Disney raises its offer for 21st Century Fox to $38 per share

Disney boosts offer for 21st Century Fox assets to $38 per share

Disney raises its offer for 21st Century Fox to $38 per share

Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA) announced that it has entered into an amended and restated merger agreement with Walt Disney (DIS) pursuant to which Disney has agreed to acquire for a price of $38 per 21CF share the same businesses Disney agreed to acquire under the previously announced merger agreement between 21CF and Disney.

This price represents a “significant increase” over the purchase price of approximately $28 per share included in the Disney merger agreement when it was announced in December 2017.

The amended and restated Disney merger agreement offers a package of consideration, flexibility and deal certainty enhancements that is superior to the proposal made by the Comcast Corporation (CMCSA) on June 13, Fox stated.

Under the amended and restated Disney merger agreement, Disney would acquire those businesses on substantially the same terms, except that, among other things, Disney’s offer allows 21CF stockholders to elect to receive their consideration, on a value equalized basis, in the form of cash or stock, subject to 50/50 proration.

The collar on the stock consideration will ensure that 21st Century Fox shareholders will receive a number of Disney shares equal to $38 in value if the average Disney stock price at closing is between $93.53 and $114.32.

In light of the revised terms contained in the amended and restated Disney Merger Agreement, 21CF’s board, after consultation with its outside legal counsel and financial advisors, has not concluded that the unsolicited proposal it received on June 13, 2018 from Comcast could reasonably be expected to result in a “Company Superior Proposal” under the Disney merger agreement.

However, the amended and restated Disney merger agreement contains no changes to the provisions relating to the company’s directors’ ability to evaluate a competing proposal.

As announced on May 30, 2018, 21CF has established a record date of May 29, 2018 and a meeting date of July 10, 2018, for a special meeting of its stockholders to, among other things, consider and vote on a proposal to adopt the Disney merger agreement.

21CF has determined to postpone its special meeting of stockholders to a future date in order to provide stockholders the opportunity to evaluate the terms of Disney’s revised proposal and other developments to date.

Once 21CF determines the new date for 21CF’s special meeting of stockholders, the date will be communicated to 21CF stockholders.


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Oracle lower after losing business to Amazon, Microsoft

Oracle slides as JPMorgan cuts rating on business lost to Amazon, Microsoft

Oracle slides as JPMorgan cuts rating on business lost to Amazon, Microsoft , Stockwinners
Oracle slides as JPMorgan cuts rating on business lost to Amazon, Microsoft ,

Shares of Oracle (ORCL) are sliding after JPMorgan analyst Mark Murphy downgraded the stock to Neutral, citing negative results from a survey of Chief Information Officers about their spending.

The analyst noted that the survey showed spending contraction ahead as Oracle’s databases are being unplugged in favor of Microsoft (MSFT) and Amazon (AMZN) databases.

SURVEY SAYS

In a research note this morning, JPMorgan’s Murphy downgraded Oracle to Neutral from Overweight as specific metrics in the firm’s large-scale CIO survey have arced over into negative territory.

The analyst told investors that while Oracle’s shares have risen from the $30s into the high $40s in the last 2 years, the company’s fundamental performance has remained inconsistent. Citing his survey of 154 CIOs, Murphy noted that Oracle received the largest number of indications for planned spending contraction this year, materially more than the second-worst company, which was IBM (IBM) with 25 indications of spending contraction.

Further, while ranking the top 8 or 9 mega-vendors in terms of who will be most critical and indispensable to CIOs’ IT environment in the future, Oracle only received 6.5% of votes, down from 11% in previous surveys, the analyst highlighted.

At the same time, Murphy pointed out that Amazon AWS improved from 9.5% of votes last year to 14.9% of votes this year, creating the appearance of a “sucking sound” out of Oracle and into AWS.

The company also ranked number 8 in terms of association with Digital Transformation projects, disappointing relative to its scale and lagging behind the likes of SAP (SAP), IBM, and Cisco (CSCO), he added, noting that despite Oracle’s efforts to build a Cloud presence, it rated no better than SAP in terms of association with Cloud Computing plans, and is nowhere close to the leaders Microsoft, Amazon, and Google (GOOGL; GOOG) in this respect. Oracle was mentioned by only 2% of the CIOs as the platform that will be “most integral” to their cloud computing plans, Murphy said.

Overall, the analyst questions where Oracle’s business and stock are heading in the next couple of years if the largest-scale CIO survey shows Oracle now has negative spending intentions, is lagging in Digital Transformation projects, is trailing in Cloud Computing plans, its databases are being unplugged in favor of Microsoft and Amazon databases, its applications are being unplugged in favor of Salesforce (CRM) and Workday (WDAY) applications, and customers are weary of its unpopular commercial tactics.

Murphy also lowered his price target on Oracle’s shares to $53 from $55.

WHAT’S NOTABLE

In a research note of his own, Nomura Instinet analyst Christopher Eberle lowered his price target for Oracle to $60 from $64 ahead of the company’s fourth quarter results on June 19.

The analyst trimmed his estimates to account for currency and expectations for more modest revenue acceleration in fiscal 2019. He remains optimistic, however, on Oracle’s transition and model growth reacceleration as the year progresses. Eberle reiterated a Buy rating on the shares.

PRICE ACTION

In Wednesday’s trading, shares of Oracle dropped almost 5% to $46.14.


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Tesla higher on Model 3 production

Tesla jumps after Musk keeps dual role, voices optimism on Model 3 output

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Tesla jumps after Musk keeps dual role, voices optimism on Model 3 output

Shares of Tesla (TSLA) are higher as much as 4% on Wednesday morning following the company’s annual meeting in California.

At the meeting, shareholders rejected two proposals, including one that would have separated the roles of chairman and chief executive officer. Additionally, Elon Musk said the company will likely reach its goal of producing 5,000 Model 3 sedans “by the end of this month.”

SHAREHOLDERS REJECT SEPARATION OF CHAIRMAN, CEO ROLES

Tesla shareholders rejected two proposals that would have changed the company’s board, including one that would have removed CEO Elon Musk from the chairman role.

According to a CNBC report, Jiang Zhao, a shareholder who owns 12 shares of Tesla stock, brought forward the proposal to have an independent chairman, as he believes it is necessary to prevent conflicts of interest.

In May, proxy advisory firm ISS recommend that investors split the role of chairman and CEO, saying shareholders would “benefit from the strongest form of independent board oversight in the form of an independent chair.”

Shareholders also rejected a proposal to remove three Tesla board members up for re-election this year, which was brought by the CtW Investment Group.

CtW, which works with pension funds for unions, said in a letter last month that board members Antonio Gracias and Elon’s brother Kimbal Musk were too close to the CEO to ensure needed independence, while 21st Century Fox (FOX, FOXA) CEO James Murdoch lacked relevant experience.

According to Bloomberg, which viewed a copy of the letter, CtW said that “instead of recognizing the need for independent and effective board leadership, Tesla has re-nominated three directors who exemplify the company’s failure to evolve.”

‘QUITE LIKELY’ TO MEET MODEL 3 OUTPUT GOAL

At the meeting, Musk said that the carmaker’s goal of making 5,000 Model 3 vehicles per week by the end of June was “quite likely” as the car maker’s production lines were now demonstrating the ability to build 3,500 vehicles a week, Reuters reported. “This is the most excruciating hellish several months I’ve ever had… but I think we’re getting there,” Musk said.

Tesla Model 3 named Popular Mechanics' Car of the Year
Tesla Model 3 named Popular Mechanics’ Car of the Year

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

Robin Ren, Tesla’s head of worldwide sales, announced at the meeting that the company intends to build its first factory outside of the U.S. in Shanghai, China, CNBC reported.

Unlike Tesla’s first U.S. factories, the company’s new “Dreadnought” factories should produce both batteries and assemble vehicles in one place.

Additionally, according to Business Insider, Musk said the company plans to reveal the Model Y next March and will likely go into production in early 2020. The report also said that the Semi will go into production in 2020 and that it will be slightly different than what was revealed in 2017 because the company has made improvements.

The Tesla Roadster will follow the same timeline for production and will have a SpaceX option package available, BI also said.

WHAT’S NOTABLE

Musk has said that Tesla plans to be profitable and cash flow positive in Q3 and Q4, tweeting in April that there is “obviously no need to raise money.”

Musk previously said that the company was not planning to raise any capital before the end of 2019. He reiterated that during the shareholder meeting and said he is still confident that Tesla will become profitable in Q3 or Q4, BI reported.

Tesla originally sought to build 5,000 Model 3 vehicles a week by the end of 2017, but later revised its target to making 5,000 Model 3 cars by the end of the second quarter.

ANALYST COMMENTARY

Citi analyst Itay Michaeli told investors this morning that while he appreciates the bull case of ramping Model 3 deliveries and Tesla achieving profitability in the second half of the year, thereby easing cash concerns and cementing the carmaker’s electric vehicle lead, he “can’t get there on risk/reward at this point.” Michaeli cut his price target for Tesla to $313 from $347 and maintained a Neutral rating on the shares.

Baird analyst Ben Kallo, who remains bullish on Tesla, said the body language at the meeting was positive, noted that shareholders approved the board of directors by a significant margin and expects management to achieve positive GAAP net income and positive cash flow in Q3 and Q4. Kallo keeps his Buy rating and $411 price target on Tesla.

PRICE ACTION

Tesla is up about 5% in early trading to $305.76.


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Barron’s is bullish on Apple and Exxon

Barron’s, the weekly publication owned by the Wall Street Journal, in its latest issue mentions several names:

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Stockwinners offers Barron’s review of stocks to buy, stocks to watch

BULLISH   MENTIONS

Apple reaffirms position as tech’s ‘undisputed’ leader – In a follow-up story, Barron’s says that with its earnings report last week, Apple (AAPL) flexed its financial muscle and reaffirmed its position as “tech’s undisputed leader.” Fiscal second-quarter iPhone sales came in roughly as expected, while the company’s total profit was slightly ahead of estimates, the report notes, adding that Apple’s real surprise came from its updated buyback plans. Investors rewarded the company with its best five-day stretch in the stock market since October 2011, Barron’s says.

Apple raking in profits amid technology impasse – Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) has bought another 75M shares of Apple (AAPL), Tiernan Ray writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. While the current impasse for technology is going to continue to reduce new opportunities for Apple, for competitors such as Samsung (SSNLF) and suppliers like Qorvo (QRVO), there is enough wealth in the steady supply of what exists to keep investors like Buffett delighted with the cash flow, he contends. Milking it, at the moment, triumphs over innovation, Barron’s says.

Boeing eyeing ‘air supremacy’  – Boeing  (BA) announced last week that it would acquire KLX, whose products include airplane parts, as part of the aircraft manufacturer’s long-term plan to bolster its presence in parts, components, and services, Lawrence Strauss writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. This is a trend investors should keep an eye on, he contends.

Sarepta winning over investors – Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT) has been winning over investors with rising sales of its drug to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy and a promising pipeline of drugs targeted at the fatal muscle-wasting disease, Andrew Bary writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. Part of the optimism surrounding Sarepta is that it can bring to market two drugs similar to Exondys 51, which treats about 13% of DMD patients, he notes, adding that these drugs – casimersen and golodirsen – target mutations at other points on the dystrophin gene and could treat another 16% of DMD patients.

Exxon Mobil looks appealing – Demand for oil and natural gas is expected to be strong for decades and to capitalize on this growth, Exxon (XOM) has an ambitious plan to increase the company’s energy output by 25% and more than double earnings by 2025, Andrew Bary writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. At a share price of $77, Exxon looks “appealing,” he adds.

BEARISH  MENTIONS

Wolverine may face mounting cleanup costs – The Scotchgard chemicals that gave stain resistance to Wolverine’s Hush Puppies shoes have leached into wells and aquifers from rusting barrels of sludge and other factory waste scattered around Michigan’s Kent County, where Wolverine (WWW)  used the chemicals for about 50 years, Bill Alpert writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. The footwear firm has provided water filters to area homes and last year it set aside $35M to cover expected legal and remediation costs, but the question is whether $35M is enough, Barron’s notes.


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Apple announces new $100B buyback program, boosts dividend by 16%

Apple announces new $100B buyback program, boosts dividend by 16%

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Apple announces new $100B buyback program, boosts dividend by 16%

Apple (AAPL) said it will complete the execution of the previous $210B share repurchase authorization during fiscal Q3 and announced a new $100B buyback program.

Its board has declared a cash dividend of 73c per share of Apple’s common stock payable on May 17, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on May 14.

“Our business performed extremely well during the March quarter, as we grew earnings per share by 30 percent and generated over $15 billion in operating cash flow,” said Luca Maestri, Apple’s CFO.

“With the greater flexibility we now have from access to our global cash, we can more efficiently invest in our US operations and work toward a more optimal capital structure.

Given our confidence in Apple’s future, we are very happy to announce that our Board has approved a new $100 billion share repurchase authorization and a 16 percent increase in our quarterly dividend.”

Separately, Apple reported Q2 EPS $2.73, consensus $2.69 – Reported Q2 revenue $61.1B, consensus $60.98B.

Apple reported Q2 iPhone units 52.22M vs. 50.76M last year – Reported Q2 iPad units 9.11M vs. 8.92M last year. Reported Q2 Mac units 4.08M vs. 4.2M last year.

AAPL closed at $169.10.


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Vertex initiates Phase 3 studies of its cystic fibrosis drugs

Vertex initiates Phase 3 studies of VX-445, Tezacaftor, and Ivacaftor

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Vertex initiates Phase 3 studies of VX-445, Tezacaftor, and Ivacaftor

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) announced that it is initiating two Phase 3 studies of VX-445, tezacaftor and ivacaftor as an investigational triple combination regimen for people with cystic fibrosis.

The first Phase 3 study will evaluate approximately 360 people with CF who have one copy of the F508del mutation and one minimal function mutation and is designed to support the submission of a New Drug Application in the U.S. using data from the study’s 4-week primary efficacy endpoint together with safety data through 12 weeks of treatment.

The second Phase 3 study will evaluate approximately 100 people with CF who have two copies of the F508del mutation, the most common genetic form of the disease, and is designed to support the submission of an application for approval in patients with two copies of the F508del mutation in the U.S. using data from the study’s 4-week primary efficacy endpoint together with 24-week safety data generated from the Phase 3 study in patients with one F508del mutation and one minimal function mutation.

The initiation of the study in people with two copies of the F508del mutation is supported by data announced today from a Phase 2 study that showed an incremental mean absolute improvement in percent predicted forced expiratory volume in one second of 11.0 percentage points from baseline through week four of treatment when VX-445 was added in people with CF who have two F508del mutations and were already receiving tezacaftor in combination with ivacaftor.

In the Phase 2 study, the VX-445 triple combination regimen was generally well tolerated, and the majority of adverse events were mild to moderate in severity.

VRTX closed at $158.81.


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Ionis Pharmaceuticals is in focus

Biogen, Ionis Pharmaceuticals expand drug development collaboration

Biogen will pay Ionis $1B in cash

Biogen (BIIB) and Ionis Pharmaceuticals (IONS) announced they have expanded their strategic collaboration through a new ten-year collaboration agreement to develop novel antisense drug candidates for a broad range of neurological diseases.

This collaboration capitalizes on Biogen’s expertise in neuroscience research and drug development and Ionis’ leadership in RNA targeted therapies with the goal of developing a broad pipeline of investigational therapies.

Biogen says BAN2401 did not meet primary endpoint. Stockwinners.com
Biogen will pay Ionis $1B in cash

It builds upon a productive collaboration that produced SPINRAZA, the first and only approved treatment for patients with spinal muscular atrophy.

Under the terms of the collaboration, Biogen will pay Ionis $1B in cash, which will include $625M to purchase 11,501,153 shares of Ionis common stock at a price of $54.34 per share, at an approximately 25% cash premium, and a $375M upfront payment.

Biogen will have the option to license therapies arising out of this collaboration and will be responsible for their development and commercialization.

In addition, Biogen may pay milestone payments, license fees and royalties on net sales.

The companies plan to advance programs for a broad range of neurological diseases for which few treatment options exist today.

Disease areas include dementia, neuromuscular diseases, movement disorders, ophthalmology, diseases of the inner ear, and neuropsychiatry.

Biogen will have the first choice of neurology targets on which to exclusively collaborate with Ionis.

In this collaboration, Ionis will be responsible for the identification of antisense drug candidates based on selected targets, while Biogen will be responsible for and pay for non-clinical studies, clinical development, manufacturing, and commercialization. Biogen and Ionis expect the deal to close in the second quarter of 2018.

IONS closed at $45.85. BIIB closed at $266.02.


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Biogen to present positive data on MS

New data underscores benefits of Spinraza across SMA populations

Biogen says BAN2401 did not meet primary endpoint. Stockwinners.com
Biogen to present positive data on MS

Biogen (BIIB) announced it will present data from its portfolio of marketed treatments and clinical development programs for some of the most complex and difficult-to-treat neurodegenerative diseases at the 70th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Los Angeles.

Biogen will present data demonstrating that with #SPINRAZA treatment, older patients were able to walk longer distances while experiencing stable or less fatigue at the same time, in contrast to SMA natural history data.

The study participants had Type 2 or 3 SMA and were ages 2-15 years at study enrollment.

Several other analyses illustrating SPINRAZA’s effectiveness will be presented, including part one of the Phase 2 EMBRACE study as well as an interim analysis of the SHINE open-label extension study.

Featured in AAN’s Emerging Science program, the SHINE analysis examined the longer-term safety and efficacy of SPINRAZA in infantile-onset SMA patients.

Data from Biogen’s collaborative research initiative to identify a quantitative blood biomarker of MS disease severity will be presented.

These data further support serum neurofilament light as a promising biomarker for disease severity stratification and treatment monitoring in MS.

A biomarker like NfL levels may enhance treatment decision-making and ultimately lead to better long-term outcomes for people with MS. Biogen will present updates from MS PATHS, a collaboration with 10 leading MS centers in the U.S. and Europe that leverages technology deployed in routine care to generate standardized, high-quality data.

Researchers anticipate more than 15,000 people with MS will participate in the study.

MS PATHS allows researchers to evaluate common and disruptive MS symptoms, such as cognitive changes, to help drive more evidence-based, personalized treatment decisions.

Real-world data will be presented that demonstrate people with relapsing MS treated with TECFIDERA or TYSABRI early in the course of their disease may experience better long-term outcomes.

MRI and relapse results from the Phase 3 EVOLVE-MS-1 study for BIIB098 in patients with relapsing remitting MS will be featured in AAN’s Emerging Science program.

BIIB098 is an oral, monomethyl fumarate prodrug in Phase 3 development for the treatment of relapsing forms of MS. Data from the Phase 1b study of aducanumab, Biogen’s investigational treatment for the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, will be presented.

The aducanumab 36-month data from the Phase 1b PRIME study have been identified by AAN as a 2018 Abstract of Distinction, a program recognizing top scientific achievements in each abstract topic area; 24-month titration data will also be presented.

Data from movement disorder programs will be presented at the meeting, including Phase 1 study results for BIIB092 (formerly BMS-986168), the tau-targeting antibody and investigational compound for PSP, as well as details about the design of the ongoing Phase 2 PASSPORT study.

PSP is a rare neurodegenerative disease, considered to be a primary tauopathy, characterized by rapidly progressing physical impairments, such as difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking, as well as cognitive/behavioral impairments, such as apathy and dementia.

Data for Biogen’s investigation compound for PD, BIIB054, an alpha-synuclein targeting antibody, include Phase 1 study results demonstrating a favorable pharmacokinetics, as well as a safety and tolerability profile which support further clinical development.

BIIB closed at $263.11.


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Zillow enters house flipping, shares decline

Zillow falls after announces house flipping plans, competitor Redfin declines

Zillow tumble on Amazon news. See Stockwinners.com Market Radar
Zillow enters house flipping, shares decline

Shares of Zillow (Z,ZG) dropped in Friday’s trading after the company announced plans to enter the home-flipping business just in time for the Spring selling season.

Zillow, which has focused on just the listing part of the real estate business, announced last night along with quarterly and yearly revenue, that it will expand Zillow Instant Offers to Phoenix this month.

With this expansion, Zillow said it plans to participate in the marketplace, buying and selling homes with Premier Agent partners in the Phoenix and Las Vegas markets.

Zillow began testing Instant Offers in May 2017 with Premier Agent partners in Las Vegas and Orlando, and will add Phoenix this month.

According to Zillow, the program “gives real estate agents the opportunity to acquire new listings by connecting them with motivated sellers who have taken a direct action to sell their home.

Across all testing, Zillow found the vast majority of sellers who requested an Instant Offer ended up selling their home with an agent, making Instant Offers an excellent source of seller leads for Premier Agents and brokerage partners.”

“Even in today’s hot market, many sellers are stressed and searching for a more seamless way to sell their homes,” Zillow Chief Marketing Officer Jeremy Wacksman said in a statement.

“They want help, and while most prefer to sell their home on the open market with an agent, some value convenience and time over price. This expansion of Instant Offers, and Zillow’s entrance into the marketplace, will help us better serve both types of consumers as well as provide an opportunity for Premier Agents to connect with sellers.

A “WASH” FOR SHAREHOLDERS

Craig-Hallum analyst Brad Berning downgraded Zillow to Hold from Buy after the company announced the expansion of the Instant Offers program to Phoenix in addition to Las Vegas and Orlando.

The program will require what he estimates to be about $3B of capital, which Zillow intends to fund using its balance sheet, while only creating what he estimates will be about $3B in incremental shareholder value, Berning told investors.

Thus, he sees the expansion as “a wash” for shareholder value, but one that comes at the price of potential added risk. Berning lowered his price target on Zillow to $50 from $58.

COMPETITION FOR REDFIN

Redfin (RDFN), an online real-estate brokerage, “began experimenting with buying homes a little more than a year ago,” said The Wall Street Journal, citing Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman.

Redfin falls after Zillow enters house flipping; Stockwinners
Redfin falls after Zillow enters house flipping;

PRICE ACTION

Shares of Zillow are down over 10% to $48.19 per share, while Redfin is lower by 2.5% to $22.15 in Friday’s trading.


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Netflix and Comcast join forces

Netflix, Comcast announce expansion of Netflix-Xfinity packages 

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Netflix and Comcast join forces

Comcast (CMCSA) and Netflix (NFLX) announced an expansion of their partnership that will provide Comcast the ability to include a Netflix subscription in new and existing Xfinity packages.

In 2016, Comcast launched Netflix on the X1 platform, offering customers a fully integrated entertainment experience featuring voice control and seamless access to the Netflix service.

Netflix has quickly become one of the most popular voice searches and highly-viewed services on the platform; and among households watching Netflix on X1, X1 has quickly become the most used platform for Netflix viewing.

Comcast has integrated the Netflix service with the X1 user experience, enabling customers to easily browse and access the entire Netflix service, including TV shows, films, documentaries, stand-up comedy, kid’s titles and a catalog of Ultra HD 4K and HDR programming-alongside the live, on demand, DVR and web video from hundreds of networks, studios and digital brands available with their Xfinity TV subscription.

Comcast will launch a variety of initial offers this month that include a Netflix subscription. Offers and availability will vary by market and be open to new and existing customers.

Netflix-related billing will be handled directly by Comcast, giving customers one, simple monthly statement.


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Twitter is urged to combat fake news

Twitter investors urge it to report on steps it’s taking to combat fake news

Twitter is urged to combat fake news; Stockwinners
Twitter is urged to combat fake news;
A group of Twitter (TWTR) shareholders is urging the company for an update on how it is fighting fake news, abuse, and to specify the regulatory risk it faces.

 

Twitter’s board responded that the company is “taking action.”

 

The New York State Retirement Fund and Arjuna Capital have filed a shareholder proposal that would encourage Twitter to put together a detailed report about how well it’s doing enforcing its social network’s terms of service, the company disclosed in a regulatory document on Wednesday.
The shareholders are also urging the company to include in the report the possible financial and other risks it faces from fake news and similar controversies.
“Shareholders are concerned that Twitter’s failure to address these issues proactively has created regulatory, legal, and reputational risk,” the investors said in their proposal.
“We believe Twitter has an obligation to demonstrate how it manages content to prevent violations of its terms of service. Yet, disclosures have been inadequate.”
Twitter also noted its statement of opposition, saying “Our board of directors has considered this proposal and, for the reasons described below, believes that adopting this proposal is not in the best interests of Twitter and our stockholders and unanimously recommends that you vote ‘AGAINST’ this proposal.
Our board of directors and management have devoted, and continue to devote, significant effort to ensure that we are aware of and able to properly address public policy issues of importance to our business.
Because we believe that the issues raised in the proposal are or have already been addressed as part of our ongoing business operations through our existing robust systems, structures, processes and controls, with significant oversight from our board of directors and management at the highest levels, we do not believe that establishing a separate public policy committee of the board of directors is necessary.”

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Barron’s is bullish on Google

Barron’s, the weekly publication owned by the Wall Street Journal, in its latest issue mentions several names:

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Stockwinners offers Barron’s review of stocks to buy, stocks to watch, 

BULLISH   MENTIONS:

Alphabet a ‘bargain’ in big tech – Alphabet (GOOG; GOOGL) has the world’s dominant search engine in Google, as well as valuable businesses like YouTube, the Android cellphone operating system, and Waymo autonomous vehicles, but investor are not giving the company enough credit partly because of worries that it, like Facebook (FB), will soon face greater government regulation, Andrew Bary writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. Alphabet trades for almost 25 times projected 2018 earnings, but its effective P/E is lower because of nearly $100B in net cash and losses in its “other bets” businesses, he adds.

AI done right may give managers ‘an edge.’  – BlackRock (BLK), Vanguard, Fidelity, and T. Rowe Price (TROW), among others, have all invested time and money setting up tech centers in major cities, apart from their headquarters, as they compete for cost savings, Crystal Kim writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. Artificial Intelligence, done right, could also give portfolio managers an edge, and better serve investors with a wider array of financial planning tools, the report adds.

 IAC/InterActiveCorp sells at discount of assets value – Over the past two decades, Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp (IAC) has generated a higher return than Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B), Jack Hough writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. But the shares of IAC/InterActiveCop sell at a discount to the value of its assets, he notes.

Spotify stock could rise to five times sales. – Spotify Technology  (SPOT) made its market debut las week and while its stock price could remain volatile in the months ahead, shares could “reasonably” rise to five times sales, Avi Salzman writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s.

BEARISH  MENTIONS

Facebook bracing for Capitol Hill grilling – In a follow-up story, Barron’s notes that this week Facebook’s (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg will come to Washington to testify before an eager group of lawmakers. Congress has a chance to remind citizens of its watchdog role, the report noted, adding that while this week’s optics will no doubt be bad, the stock’s valuation already reflects much of the pain.

Smartphone growth sags as new models not compelling enough – People are holding onto their phones longer, on average, because what they are being offered in the new models just is not compelling enough, Tiernan Ray writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. This does not bode well for traditional makers of chips for smartphones, including Skyworks (SWKS), Qorvo (QRVO), Qualcomm (QCOM), and Synaptics (SYNA), the report adds.


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Tesla falls after NTSB rebuke about fatal crash

UPDATED with Model 3 Production Data

Tesla falls after NTSB rebuke about fatal crash, CEO jokes about bankruptcy

https://stockwinners.com/blog/
Tesla falls after NTSB rebuke about fatal crash

Shares of Tesla (TSLA) are lower after the company acknowledged that its autopilot function was involved in a fatal crash that occurred with one of its vehicles and its CEO Elon Musk tweeted on April Fool’s that “Tesla has gone completely and totally bankrupt.”

With the quarter coming to an end, Tesla is expected to report production and deliveries results within a few days.

AUTOPILOT INVOLVED IN FATAL CRASH

In a blog post late Friday, Tesla acknowledged that its autopilot function was involved in a fatal crash that occurred with one of its vehicles.

“In the moments before the collision, which occurred at 9:27 a.m. on Friday, March 23rd, Autopilot was engaged with the adaptive cruise control follow-distance set to minimum. The driver had received several visual and one audible hands-on warning earlier in the drive and the driver’s hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision.

The driver had about five seconds and 150 meters of unobstructed view of the concrete divider with the crushed crash attenuator, but the vehicle logs show that no action was taken.

The reason this crash was so severe is because the crash attenuator, a highway safety barrier which is designed to reduce the impact into a concrete lane divider, had been crushed in a prior accident without being replaced.

Tesla Model 3 named Popular Mechanics' Car of the Year
Tesla Model 3 named Popular Mechanics’ Car of the Year

We have never seen this level of damage to a Model X in any other crash.

Over a year ago, our first iteration of Autopilot was found by the U.S. government to reduce crash rates by as much as 40%.

Internal data confirms that recent updates to Autopilot have improved system reliability.

In the US, there is one automotive fatality every 86 million miles across all vehicles from all manufacturers. For Tesla, there is one fatality, including known pedestrian fatalities, every 320 million miles in vehicles equipped with Autopilot hardware.

If you are driving a Tesla equipped with Autopilot hardware, you are 3.7 times less likely to be involved in a fatal accident.

Tesla Autopilot does not prevent all accidents – such a standard would be impossible – but it makes them much less likely to occur.

It unequivocally makes the world safer for the vehicle occupants, pedestrians and cyclists,” the company said.

Over the weekend, Reuters reported that the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board was “unhappy” that Tesla made public information about the crash of its Model X vehicle that killed the driver last month.

APRIL FOOL’S

After teasing on Twitter that important news was coming, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted on April 1, “Tesla Goes Bankrupt Palo Alto, California, April 1, 2018 — Despite intense efforts to raise money, including a last-ditch mass sale of Easter Eggs, we are sad to report that Tesla has gone completely and totally bankrupt. So bankrupt, you can’t believe it… There are many chapters of bankruptcy and, as critics so rightly pointed out, Tesla has them *all*, including Chapter 14 and a half (the worst one)…Elon was found passed out against a Tesla Model 3, surrounded by “Teslaquilla” bottles, the tracks of dried tears still visible on his cheeks.

This is not a forward-looking statement, because, obviously, what’s the point? Happy New Month!”

WHAT’S NOTABLE

In a research note to investors this morning, Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois upgraded Tesla to Hold from Underperform with an unchanged price target of $250.

The analyst noted that Tesla shares are down 32% from their September 2017 peak and that he sees a “high probability” that management and the board, when releasing first quarter unit data this week, take “more drastic action” on guidance and funding to “restore credibility.”

At the current stock price, either would be positive, Houchois contended.

The analyst believes “higher than consensus” dilution from a capital raise could be positive for the shares, if it “credibly de-risked” the Model 3 production ramp up.

Stockwinners believes this is a good place to open a position in Tesla.

MODEL 3  PRODUCTION DATA

In an email to employees today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the Model 3 passed a production rate of 2,000 per week in Q1, Ryan Felton of Jalopnik reports.

In January, Tesla projected it would make 2,500 Model 3s per week by the end of the quarter, Felton points out.

It has been “extremely difficult” to pass the 2,000 vehicle per week rate for the Model 3, “but we are finally here,” Musk wrote in the email obtained by Felton.

PRICE ACTION

In Monday morning’s trading, shares of Tesla have dropped 7% to $247.39.


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Tesla Model 3 named Popular Mechanics’ Car of the Year

Tesla Model 3 named Popular Mechanics’ Car of the Year

Tesla Model 3 named Popular Mechanics' Car of the Year
Tesla Model 3 named Popular Mechanics’ Car of the Year

Popular Mechanics has named Tesla’s Model 3 as its Car of the Year.

Automotive editor Ezra Dyer said, “The demand makes sense. I try to reserve judgment on any car until I drive it, but the Model 3 sure looks good on paper.

Tesla (TSLA) claims zero-to-60 miles in the five-second range-unofficially, the first owners  are getting into the fours…

The autonomy is reliable and pleasantly novel, but I learn that it’s more fun to do the driving myself, sandbagging in the middle lane and then mashing the throttle to revel in that gush of acceleration.

With 271 horsepower, the Model 3 doesn’t quite rearrange your internal organs like a Model S, but it’s still ferocious… It’s thrilling, but the Model 3 isn’t perfect. I’d like a heads-up display, some way to put the speedometer in my line of sight.

And there are some places where you can see the cost-cutting, like in the rear trunk, where there’s no trim panel up top, just bare metal and cutouts for the speakers that would be there if you had ordered the premium sound system. But I think I could live with such compromises.

In fact, I know I can, because when I get home, I do something that I’ve never done with any of the other thousands of cars I’ve tested: I put down a deposit.”

TSLA closed at $257.78


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Tesla in focus ahead of shareholder vote on CEO compensation

Tesla in focus ahead of shareholder vote on compensation

https://stockwinners.com/blog/
Tesla in focus ahead of shareholder vote on compensation

Shares of Tesla (TSLA) are in focus amid the upcoming shareholder vote on a proposed $2.6B compensation package for chief executive officer Elon Musk.

SHAREHOLDER VOTE

Tesla shareholders will vote on the package for Musk at a special shareholder meeting on Wednesday, Bloomberg reported.

The package, which would give Musk an unprecedented ten-figure award of stock options, is linked to Tesla meeting a number of goals and needs support from investors holding a majority of the share.

Shareholders Baillie Gifford & Co. and T. Rowe Price (TROW) have signaled they’re likely to support the plan.

PAY PLAN DETAILS

On January 23, Tesla announced a new ten-year performance award for Musk with vesting entirely contingent on achieving market cap and operational milestones.

In order to fully vest, Tesla’s market cap would have to grow to $650B, an increase of almost $600B, and important revenue and profitability goals would also have to be achieved.

Musk will receive no guaranteed compensation of any kind — no salary, no cash bonuses and no equity that vests simply by the passage of time. Instead, his only compensation will be a 100% at-risk performance award. The performance award consists of a ten-year grant of stock options that vests in 12 tranches.

Each of the 12 tranches vest only if a pair of milestones is met. To meet the first market cap milestone, Tesla’s current market cap must increase to $100B.

For each of the remaining 11 milestones, Tesla’s market cap must continue to increase in additional $50B increments.

For Musk to fully vest in the award, Tesla’s market cap must increase to $650B.

To meet the operational milestones, Tesla must meet a set of escalating revenue and adjusted EBITDA targets designed to ensure that as Tesla’s market cap grows, the company is also executing well on both a top-line and bottom-line basis.

For each of the 12 tranches that is achieved, Musk will vest in stock options that correspond to 1% of Tesla’s current total outstanding shares. If none of the 12 tranches is achieved, Musk will not receive compensation.

For vesting to occur when the milestones are met, Musk must remain as Tesla’s CEO or serve as both executive chairman and chief product officer with all leadership reporting to him.

PROXY FIRM RECOMMENDATIONS

Proxy advisory firm Glass Lewis has recommended Tesla stakeholders vote against the proposal, saying if Musk were to receive the full grant, he would own 28.3% of the car maker, Reuters reported in March.

“The cost of the grant is staggering relative to executive compensation levels among public companies worldwide,” Glass Lewis said. In addition, proxy firm ISS recommended shareholders reject the pay package, saying the “unprecedented” stock award is too rich, Reuters reported.

The award “locks in unprecedented high pay opportunities for the next decade, and seemingly limits the board’s ability to meaningfully adjust future pay levels in the event of unforeseen events or changes in either performance or strategic focus,” ISS said.

TESLA UNDER PRESSURE

Tesla has also seen executives depart the company in the last month with Susan Repo, corporate treasurer and VP of finance, leaving to take on a chief financial officer position at another firm and chief accounting officer Eric Branderiz departing for “personal reasons”.

Additionally, the company lost Jon McNeill, president of global sales and service, in February and former CFO Jason Wheeler in 2017. Tesla is also expected to report production and deliveries results for its Model 3 Sedan, which has faced challenges including quality issues and a production halt. Musk has delayed manufacturing goals several times for Model 3.

PRICE ACTION

Tesla rose 2.6% to $318.54 in Wednesday’s trading.


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