Cox: AT&T opens itself up to activist attack

By Rob Cox
October 25, 2016

CEO Randall Stephenson is an old-fashioned empire builder cut from Jean-Marie Messier cloth. In an era of pushy investors, however, running roughshod over shareholders to play Hollywood mogul doesn't fly. There's a blueprint for challenging this terrible plan to buy Time Warner.

AT&T runs corporate finance into populist uprising

October 25, 2016

The $85 bln acquisition of Time Warner would consolidate an industry already controlled by a small group. It's just the sort of concentrated power that gave rise to the likes of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. This deal, which both oppose, could become a symbol for the movement.

AT&T goes Looney Tunes for Time Warner

October 24, 2016

The U.S. telecom titan is paying $85 bln for the media conglomerate behind HBO, CNN and Bugs Bunny. Conventional financial analysis can't justify the whopping premium on offer. Instead, Time Warner shareholders benefit from AT&T's desperate search for a new business model.

from Viewsroom:

Viewsroom: Samsung’s fiery future

October 13, 2016

Cancelling production of its self-combusting Note 7 smartphone puts the company's reputation as well as $17 bln or more at risk. Cities, businesses and investors are putting Trump and Clinton to shame on climate change. Plus: Brexit politics get shaken up by the pound's decline.

from Viewsroom:

Viewsroom: Twitter’s takeover meltdown

October 7, 2016

The social network's stalled user and revenue growth is sending shareholders of Salesforce and other potential bidders running for cover. Meanwhile, Yahoo's email scans for U.S. authorities have rattled buyer Verizon. Plus: Is John Stumpf's time as Wells Fargo CEO nearing an end?

Samsung Note 7 fires offer glimpse of new leader

September 5, 2016

Faulty batteries have forced the $230 bln giant to recall its latest smartphone. The financial fallout may be manageable. But it gives outsiders a way to assess heir apparent Jay Y. Lee, who is trying to assert his authority on the conglomerate. Drastic action is encouraging.

Verizon doubles down on ancient web history

July 25, 2016

The telecom giant is spending $4.8 bln on Yahoo's core business. CEO Lowell McAdam is betting he can attract digital advertisers by meshing the internet-search firm with AOL, another 1990s high-flier Verizon bought last year. Trouble is, Facebook and Google are too far ahead.

Japan’s chat app IPO is more Twitter than WeChat

July 1, 2016

Messaging platform Line is going public with a valuation of up to $6.6 bln. Like Chinese rival WeChat, it has lured millions with games and virtual stickers. Yet its user base has stopped growing. Like Twitter, it must now try to squeeze more revenue out of those people.

Vodafone and Liberty get square peg in round hole

February 16, 2016

A Dutch venture between the UK mobile giant and John Malone’s cable group looks almost too neat. Valuations match perfectly, management will be shared. Vodafone probably sacrificed a bit of value, but with 3.5 bln euros in synergies, it works for both.

Global smartphone brands face mass extinction

December 23, 2015

The industry’s growth has slipped below 10 pct for the first time. Apple and Samsung’s high-end phones are taking most of the spoils while upstarts like China’s Xiaomi pick up first-time buyers. Loss-making brands like HTC and Sony may be forced to conclude the game is over.