MediaFile

Live Coverage: Apple Q3 earnings call

Surprise. Apple is expected to report another dazzling quarter on Tuesday, propelled by strong demand for its bestseller iPhone and the sleeker iPad 2 tablets.

Apple share rose nearly 2.5 percent on Monday to $373.80 in anticipation of better-than-expected results for the fiscal third-quarter, which saw an easing of the supply constraints surrounding iPad2.

The stock, which touched an all time high of $374.65 earlier in the session, appeared to have emerged out of the limbo it has been since Chief Executive Steve Jobs took leave last January for unspecified medical reasons.

But will the call following the earnings report touch on succession issues, which some board members are now pondering, according to the WSJ?

Investors are looking for a 60 percent increase in revenue for June quarter but all eyes will be on the outlook for the second half of the year, which Wall Street is betting will be huge as it may include the launch of a new iPhone, its best-selling product that accounts for about 40 percent of its revenue.

Tech wrap: Google impresses investors

Google shares soared in after-hours trade as the company’s second-quarter revenue zoomed past Wall Street expectations. The Internet giant’s net revenue, which excludes fees paid to partner websites, jumped 36 percent to $6.92 billion in the second quarter. That’s not all investors had to cheer, though. Growth in a range of businesses from mobile to online video helped the company ring up a strong quarterly profit that also exceeded investor expectations.  “Google should be viewed as a growth company again this quarter,” Stifel Nicolaus analyst Jordan Rohan told Reuters. “The combination of mobile search, Android, ad exchange, YouTube, and the core search businesses, they’re all doing well. Google is no longer a one-trick pony.”

The pool of underwriters working on Groupon’s upcoming initial public offering just got a lot bigger. The online daily deals website has added 11 new underwriters, including JPMorgan, Allen & Co, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank Securities, William Blair & Co, Citadel Securities, Loop Capital Markets, RBC Capital Markets and the Williams Capital Group, according to an updated regulatory filing. They join Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse, who were the lead underwriters named in the earlier filing.

Blockbuster unveiled a new promotion on Thursday aimed at scooping up Netflix subscribers who are unhappy about new price increases the company announced this week to its streaming-and-DVD plan. Blockbuster, which is owned by Dish Network, offered Netflix customers who switched to one of Blockbuster’s “total access” plans a 30-day free trial. Netflix has tried to deflect the rage from its subscribers. “We knew there would be some people who would be upset,” a company spokesman told the International Business Times recently. “To most people, it’s a latte or two.”

Live coverage: Google’s Q2 results

The investor spotlight will land on Google’s profit margins and newly released social networking service Google+ on Thursday afternoon when the world’s No.1 search company reports its second-quarter financial results.

Rising expenses and a steady stream of acquisitions in recent months have eaten into the company’s margins, but the recent launch of Google+ may help take some of the pressure off the company for its spending and help Wall Street warm to CEO Larry Page, who took over at the helm in April. Check in Thursday at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time (4:00 p.m. ET) for live coverage of the company’s results and conference call.

Live Coverage: Will Apple finally disclose iPad 2 sales figures?

Apple Madrid.jpg

Apple should report another spectacular quarter, but tempered by growing caution over how supply constraints will squeeze margins and restrain iPhone and iPad sales.

Tops on the agenda will be the impact of Japan’s unfolding crisis on component prices and availability, while the spectre of Steve Jobs health and the uncertain timing of the next iPhone continues to hover in the background. Join us for a live chat at 5pm ET / 2pm PT after Apple reports its quarterly financials.

Live Coverage: Will Page lead Google’s call?

Wall Street formally meets the new Larry Page-led Google on Thursday afternoon when the world’s No.1 Internet search company reports first-quarter financial results.

The 38-year-old Page has a lot on his plate now that he’s CEO of the company he co-founded thirteen years ago. Will he crack open Google’s $35 billion cash coffers to take on Facebook or to pay off shareholders? Will there be more self-driving cars funded at the Googleplex? Will Page even be on the analyst conference call? Check in Thursday at 1:30pm Pacific Time for a live blog of the highly-anticipated call.

Technology Earnings

Game on: its earnings time for EA, Activision

Video game publisher Electronic Arts will report first-quarter earnings after the bell today, amid Wall Street’s hopes of an industry comeback in the second half of the year. June video game sales in the U.S. were pretty dismal, but investors are probably betting on big-name game titles and possible game console price cuts to pump some life back into the slump in the second half of 2009.

Analysts say EA, the publisher of hit football game Madden NFL, likely had a strong June quarter, even though they are predicting a loss per share of 13 cents. Last week, UBS initiated coverage of EA and Activision with “buy” ratings. The firm expects the $39 billion industry to grow to $55 billion in 2012, and believes EA is a compelling turnaround story because of its re-energized game strategy.

Activision, which reports Wednesday, of course remains the industry darling, with an enviable stable of franchises, including Guitar Hero and Call of Duty, new installments of which will be released later in the year.

Axed Porsche CEO tries Robin Hood tactics to bolster blue collar image

Germans love to see the mighty fall just a little bit more than the rest of the world, and freshly ousted Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking is a perfect candidate. Yes, he made tiny, almost bankrupt Porsche successful again but did he have to be so smug about it? And was he really worth the millions of euros he raked in every year in a country where executive pay is a thorny issue? His salary, which made him the best paid German manager by far, was a topic of endless fascination in the German media. Wiedeking never divulged how much he made but unapologetically said he deserved what he earned — estimated to have been 80 million euros last year. Even before his dismissal was official, speculation swirled about how extraordinary his severance payment would be, with some putting the figure at 250 million euros. In the end it was less but still a handsome sum of 50 million euros, considering he leaves Porsche with a huge mountain of debt. As Wiedeking climbs off the throne, he is eager to burnish his blue collar credentials and in Robin Hood style announced he would donate what’s left of his payment after taxes to charity. Some of it will go to a foundation for Porsche staff, some into projects to create new jobs and, in a final swipe at his critics, he promised to give to a charity for “elderly and suffering journalists”. Take that, hacks.

Wednesday media highlights

Here are some of the day’s stories on the media industry:

Bernstein Research Criticizes Media CEO Pay (B&C)
“The Bernstein report notes that the top earner among media executives in 2008 was CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves, who was paid total compensation of $31.9 million last year. He is followed by Disney CEO Robert Iger, who earned $30.6 million; News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch, who took home $27.5 million; and Viacom’s Philippe Dauman was paid $23 million. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes took home the least of the top five, at $19.9 million,” writes Claire Atkinson.

Media General posts quarterly profit, ad sales fall (Reuters)
Robert MacMillan writes: “While Media General, which publishes The Tampa Tribune, Richmond Times Dispatch and other papers, reported a 26 percent drop in newspaper ad revenue, the company said classified and retail ad declines were less steep than in recent quarters. Media General reported second-quarter net income of $20.6 million, or 90 cents a share, compared with a loss of $532.2 million, or $24.12 a share, a year ago.”

Philadelphia Newspapers to Release Reorganization Plan (E&P)
“[U.S. Bankruptcy Judge] FitzSimon had given the company until Aug. 31 to present its plan. Company officials did not reveal any new details, but had previously revealed that the plan involved raising $50 million in new capital and negotiating with lenders to reduce the company’s $300 million debt.”

Bartz shuns f-bomb, hearts Bing

By now, reporters and analysts who cover Yahoo have come to expect (and dare I say, delight in) CEO Carol Bartz’s colorful figures of speech and the occasional f-bomb drop during conference calls.

So Bartz’s tame delivery of Yahoo’s second-quarter earnings on Tuesday was a bit of a surprise. We know the 60-year-old is recovering from knee surgery, but was this even the same Bartz? The one who threatened to “dropkick to f–king Mars” employees who leak information to reporters? Or the one who asked the press to give Yahoo some “friggin’ breathing room” as the company figured out its next move? (Here’s a list of Bartz’s greatest hits).

By comparison, Tuesday afternoon was a bore, as Bartz stuck to a straight script. What’s more, she actually went so far as to compliment Bing, Microsoft’s new search engine that’s been pulling market share from competitors.