaster drama "The Finest Hours" floundered. WEEKEND LEADER: "Kung Fu Panda 3," produced by DreamWorks (DWA) and distributed by Fox (FOX, FOXA), grossed $41M against expectations for $35M-$50M in its domestic debut during the weekend of January 31. The computer-animated action comedy, featuring the voices of Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman and Angelina Jolie, set a new box office record for January animated film openings but fell somewhat short of the $60.2M and $47.7M debuts seen by previous films in the franchise. BOX OFFICE RUNNERS-UP: "The Revenant," also from Fox, grossed $12.4M. Disney's (DIS) "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" took in an additional $10.8M and stands at $1.98B globally, while the company's "The Finest Hours" earned $10.3M in its domestic start despite an estimated $70M-$80M budget. Rounding out the top five was Universal's (CMCSA, CMCSK) "Ride Along 2" with $8.3M.
16:31 EDTTWXNelson Peltz considering activist position in Time Warner, NY Post says
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January 29, 2016
12:53 EDTFOXABox Office Battle: 'Kung Fu Panda 3' expected to kick 'Revenant' from top spot
DreamWorks Animation's (DWA) "Kung Fu Panda 3" featuring Jack Black is expected to break the record for the largest January opening for an animated feature, topping the opening of "The Nut Job" in 2014. The first two films in the "Kung Fu Panda" franchise took in $60.2M and $47.6M, respectively, in their opening weekends and grossed a total of nearly $1.3B worldwide. With a strong base of Po the Panda fans and the popularity of a recent TV show, conservative early estimates say "Panda 3" is expected to bring in $35M-$50M. Also opening this weekend are Disney's (DIS) "The Finest Hours," starring Chris Pine, and Open Road Films' "Fifty Shades of Black," starring Marlon Wayans. "The Finest Hours" may disappoint, with expectations topping out at $10M in its opening weekend. "Fifty Shades of Black," meanwhile, is the latest spoof movie from the team of Wayans and Michael Tiddes from "Haunted House" fame. The last film from Wayans had an opening weekend of $8.8M, and this one is currently expected to take in a similar amount. Both films will battle with Fox's (FOX, FOXA) survival story and Oscar contender "The Revenant," starring Leonardo Dicaprio, and Disney's (DIS) "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" for spots in the top five. "The Revenant" and "Star Wars" should each take in $9M-$12M even as they continue to lose theaters this coming weekend. Other publicly traded companies involved in filmmaking include Lionsgate (LGF), Comcast (CMCSA, CMCSK), and Sony (SNE).
06:14 EDTFOXASky names James Murdoch chairman, WSJ reports
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January 28, 2016
05:44 EDTLMCASpringOwl calls for Yahoo, Viacom to seek partners, Reuters reports
SpringOwl Asset Management, which holds undisclosed stakes in Yahoo (YHOO) and Viacom (VIA), is urging the boards of both companies to seek investments from strategic partner, Reuters reports, citing an article that is set to be published today. SpringOwl managing director Eric Jackson says that "Although some shareholders of both Yahoo and Viacom think that a simple sale or break-up of both companies is the best way to create value for shareholders, we believe that both companies could benefit from their own version of the 'Buffett Convert,'" and that while stakes of investors would be diluted if an outside investor steps in, but "they would still be better off because their shares would likely get re-rated upwards substantially with this new partner sitting around the board table." Jackson believes Yahoo should seek outside investment from Liberty Media (LMCA), Verizon (VZ) or AT&T (T), while Viacom would benefit from Alibaba (BABA), Amazon (AMZN) or AMC Entertainment (AMC). Reference Link
January 26, 2016
19:23 EDTFOXANetflix bid $20M for 'Birth of a Nation,' Bloomberg says
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08:26 EDTTWX, FOXATwitter in play after executive departures, says Cantor
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali believes yesterday's news of several senior executives leaving Twitter (TWTR) puts the company in play and could encourage potential bidders to step forward. Twitter's current valuation and sizeable user base makes it a strategic asset for a number of potential buyers, Squali told investors last night in a research note. Potential suitors on the technology side include Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), Facebook (FB) and Microsoft (MSFT), the analyst contends. On the media side, Squali thinks 21st Century Fox (FOXA), Disney (DIS), Comcast (CMCSA) or Time Warner (TWX) could express interest in Twitter. No concentration of share ownership and no super-voting structure increase the odds of a buyout, Squali argues. The analyst, however, adds that the executive departures are not good news for a company in the midst of a turnaround. He maintains a Buy rating on the microblogging operator with a $45 price target. Twitter closed yesterday down 82c, or 5%, to $17.02..
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