AMC Theatres to open in July

AMC to reopen 450 U.S. theaters on July 15

Beginning July 15, AMC will resume operations of 450 U.S. theatres as part of a phased plan that is expected to bring the 600-plus U.S. theatre circuit to nearly full operation leading into the opening of MULAN on July 24 and TENET on July 31.

Adam Aron, CEO & President, AMC Theatres, said, “After a painful almost four-month hiatus due to the coronavirus, we are delighted to announce that movies are coming back to the big screen at AMC.

Our next 100 years of making smiles happen officially begin at approximately 450 theatres across the United States on July 15. I cannot emphasize enough how much care and attention to detail we have taken in developing AMC Safe & Clean, our absolute commitment to optimizing the health and safety of our theatres for our guests and associates.

Remember that there is a rumor that Amazon may buy AMC

Developed along with The Clorox Company, and current and former faculty of Harvard University’s School of Public Health, AMC Safe & Clean represents a comprehensive commitment with a broad array of tools being used in sanitizing our theatres.

Social distancing, reduced seat capacity, greatly intensified cleaning regimens, new employee health protocols, contactless ticketing and mobile food & beverage ordering are all part of AMC Safe & Clean.

So too is a new multimillion-dollar commitment to implementing high tech solutions in making AMC theatres safe, including deploying electrostatic sprayers, HEPA vacuums and upgraded MERV 13 ventilation filters.

All this is being put into motion because at AMC our single highest priority is the health and safety of our guests and associates. Both personally and professionally, I couldn’t be more excited for what this means for movie lovers.”

Disney’s Mulan to open July 24th

In the coming weeks, theatre teams will begin returning to their theatres for training on AMC’s new, enhanced cleaning and safety procedures.

AMC expects that almost all its 600-plus U.S. locations will be open and in operation for the launch of MULAN on July 24 and TENET on July 31.

The resumption of AMC operations may be adjusted if there are changes to the current theatrical release schedule, or as needed in response to local or regional conditions.

To facilitate proper social distancing within theatre auditoriums, AMC will approach seat capacity limitations in four distinct phases. But AMC will always follow all federal, state and local directives, including those that mandate a maximum capacity if lower than those envisioned in AMC’s four phases as now planned.

Tenet is scheduled for July 31 opening

The reopening schedule for specific theatres will be communicated in early July. During the weeks leading up to new major theatrical releases, AMC will be showing popular repertory titles made available from its studio partners. Those titles and ticket price information will be announced prior to reopening.

AMC closed at $5.63.

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Amazon may buy AMC Movie Theatres

As AMC considers bankruptcy, Amazon may snap up the company

Amazon.com (AMZN) has held talks to acquire the troubled movie chain AMC Entertainment Holdings (AMC), but it is unclear if the discussions are still active, Jamie Nimmo of Daily Mail reports, citing sources.

The companies are thought to have held talks about a potential takeover of AMC by Amazon, the sources said.

Amazon may buy AMC

Buying a cinema chain would enable Amazon to control the screening of films, giving it greater dominance of the industry. Amazon’s interest in cinemas is not new. 

In 2018, Amazon looked at buying American arthouse cinema chain Landmark Theatres, but lost out to the eventual buyer, Cohen Media Group. Netflix was also reportedly in the running to buy Landmark.

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Amazon.com is in talks to buy AMC, Stockwinners

However, a takeover of AMC would be on a different scale as Landmark only had about 250 screens in the US, while AMC has about 1,000 around the world.

Amazon certainly has the means to buy AMC, whose stock market value has collapsed in recent years to just $420million.

In a sign of bad times in the movie business, earlier this month AMC Theatres (AMC) sent a letter to Universal Studios (CMCSA) chairman Donna Langley, saying that, going forward, AMC will not license any Universal films in any of its 1,000 globally effective immediately.

Amazon bought supermarket chain Whole Foods Market in 2017 in a sign that the company was willing to spend money buying non-web-based companies. 

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Amazon bought Wholefoods in 2017

AMC was bought by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda for $2.6 billion in 2012, but it bought back $600 million worth of shares in 2018 after Beijing cracked down on overseas investments by Chinese companies.

Under Wanda, AMC launched a major expansion plan, and in 2016 bought Odeon in the UK for £920 million from British financier Guy Hands’ private equity firm, Terra Firma, and US group Carmike Cinemas for $1.1 billion.

The deals turned AMC into the world’s largest cinema company, with 1,000 outlets and 10,000 screens around the world.

However, the expansion plan backfired and left AMC saddled with debts that are now close to $ 5billion. Last month, AMC raised $500 million from bond investors in an effort to stay afloat during the crisis. 

However, investors still questioned whether AMC could avoid bankruptcy, given its parlous financial state.

A group of AMC’s lenders reportedly hired lawyers to advise on restructuring options last month, underlining AMC’s financial strife. 

In Monday’s pre-market trading, AMC shares are up 70% to $7.00. AMZN closed at $2379.61.

Read our blog about AMC.

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The real star war begins

AMC to no longer play Universal movies in its U.S. theaters

AMC Theatres (AMC) sent a letter to Universal Studios (CMCSA) chairman Donna Langley, saying that, going forward, AMC will not license any Universal films in any of its 1,000 globally effective immediately.

AMC will no longer play Universal movies, Stockwinners

“For much of the past four and a half years, I have been in direct dialogue with Jeff Shell and Peter Levinsohn of Universal about the importance of a robust theatrical window to the viability of the motion picture exhibition industry,” the letter reads.

“Throughout that time, AMC has expressed a willingness to consider alternatives to the current windowing strategy common in our industry, where the aim of such alternatives is to improve both studio profitability and theater operator profitability.

Universal stated it only pursued a direct-to-home entertainment release for “Trolls World Tour” because theaters were closed and Universal was committed to a lucrative toy licensing deal. We had our doubts that this was wholly Universal’s motivations, as it has been a longstanding desire by Universal to go to the home day and date.

Nonetheless, we accepted this action as an exception to our longstanding business practices in these unprecedented times.”

AMC noted that Shell was quoted in the Wall Street Journal saying that the success of “Trolls World Tour” demonstrated the viability of PVOD, and as soon as theaters reopen, the company expects to release movies on both theater and PVOD formats.

“Going forward, AMC will not license any Universal movies in any of our 1,000 theatres globally on these terms,” the letter said.

“Accordingly, we want to be absolutely clear, so that there is no ambiguity of any kind. AMC believes that with this proposed action to go to the home and theatres simultaneously, Universal is breaking the business model and dealings between our two companies.

Universal owns some blockbuster franchises, Stockwinners

It assumes that we will meekly accept a reshaped view of how studios and exhibitors should interact, with zero concern on Universal’s part as to how its actions affect us. It also presumes that Universal in fact can have its cake and eat it too, that Universal film product can be released to the home and theatres at the same time, without modification to the current economic arrangements between us. It is disappointing to us, but Jeff’s comments as to Universal’s unilateral actions and intentions have left us with no choice.

Therefore, effectively immediately AMC will no longer play any Universal movies in any of our theatres in the United States, Europe or the Middle East. This policy affects any and all Universal movies per se, goes into effect today and as our theatres reopen, and is not some hollow or ill-considered threat.

Incidentally, this policy is not aimed solely at Universal out of pique or to be punitive in any way, it also extends to any movie maker who unilaterally abandons current windowing practices absent good faith negotiations between us, so that they as distributor and we as exhibitor both benefit and neither are hurt from such changes.

Currently, with the press comment today, Universal is the only studio contemplating a wholesale change to the status quo. Hence, this immediate communication in response.”

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MoviePass raises prices

Helios and Matheson says MoviePass accelerating plan for profitability

MoviePass raises prices, Stockwinners
MoviePass raises prices, Stockwinners

MoviePass, a majority-owned subsidiary of Helios and Matheson Analytics (HMNY), announced the implementation of several new measures aimed at accelerating the plan for profitability.

Through these new steps, the company believes it will be able to compress its timeline to reach profitability.

Approaching the one-year anniversary of introducing its standard $9.95 price point, the MoviePass community has grown to more than 3 million members and in turn has contributed to record box office growth, responsible for approximately 6 percent of the nation’s total box office sales in the first half of 2018.

In addition, MoviePass Ventures and MoviePass Films are contributing to the company’s ancillary revenue. The company has implemented several elements of a long-term growth plan to protect the existing community and set it up for future sustainable growth.

MoviePass has implemented several new cost-reduction and subscription revenue increase measures: Actions that have been implemented are currently cutting the monthly burn by 60%.

A future increase of the standard pricing plan to $14.95 per month within the next 30 days.

First Run Movies opening on 1,000+ Screens to be limited in their availability during the first two weeks, unless made available on a promotional basis, Implementation of additional tactics to prevent abuse of the MoviePass service.

As of Q3 and beyond, MoviePass is also generating incremental non-subscription revenue of approximately $4 to $6 per subscriber per quarter: Integration of MoviePass Ventures and MoviePass Films with our own original content allows us to gain revenue by owning the films through box office, streaming, DVD, retail, transactional sales e.g. Apple and Samsung, and international rights, etc.

Partnerships with 3rd party media inventory to increase scale and reach of marketing efforts driven by data. Continued rollout and refinement of the Peak Pricing program.

Creating strategic marketing partnerships and promotions with studios, content owners, and brands. Integration of Moviefone.Com to support the media buys of brands and studios.

In an effort to maintain the integrity of the MoviePass mission, to enhance discovery, and to drive attendance to smaller films and bolster the independent film community, MoviePass will begin to limit ticket availability to Blockbuster films. This change has already begun rolling out, with Mission Impossible 6 being the first film included in the measure.

This is a strategic move by the company to both limit cash burn and stay loyal to its mission to empower the smaller artistic film communities.

Major studios will continue to be able to partner with MoviePass to promote their first run films, seeding them with a valuable moviegoing audience.

HMNY is up 7 cents to $0.88.


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Helios and Matheson jumps as MoviePass exceeds estimates

Helios and Matheson jumps as MoviePass tops 1M subscribers 

Helios and Matheson jumps as MoviePass exceeds initial projections

Shares of Helios and Matheson (HMNY) jumped in afternoon trading after the company said its MoviePass theater subscription services surpassed 1M paying monthly subscribers this month.

MOVIEPASS EXCEEDS 1M MONTHLY SUBSCRIBERS

Helios and Matheson, a majority owner of MoviePass, said this morning that the subscriber base for the movie theater subscription service surpassed 1M paying monthly subscribers, compared to more than 600,000 as of October 18 and approximately 20,000 as of August 14, the day before MoviePass announced its new $9.95 per month subscription price.

In a statement, the company said MoviePass has increased its subscriber base by over 6,500% since the introduction of the $9.95 per month pricing model.

MoviePass shifted to the lower price subscription model on August 15, and noted today that it has reached the 1M subscriber mark in less time than Netflix (NFLX) or Hulu (DIS, CMCSA, CMCSK, FOX, FOXA).

MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe said:

“Our focus on creating the best movie theater subscription service experience for our subscribers has propelled our growth to date. We believe that growth will continue as we further develop our application, improve customer service, enhance exhibitor relations and fill movie theater seats for incredible films to be released in the future.”

WHAT’S NOTABLE

Helios and Matheson announced plans in November to raise its stake in MoviePass from the 53.71% it held in October. After MoviePass dropped its subscription price to $9.95, analysts predicted the service would hit 1M subscribers by the end of the year.

In October, MoviePass said its continued growth trajectory “exceeded MoviePass’ initial projections, and now MoviePass projects that it will acquire at least 3.1 million additional paying subscribers through August 18, 2018, exceeding its previous estimate of 2.5 million subscribers.

“Earlier this month, MoviePass and streaming service Fandor partnered with Costco (COST) to offer a one-year subscription plan for a flat fee of $89.99.

CITRON CAUTIOUS

Citron Research has expressed cautious comments on Helios and Matheson, saying in October that the stock will “trade back to $20…You might like product but $1+bill it isn’t. Giving away $1 for .90 no biz.” Helios and Matheson has also been mentioned cautiously by TheStreetSweeper.

PRICE ACTION

Shares of Helios and Matheson are up about 5% in Wednesday’s trading to $6.51.


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MoviePass membership jumps

Helios and Matheson jumps as MoviePass exceeds initial projections

Helios and Matheson jumps as MoviePass exceeds initial projections. See Stockwinners.com for details

Shares of Helios and Matheson Analytics (HMNY) jumped in Tuesday’s  trading after the company said its MoviePass theater subscription services surpassed over 600,000 paying monthly subscribers this month.

MOVIEPASS EXCEEDING PROJECTIONS

Helios and Matheson, a majority owner of MoviePass, said this morning that the subscriber base for the movie theater subscription service surpassed 600,000 paying monthly subscribers as of October 18, compared to about 20,000 as of August 14.

The company said the continued growth has exceeded initial expectations.

The company also said that its subscriber churn rate has been shrinking, to 2.4% in month two from 4.2% in month one.

Based on current churn rates, MoviePass said monthly subscriber retention is above 96% and average paying monthly subscriber life expectancy is 46.8 months.

“Month after month we aim to improve our service with faster card delivery, improved application updates, and an easier-to-use web site. We believe our strategy is paying off in terms of increased satisfaction, reduced churn, and faster growth,” MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe said in a statement.

“When you apply computer science and machine learning to an industry that we believe has lacked significant innovation, useful patterns start to emerge,” said Helios and Matheson Chairman and CEO Ted Farnsworth.

WHAT’S NOTABLE

On August 15, Helios and Matheson announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a majority stake of MoviePass, which is led by Lowe, a Netflix (NFLX) co-founder and former Redbox president.

Helios and Matheson also introduced a new monthly movie ticket subscription of $9.95, allowing customers to get into one showing every day at any theater in the U.S. that accepts debit cards for about the price of a single ticket each month.

The following month, MoviePass subscribers rose to over 400,000 from less than 20,000.

Earlier this month, Helios and Matheson increased its ownership stake in MoviePass to 53.71% from 53%. Helios and Matheson Analytics shareholders still have to approve the company’s purchase of its majority stake in MoviePass.

Following the price cut to $9.95, MoviePass said its website was overwhelmed by the volume of traffic from interested customers, forcing some theatergoers to wait almost a month before their passes arrived in the mail. At the time, Lowe said he “totally underestimated demand,” but the company boosted its team to 35 to deal with the backlog.

CITRON, STREET SWEEPER CAUTIOUS

Some are cautious on Helios and Matheson as shares have jumped over 1000% since announcing the acquisition of a majority stake in MoviePass.

Citron Research tweeted on October 11 that Helios and Matheson’s stock will “trade back to $20 Retail investors are warned. You might like product but $1+bill it isn’t. Giving away $1 for .90 no biz.”

A day later, Citron tweeted that “Don’t like to stay short companies that are expected to lose money high borrow $ hit tgt price in one day. all timing.” Helios and Matheson has also been mentioned cautiously by TheStreetSweeper.

PRICE ACTION

Helios and Matheson, while off earlier highs, is still up about 2% to $13.56.


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Netflix Reports Today

What to watch in Netflix earnings report

Disney loss having minimal impact on Netflix subscribers. See Stockwinners.com Market Radar to read more

Netflix (NFLX) is scheduled to report results of its third fiscal quarter after market close on October 16, with a conference call scheduled for 6:00 pm ET.

What to watch:

1. SUBSCRIBER FORECASTS, PRICE HIKE:

Netflix’s subscriber numbers are a closely-watched measure of the company’s growth trajectory. Last quarter, the company reported streaming net additions of 5.2M members, including second quarter U.S. additions of 1.07M and international additions of 4.14M members. Turning to its Q3 outlook, Netflix had forecast streaming net additions of 750,000 in the U.S. and international streaming net additions of 3.65M. On October 5, Netflix announced a price increase in the U.S., U.K., and other select markets, noting that the last time it had changed prices in the U.S. was 2015.

2. NO ‘UN-GRANDFATHERING’ THIS TIME:

A number of analysts have been bullish about Netflix shares since its price increase announcement, voicing support for its pricing power.

Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin #Swinburne raised his price target on Netflix shares to $225 from $210, stating that he expects less of a churn impact from its new domestic price increases. He estimates that higher average revenue per user will more than offset the estimated near-term subscriber impact from the price increases and raised his 2018 revenue estimates to reflect that view.

Stifel analyst Scott #Devitt raised his price target on Netflix to $230 from $200 ahead of the company’s Q3 earnings report, saying he expects “healthy subscriber trends” in the quarter and for the current price increase to be much less disruptive than last year.

Meanwhile, Goldman analyst Heath #Terry believes Netflix consensus subscriber estimates are too low, particularly for Q4 and beyond. Terry’s second half net subscriber addition forecast of 13.9M is considerably above consensus of 10.8M, which he believes management is likely to exceed.

Terry also boosted Netflix’s price target to $235 from $200 on faster top-line growth and revised estimates and reiterated his Buy rating on the shares. 3.

BULLISH EVEN BEFORE HIKE:

Early this month, before the company announced its price increase plans, UBS and Piper Jaffray predicted that the company’s third quarter subscriber data would come in above expectations.

The positive momentum that Netflix saw in the second quarter continued at similar rates in the third quarter, wrote analyst Doug #Mitchelson on October 4, noting that the continued strong year-over-year subscriber growth “across almost all markets” came despite a downturn in the quality of the company’s original programming last quarter. He raised his Q3 U.S. net subscriber addition estimate by 100,000 to 850,000 and increased his Q3 international net add estimate by 300,000 to 3.95M.

Meanwhile, on the same day, Piper Jaffray‘s Michael #Olson said that after analyzing Google search trends he believed that Netflix’s international and domestic subscriber growth beat expectations last quarter.

The analyst said the search data suggests that the company’s U.S. subscriber base jumped 16% in Q3, while its foreign subscriber base surged by 71% year-over-year, both of which were better than the consensus growth outlook at that time.

OPTIONS  MARKET

Pre-earnings options volume in Netflix is 1.6x normal with calls leading puts 8:7. Implied volatility suggests the market is anticipating a move near 11.9%, or $23.79, after results are released. Median move over the past eight quarters is 10.6%.

NFLX last traded at $201.18, up $1.69.


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Box Office Report for July 14 Weekend

‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ tops ‘Spider-Man’  

'War for the Planet of the Apes' tops 'Spider-Man' . See Stockwinners.com Market Radar every Friday and Sunday for the Box Office Report

BOX OFFICE BATTLE:

Ahead of Sony’s (SNE) “Spider-Man,” 21st Century Fox’s (FOX) “War for the Planet of the Apes” led the North American box office, coming in on the low end of expectations with $56.5M from a little over four thousand locations.

OVERSEAS SALES

Overseas, the latest film in the rebooted franchise opened in less than a third of the marketplace, grossing $46M from 62 markets for global bow of $102.5M. “War for the Planet of the Apes” holds a critics rating of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and received an A- in audience polls from #CinemaScore.

BOX OFFICE RUNNERS-UP:

Declining more than expected in its sophomore outing to $45.2M, Sony’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming” came in second place.

Behind it was Comcast’s (CMCSA) “Despicable Me 3” in its third weekend, with $18.9M for a domestic total of $188M. Sony’s “Baby Driver” followed at number 4 with $8.8M for a domestic total of $73.1M.

Rounding out the top five, “The Big Stick” ended the week with $7.6M from 2,597 cinemas. Amazon (AMZN) Studios acquired the critical hit out of #Sundance before partnering with Lionsgate (LGF.A) on the theatrical release.

Other publicly traded companies in filmmaking include Disney (DIS), Time Warner (TWX) and Viacom (VIAB; VIA).

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Barron’s is Bullish on Adidas, Cisco, Whirlpool and Gilead

Barron’s, the weekly publication owned by the Wall Street Journal, in its latest issue is bullish on several names. They include:

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Adidas could double as profit margins expand, Barron’s says – Despite the nearly 40% run up in the past 12 months, adidas (ADDYY) shares still have significant upside, particularly if the company can make good on its goal of achieving the lofty profit margins of rival Nike (NKE), Victor Reklaitis writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s, citing portfolio managers for European equities at Hermes Investment Management.

Vertex, Gilead seen as innovators, Barron’s says – Jason #Kritzer and Samantha Pandolfi, co-managers of Eaton Vance Worldwide Health Sciences fund, believe it is “a great time” to invest in the health care sector, with a lot of innovation under way by drugmakers, medical-device companies and companies developing technologies used to deliver health care, Johanna Bennett writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. Eaton Vance finds innovation in Vertex (VRTX), Zoetis (ZTS), and Gilead (GILD), publication notes.

Visteon rally far from over, Barron’s says – In a follow-up story, Barron’s tells readers that while shares of Visteon (VC) are up sharply this year, due to the popularity of the company’s auto electronics, the stock could have more room to run. Rapid earnings growth could power Visteon’s shares to $116 from $105, and a deal could lift them even higher, the publication notes, adding that potential buyers include nontraditional auto plays, such as Apple (AAPL) and Alphabet (GOOGL; GOOG), which are developing driverless cars.

Cisco seems undervalued as future looks brighter, Barron’s says – Seen as “Old Tech,” Cisco (CSCO) seems overlooked, while Verint Systems appears overvalued, Vito Racanelli writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. With its 3.7% dividend yield, the former could be just “the ticket for a healthy-double-digit annual return” with somewhat low downside over the next 24 months, the publication notes.

Trade policy may favor some Americans over others, Barron’s say – Steel tariffs and import restrictions may secure profits for steel mills and employment for steel workers, but will inevitably drive up the cost of any product, Thomas Donlan writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s, noting that other American companies are the customers of the U.S. steel industry and protectionism will not put them first. While protecting steel is supposed to solidify national defense, protectionism actually “hardens the economic arteries of commerce,” Donlan added. Companies that may be impacted by Trump’s potential steel tariffs include U.S. Steel (X), AK Steel (AKS), Nucor (NUE), Steel Dynamics (STLD), ArcelorMittal (MT), Alcoa (AA), and Century Aluminum (CENX).

Whirlpool could rise 35% next year, Barron’s says – Whirlpool (WHR) is a “cash machine” for shareholders, and despite coping with the aftermath of the U.S. housing crisis, price competition from South Korean rivals, and troubled markets like Brazil, the maker of washers, dryers, dishwashers, ovens, and refrigerators has more than doubled earnings since 2012, Robin Goldwyn Blumenthal writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. The shares remain cheap, the publication noted, but the stock may be worth about $260 a share, or 35% higher, if Whirlpool can continue to execute well in the year ahead.

Orion Engineered aiming for continued gains, Barron’s says – The carbon-black market is growing twice as fast as the commodity business and is more profitable, Nicholas #Jasinski writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. Orion Engineered (OEC) is the smallest of the three key global players, after Cabot (CBT) and Aditya Birla, but is the largest in the specialty carbon-black market, and “a little gem hiding in all of this black dust,” the publication noted. Orion’s long-term relationships with customers give the company the bargaining power to negotiate contracts indexed to the cost of carbon black’s main input, namely oil, the report added.

Bearish Names

Premium video on demand may pressure movie-theater operators, Barron’s says – This year, stocks of AMC Entertainment (AMC), Regal Entertainment (RGC) and Cinemark (CNK) have declined due to a “mediocre” summer box office on franchise fatigue, more beguiling choices on Netflix (NFLX) or Amazon (AMZN), and as technology is changing people shop, Kopin Tan writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. Studios and distributors like Comcast’s (CMCSA; CMCSK) Universal Pictures or Walt Disney (DIS) are now debating how to roll out “premium video-on-demand,” which lets viewers watch a movie within a day to 50 days after it hits the big screen, the publication adds, pointing out that while this can benefit the studios, theaters will have much to lose.

Verint looks overvalued given performance, Barron’s says – Riding the “tech momentum” but looking overvalued, Verint Systems weakening track record over the past four years suggests that investor enthusiasm is misplaced, Vito Racanelli writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. Verint Systems (VRNT) does not look like a tech company with sustainable growth, with its revenue growth dropping steadily, the report notes.

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Wonder Woman does Wonders at the Box Office

‘Wonder Woman’ wins weekend with $100.5M debut

“Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie,” disappoints with $23.5M debut

 

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#TimeWarner’s ($TWX) “Wonder Woman” earned $100.5M in its U.S. debut over the June 4 weekend, matching expectations for at least $100M. The latest entry in the DC Comics cinematic universe received an A in audience polls from #CinemaScore, holds a critics rating of 93% on #RottenTomatoes — significantly higher than the 27% of its most immediate predecessor, 2016’s “Batman v Superman” — and was produced with a reported budget of $149M. In foreign markets, the Gal Gadot-led film took $122.5M.

BOX OFFICE RUNNERS-UP

“Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie,” distributed by Fox (FOX) and produced by Comcast’s (CMCSA) DreamWorks, opened at $23.5M versus estimates of $28M. The animated children’s film was scored B+ in audience polls and holds an 86% critics rating.

Taking third place, Disney’s (DIS) “Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” grossed $21.6M, representing a second-weekend drop of more than 65%. Internationally, the fifth installment in the fantasy adventure series continued its strong showing with receipts of $74M.

Rounding out the top five, Disney’s “Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2” added $9.7M for a global cumulative total of $817M while Viacom’s (VIA) “Baywatch” earned $8.5M. Other publicly traded companies in filmmaking include Lionsgate (LGF.A) and Sony (SNE).

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Tegna may be a takeover target

Consolidation in Media Companies is underway

Tegna recently spun off Cars.com, CareerBuilder might be next

 

tegna-logo

Tegna (TGNA) may be a takeover target of Nexstar (NXST), Dealreporter says.

#Tegna, formerly known as Gannett, engages in media and digital businesses in the United States.

The company operates in two segments, Media and Digital. It operates 46 television stations that produce local programming, such as news, sports, and entertainment. The company also operates Cars.com, an online destination for automotive consumers that offers information about car shopping, selling, and servicing; CareerBuilder, which provides human capital solutions. The company has a market capitalization of $5.1 billion.

nxst

#Nexstar Media Group $NXST operates as a television broadcasting and digital media company in the United States. It focuses on the acquisition, development, and operation of television stations and interactive community Websites in medium-sized markets. The company offers free over-the-air programming to television viewing audiences. It also provides sales, programming, and other services through various local service agreements to 30 power television stations owned and/or operated by independent third parties. The company has a market capitalization of $2.7 billion.

Media companies in recent months have been looking for mergers to improve their earnings and competition from various internet based media compete for advertisers dollars. YouTube (GOOG) has recently offered a service similar to cable companies for $35 per month. YouTube will take a cut from advertising dollars that are sold on its network.

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Peanuts and Strawberry Shortcake Sold for $345M

Peanuts#Iconix Brand $ICON has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its interest in the #Peanuts and #Strawberry Shortcake brands to #DHX Media for $345M in cash, subject to a customary working capital adjustment.

The company intends to use the net proceeds from this transaction plus additional cash on the balance sheet to pay down approximately $362M of debt.

This includes a mandatory payment of approximately $152M of the company’s Senior strawberrySecured Notes issued under its securitization facility, and the full extinguishment of the $210m outstanding balance of its Senior Secured Term Loan. Going forward, the entertainment segment will be reported as a discontinued operation.

The company expects the elimination of earnings from the entertainment segment to be offset by interest savings from the reduction of debt. The total acquisition cost of these brands was $246M. This transaction is expected to close by the end of Q2.

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Box Office Battle for May 5-7 Weekend

‘Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2’ guardians_of_the_galaxy_vol_2_by_batcrazyman-d95z0yzkicked off summer with a bang but fell shy of the expectations – #Disney’s $DIS superhero movie earned $145M in its U.S. debut over the May 7 weekend, narrowly missing expectations for $150M-$160M. The Chris Pratt-led superhero sequel received an A in audience polls from CinemaScore, holds an 81% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and was produced with a reported budget of $200M. In foreign territories, “#Guardians” took $123.8M.
BOX OFFICE RUNNERS-UP: #Comcast’s $CMCSA “The Fate Of The Furious” added $8.5M in its fourth weekend, reaching U.S. and global totals of $207M and $1.16B. #Fox’s $FOX “The Boss Baby,” meanwhile, rebounded to third place with $6.2M, for a cumulative domestic total of $157M.
Rounding out the top five, #Lionsgate $LGF.A comedy “How To Be A Latin Lover” grossed $5.2M while Disney’s “Beauty And The Beast” added $4.9M, showing noteworthy staying power in its eight weekend. Other publicly traded companies in filmmaking include #Sony $SNE , Time Warner $TWX and Viacom $VIA .
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