You’ve probably seen growing numbers of headlines about activist investors and strategies in the financial media, but what do you know about this trend? Let’s take a look at what activist investing involves along with some examples of famous activist investors and themes you can follow.
What are activist strategies?
In most cases, activist strategies involve purchasing large quantities of a company’s stock, gaining access to its board of directors and influencing significant changes to business and operational strategies with the end goal of boosting shareholder value.
Because you need quite a bit of capital to take on activist positions, most activist investors are hedge funds, private equity firms or very wealthy individuals.
Top 10 Media Stocks To Buy For 2016: Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc(MTU)
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides financial services in Japan and internationally. Its Retail Banking Business Group segment offers a range of banking products and services, including financial consulting services; deposit products, such as non-interest-bearing deposit accounts; asset management and administration services; trust products; and other investment products. This segment also provides annuity, single premium whole life, flat-rate premium whole life, medical, cancer, and nursing-care insurance products; testamentary trust services; housing loans; Internet banking services; and credit cards. The companys Corporate Banking Business Group segment offers loans and fund management, and remittance and foreign exchange services; derivatives, securitization, syndicated loans, and structured finance; investment banking services; and transaction and trust banking services. Its Trust As sets Business Group segment provides asset management and administration services for products, such as pension trusts and security trusts. This segment also offers a range of services to corporate and pension funds comprising pension fund management and administration, advice on pension schemes, and payment of benefits to scheme members. The companys Global Business Group segment provides services to large corporations, financial institutions, and sovereign and multinational organizations, including project finance, export credit agency, and financing through asset-backed commercial papers; and investment banking services, such as debt/equity issuance and M&A advisory services, as well as consumer finance, investment, asset management, and other financial products and services. Its Global Markets Business Group segment offers financing, hedging, and investing solutions to retail, corporate, institutional, and governmental clients; and asset and liability management servic es. The company was founded in 1880 and is based in Tokyo, J! apan.
- [By Jim Jubak, Senior Markets Editor, MoneyShow.com]
The one currency that is running against the weak dollar tide is the Japanese yen. The yen initially climbed on the Fed’s no taper decision—rising to 97.75 on the news—but then fell all the way back to 99 yen to the dollar and finished yesterday at 99.42. (Remember that since the yen is quoted in yen to the dollar, a higher number is a sign of a weak yen and a smaller number means the yen is getting stronger.) The thinking seems to be that the recent Japanese trade deficit will push the Bank of Japan to further weaken the yen, in order to boost Japanese exports. I continue to think that the yen will finish 2013 at weaker levels than current trading, and that leads me to continue to hold positions in Japanese stocks such as Toyota Motor (TM) and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MTU). Both stocks are members of my Jubaks Picks portfolio.
Top 10 Media Stocks To Buy For 2016: Diamondrock Hospitality Company(DRH)
DiamondRock Hospitality Company, incorporated on May 6, 2004, is a lodging-focused Maryland corporation operating as a real estate investment trust (REIT). The Company owns a portfolio of approximately 30 hotels and resorts throughout North America and the United States Virgin Islands that consists of over 10,925 guest rooms. Its primary business is to acquire, own, asset manage and renovate full-service hotel properties in the United States. Its portfolio is concentrated in gateway cities and destination resort locations. The Company conducts its business through an umbrella partnership REIT (UPREIT) in which the Company’s hotels are owned by subsidiaries of its operating partnership, DiamondRock Hospitality Limited Partnership. The Company is the sole general partner of its operating partnership and owns either directly or indirectly, all of the limited partnership units of its operating partnership. The Company leases all of its domestic hotels to taxable REIT subsidiar y (TRS) lessees. In turn, the Company’s TRS lessees must engage a third-party management company to manage the hotels. Each of its hotels is managed by a third party and a number of its hotels are operated under a brand owned by lodging brand companies, such as Marriott International, Inc. (Marriott), Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (Starwood) and Hilton Worldwide (Hilton).
The Company’s owned hotel properties include Chicago Marriott, Hilton Minneapolis, Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel, Lexington Hotel New York, Salt Lake City Marriott Downtown, Renaissance Worthington, Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, Orlando Airport Marriott, Westin San Diego, Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort , Westin Washington, D.C. City Center, Hilton Boston Downtown, Vail Marriott Mountain Resort & Spa, Marriott Atlanta Alpharetta, Courtyard Manhattan/Midtown East, Hilton Garden Inn Times Square Central, Bethesda Marriott Suites, Hilton Burlington, JW Mar riott Denver at Cherry Creek, Courtyard Manhattan/Fifth Aven! ue, The Lodge at Sonoma, a Renaissance Resort & Spa, Courtyard Denver Downtown, Hilton Garden Inn Chelsea/New York City, Renaissance Charleston, Inn at Key West and Hotel Rex.
The Company competes with Airbnb.
- [By Monica Gerson]
DiamondRock Hospitality Company (NYSE: DRH) is projected to post its quarterly earnings at $0.18 per share on revenue of $218.42 million.
Weyerhaeuser Co (NYSE: WY) is expected to report its quarterly earnings at $0.20 per share.
Top Building Product Companies To Buy Right Now: Terra Nitrogen Company L.P.(TNH)
Terra Nitrogen Company, L.P. engages in the production and sale of nitrogen fertilizer products for agricultural and industrial applications. The company primarily offers anhydrous ammonia and urea ammonium nitrate solutions. Its customers for fertilizer products include dealers, national farm retail chains, and distributors. Terra Nitrogen GP Inc. serves as the general partner of the company. Terra Nitrogen Company, L.P. was founded in 1991 and is based in Deerfield, Illinois. Terra Nitrogen Company, LP. operates as a subsidiary of Terra Industries Inc.
- [By Robert Rapier] While the MLP space is dominated by the oil and gas sector, in last week’s article we began to explore some of the more exotic master limited partnership offerings. This week we continue our exploration of nontraditional MLPs by looking at the partnerships supplying fertilizer.
Rentech (Nasdaq: RTK) has been around for more than a decade, and it has shifted strategies several times. Full disclosure: Rentech’s Chief Technology Officer Harold Wright is a former manager of mine when we were both at ConocoPhillips, and I have visited Rentech’s facility in Commerce City, Colorado.
For most of Rentech’s existence, the company has sought to commercialize alternative fuels. At one time it had ambitions to build a large coal-to-liquids (CTL) plant, but federal legislation ultimately nudged it instead into the biomass-to-liquids (BTL) space. The company did build a BTL demonstration plant, but ultimately shut it down and has now refocused its effor ts on becoming “one of the largest wood processing companies in the world.”
During its interesting journey as a company, Rentech acquired two ammonia nitrogen fertilizer facilities, which turned out to be a profit center that funded the alternative energy research. In November 2011, Rentech spun off this fertilizer business into an MLP called Rentech Nitrogen Partners LP (NYSE: RNF).
In the months leading to the spin-off, RTK’s market capitalization was about $200 million. Rentech maintained 60 percent ownership of RNF, and three months after the spin-off RTK’s market cap had risen to $400 million, while investors had bid RNF up to $1 billion. Interestingly, RTK’s share of RNF was worth more than RTK’s entire market cap, a situation that persists. The market currently values Rentech at $482 million, while the valuation of Rentech Nitrogen Partners makes RTK’s 60 percent stake in RNF worth slightly more than $600 million — another illu
Top 10 Media Stocks To Buy For 2016: SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.(SEAS)
SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., incorporated on October 2, 2009, is a theme park and entertainment company. It owns or licenses a portfolio of brands, including SeaWorld, Sea Rescue and Busch Gardens. It has a diversified portfolio of approximately 10 destination and regional theme parks that are located across the United States. Its theme parks feature a range of rides, shows and other attractions. The Company operates SeaWorld theme parks in Orlando, Florida; San Antonio, Texas, and San Diego, California, and Busch Gardens theme parks in Tampa, Florida, and Williamsburg, Virginia. The Company operates water park attractions in Orlando, Florida (Aquatica); San Diego, California (Aquatica); Tampa, Florida (Adventure Island), and Williamsburg, Virginia (Water Country USA). The Company also operates a reservations-only attraction offering interaction with marine animals (Discovery Cove) and a seasonal park in Langhorne, Pennsylvania (Sesame Place).
SeaWorld is the marine-life theme park brand. The Company’s SeaWorld theme parks offer interactive experiences, dining experiences, a range of live performances in the marine-life theme. It also offers a number of animal encounters, including the opportunity to work with trainers and feed marine animals, as well as themed thrill rides and theatrical shows that show its zoological collection. The Company owns and operates the SeaWorld branded theme parks, including SeaWorld Orlando, SeaWorld San Antonio and SeaWorld San Diego. SeaWorld Orlando is approximately 280 acre theme park in Orlando, Florida and is open year-round. SeaWorld Orlando is home to the Journey to Atlantis water coaster ride, Kraken, a floorless rollercoaster, and Manta, a flying rollercoaster, which integrates animals and an aquarium into its theme. SeaWorld San Antonio is a marine-life theme park spread across approximately 410 acres in San Antonio, Texas. SeaWorld San Antonio features rollercoaster s, including the Steel Eel and The Great White, along with a! collection of marine-themed shows and experiences, including the killer whale show One Ocean. SeaWorld San Diego spans across approximately 190 acres of waterfront property on Mission Bay in San Diego, California. SeaWorld San Diego has Manta, which is modeled on the Manta ride in SeaWorld Orlando, which includes animal habitats featuring bat rays and other marine-life, as well as a launch rollercoaster shaped like a manta ray.
The Company’s Busch Gardens theme parks are family-oriented destinations with foreign geographic settings. The Busch Gardens theme parks have a range of attractions and rollercoasters, exotic animals and theatrical productions. It owns and operates the Busch Gardens theme parks, including Busch Gardens Tampa, which features animals, thrill rides and shows spread across approximately 310 acres of land, and Busch Gardens Williamsburg, an approximately 420 acre theme park.
The Co mpany’s Aquatica branded water parks are family-oriented destinations that are based in a South Seas-themed tropical setting. Aquatica water parks build on the aquatic theme of its SeaWorld brand and feature rides, water attractions, white-sand beaches and a presentation of marine and terrestrial animals. The Company positions its Aquatica water parks as companions to its SeaWorld theme parks and owns and operates the Aquatica branded theme parks, including Aquatica Orlando, which is an approximately 80 acre South Seas-themed water park adjacent to SeaWorld Orlando; Aquatica San Antonio, which is a water park located within SeaWorld San Antonio featuring a range of waterslides, rivers, lagoons, a beach area and private cabanas, and Aquatica San Diego, an approximately 70 acre water park located near its SeaWorld San Diego theme park. Aquatica San Diego features Taumata Racer, a racing water ride, around approximately 180-degree swooping turn, and in and out of tunnels before racing them across the finish line.
Discovery ! Cove
Discovery Cove is an approximately 60 acre, reservations only, all-inclusive marine-life theme park. Discovery Cove provides guests with a full day of activities, including approximately 30-minute dolphin swim session and the opportunity to snorkel with tropical fish, wade in a lagoon with stingrays, and hand-feed birds in a free flight aviary.
Sesame Place is located on approximately 50 acres between Philadelphia and New York City. Sesame Place’s realm, Cookie’s Monster Land, features approximately five rides, an approximately three-story net climb, and a soft play area for the park’s youngest visitors. In addition, it has introduced Sesame Street brands in its other theme parks through Sesame Street-themed rides, shows, children’s play areas and merchandise.
Water Country USA
Water Country USA is located on approximately 220 acres and features water rides and attractions. The water park features appr oximately 23,000 square-foot wave pool, a science fiction themed interactive children’s play area, kid-sized water slides, live shows and other attractions.
Adventure Island, located adjacent to Busch Gardens Tampa, is an approximately 60 acre water park offering water rides, dining and other attractions with a Key West theme. The theme park features a wave pool and children’s water playground.
The Company competes with The Walt Disney Company, Universal Studios, Six Flags, Cedar Fair, Merlin Entertainments and Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
Broyhill Asset Management’s Christopher Pavesee argues that the worst-case scenario for SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS) is “not so bad.” He explains why:
- [By Lisa Levin]
Benzinga's newsdesk monitors options activity to notice unusual patterns. These large volume (and often out of the money) trades were initially published intraday in Benzinga Professional . These trades were placed during Monday's regular session.
Navistar International Corp (NYSE: NAV) Jun16 10.0 Puts Sweep: 902 @ ASK $0.35: 15k traded vs 1749 OI: Earnings Today Before Open $12.22 Ref ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) Fri 6/10 44.5 Puts (Wkly): 2000 @ ASK $0.43: 4051 traded vs 80 OI: $44.87 Ref SeaWorld Entertainment Inc (NYSE: SEAS) Sep16 17.0 Puts Sweep: 683 @ ASK $1.40: 2749 traded vs 313 OI: $16.52 Ref
Posted-In: put optionsNews Options Markets
Top 10 Media Stocks To Buy For 2016: SodaStream International Ltd.(SODA)
SodaStream International Ltd. develops, manufactures, and markets home beverage carbonation systems and related products. The company operates through four segments: The Americas; Western Europe; Asia-Pacific; and Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa. It offers sparkling water makers and exchangeable carbon-dioxide cylinders, which enable consumers to easily transform ordinary tap water into carbonated soft drinks and sparkling water; and consumables, such as carbon-dioxide refills, reusable carbonation bottles, and flavors to add to the carbonated water. The company also sells accessories, including bottle cleaning materials and ice cube trays; and Brita water filtration systems in Israel. It markets its products under the SodaStream and Soda-Club brand names. The company sells its products through individual retail stores and local distributors, as well as directly to customers. The company was formerly known as Soda-Club Holdings Ltd. and changed its name to SodaStream International Ltd. in March 2010. SodaStream International Ltd. was founded in 1903 and is headquartered in Airport City, Israel.
- [By P.I.A.]
There are considerations. The Coca-Cola Company (KO), an outsized peer, has been underperforming, though it maintains one of the highest industry multiples. Its results may not bode well for DPS. It also is not clear how much of an effect Soda Stream International (SODA), which offers homemade carbonated beverages, might have on the future revenues soft drink companies.
- [By David Sterman]
Dubious Plans For Growth
During a meeting with analysts Sept. 10, management ran through a series of new niches the company may pursue. One such rumored move: Products that mimic SodaStream's (Nasdaq: SODA) carbonated beverage dispensers.
- [By Monica Gerson]
Sodastream International Ltd (NASDAQ: SODA) is projected to report its quarterly earnings at $0.11 per share on revenue of $89.00 million.
Snyder’s-Lance Inc (NASDAQ: LNCE) is estimated to report its quarterly earnings at $0.23 per share on revenue of $470.33 million.
Top 10 Media Stocks To Buy For 2016: Pilgrim's Pride Corporation(PPC)
Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation (Pilgrim’s), incorporated on September 11, 1986, is a retail food store. The Company is a producer and seller of chicken products with operations in the United States, Mexico and Puerto Rico. The Company is engaged in the production, processing, marketing and distribution of fresh, frozen and value-added chicken products to retailers, distributors and foodservice operators. Pilgrim’s offers a range of products to its customers through various distribution channels. Pilgrim’s fresh chicken products include refrigerated (non-frozen) whole chickens, whole cut-up chickens and selected chicken parts that are either marinated or non-marinated. The Company’s prepared chicken products include fully cooked, ready-to-cook and individually frozen chicken parts, strips, nuggets and patties, some of, which are either breaded or non-breaded and either marinated or non-marinated.
The Company markets its portfolio of fresh, prepared and value-added chicken products to its customers across the United States, Mexico and in approximately 95 other countries. The Company’s products are focused on the foodservice industry, principally chain restaurants and food processors; distributors, and retail customers, including grocery store chains and wholesale clubs. The Company also operates feed mills, hatcheries, processing plants and distribution centers in the United States, Puerto Rico and Mexico. The Company’s case-ready chicken includes various combinations of freshly refrigerated, whole chickens and chicken parts in trays, bags or other consumer packs. The Company also offers prepared chicken products, including portion-controlled breast fillets, tenderloins and strips, delicatessen products, salads, formed nuggets and patties, and bone-in chicken parts. The Company offers these products as either breaded or non-breaded and either pre-marinated or non-marinated. Pilgrim’s value-added export and other chicken products consi st of whole chickens and chicken parts sold either refrigera! ted for distributors in the United States or frozen for distribution to export markets.
The Company sells the United States-produced chicken products to Mexico, the Middle East, Asia and countries within the Commonwealth of Independent States (the CIS). Its customer markets consist of the foodservice and retail channels, as well as export and other markets. The Company’s foodservice market consists of chain restaurants, food processors, broad-line distributors and other institutions in the United States. Within this market, the Company services frozen, fresh and corporate accounts. The Company’s retail market consists of grocery store chains, wholesale clubs and other retail distributors. The Company’s retail market products consist of branded, prepackaged cut-up and whole chicken, and chicken parts. The Company serves its consumer products under the Gold Kist, County Post, Pierce Chicken, Pilgrim’s Pride and Pilgrim’s brands. Through JBS USA Holdings, Inc., the Company’s international distribution channel is focused on value-added products, such as all-vegetable-fed whole griller birds, chicken franks and further processed thigh meat. The Company’s other products include chicken by-products, which the Company converts into protein products and serves to manufacturers of pet foods. The Company’s United States feed mills produce and sell various livestock feeds to local dairy farmers and livestock producers. The Company offers its chicken products to wholesalers, restaurant chains, fast food accounts and supermarket chains, and also engages in direct retail distribution in various markets.
- [By Ben Levisohn]
BMO Capital Markets analysts Kenneth Zaslow and Patrick Chen took a look at the valuations of Tyson Foods (TSN) and Pilgrim’s Pride (PPC) and decided they were afraid of heights. They explain why they cut Tyson Foods to Market Perform from Outperform…
Top 10 Media Stocks To Buy For 2016: Safeway Inc.(SWY)
Safeway Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a food and drug retailer in North America. The company operates stores that provide an array of grocery items, food, and general merchandise, as well as features specialty departments, such as bakery, delicatessen, floral, and pharmacy, as well as coffee shops and fuel centers. It also offers SELECT line of products that include baked goods, sparkling ciders and lemonades, salsas, whole bean coffees, frozen pizzas and entrees, and fresh and dry pastas and sauces, as well as an array of ice creams, hors d’oeuvres, and desserts; O ORGANICS line, which comprises milk, chicken, salads, juices, and entrees; Lucerne line of dairy products; Eating Right line of better-for-you products; Bright Green line of home care products; Total Pet Care line of pet foods and pet care products; and Value Red line of value-priced paper goods. As of December 31, 2009, Safeway operated approximately 1,725 stores in California, Oregon, Wash ington, Alaska, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, the Chicago metropolitan area, and the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba/Saskatchewan. In addition, the company owns and operates GroceryWorks.com Operating Company, LLC, an online grocery channel, doing business under the names Safeway.com, Vons.com, and Genuardis.com; and Blackhawk Network Holdings, Inc., which provides third-party gift cards, prepaid cards, telecom cards, and sports and entertainment cards to North American retailers for sale to retail customers. Additionally, it engages in gift card businesses in the United Kingdom, France, Mexico, and Australia. Further, the company, through a 49% ownership interest in Casa Ley, S.A. de C.V. operates 156 food and general merchandise stores in Western Mexico. The company was formerly known as Safeway Stores, Incorporated and changed its name to Safeway Inc. in February 1990. Safeway was founded in 1915 and is based in Pleasanton, California. Advisors’ Opinion:
- [By Lu Wang]
Safeway Inc. (SWY) advanced 6.1 percent after Credit Suisse Group AG raised its recommendation for the shares. Intel Corp. gained 3.6 percent after Jefferies Group LLC upgraded the stock. GameStop Corp. surged 6.1 percent as U.S. video-game sales saw the first monthly rise 2011, a research group said. Peabody Energy Corp. dropped 3.2 percent as the Environmental Protection Agency revises proposed rules for new power plants.
- [By Paul Ausick]
Stocks on the move: Galena Biopharma Inc. (NASDAQ: GALE) is down 15.4% at $1.93 after pricing a secondary offering of 17.5 million units at $2.00. Safeway Inc. (NYSE: SWY) is up 6.1% at $28.21, after an analysts upgrade which sent shares to a new 52-week high of $28.88 earlier. Avanir Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: AVNR) is down 18.2% at $4.08.
- [By Matthew Smith]
In our article on September 16th (located here) we said we were still bullish the grocers and thought that Safeway (SWY) would continue to be a winner along with the industry. Apparently, we were not alone in that thinking as the company announced yesterday that they were putting in place a poison pill which will be good for one year in order to keep anyone from building a stake larger than 10% in the company. The move was prompted by Jana Partners taking a 6.2% stake in the company and the hope of management is that this one-year period will either cool the heels of Jana or allow the two parties to work together rather than going hostile. We personally dislike poison pills, but in this case, it should not be seen as a negative as we doubt anyone was considering assembling a stake at or above that 10% level. Investors cheered the news and sent shares higher by $2.75 (9.74%) to close at $30.99/share on extremely heavy volume of 29.8 million shares.
- [By Teresa Rivas]
Safeway (SWY) was up nearly 4% after an upgrade to Outperform at Credit Suisse, which also upgraded lululemon (LULU), sending shares up 1%, and downgraded Under Armour (UA)shares were down 1.6%.
Top 10 Media Stocks To Buy For 2016: Imprivata, Inc.(IMPR)
Imprivata, Inc. provides information technology security and identity solutions to the healthcare industry in the United States, the United Kingdom, and internationally. Its security and identity platform provides authentication management, fast access to patient information, secure communication, and positive patient identification products to address critical security and compliance challenges faced by healthcare organizations. The company principally offers Imprivata OneSign, an integrated enterprise single sign-on, authentication management, and workflow automation platform that enables secure access and workflow optimization to workstations and applications. It also provides Imprivata Cortext, a cloud-supported secure communications platform that provides healthcare organizations and healthcare providers with secure SMS texting and messaging capabilities in compliance with applicable data privacy and security regulations. In addition, the company offers Imprivata Confirm ID that simplifies provider identity proofing, enables supervised enrollment, and enforces two factor authentication requirements, as well as integrates with electronic health record systems and offers multiple drug enforcement administration-approved two-factor authentication options for prescription signing. Further, it provides Imprivata PatientSecure, a software-based positive patient identification solution, which helps improve patient safety, revenue cycle efficiency, and patient experience by reducing duplicate medical records and overlays, as well as helps reduce the risk of identity theft and insurance fraud. Additionally, the company offers professional, customer support and education, and customer advocacy services. Imprivata, Inc. was incorporated in 2001 and is headquartered in Lexington, Massachusetts.
- [By Lisa Levin]
Shares of Imprivata Inc (NYSE: IMPR) got a boost, shooting up 31 percent to $19.01 as the company reached a definitive deal to be bought by an affiliate of Thoma Bravo, LLC, a private equity firm, for $544 million
Top 10 Media Stocks To Buy For 2016: Ascent Capital Group, Inc.(ASCMA)
Ascent Capital Group, Inc., through its subsidiary, Monitronics International, Inc., provides security alarm monitoring and related services to residential and business subscribers in the United States and Canada. The company monitors signals arising from burglaries, fires, medical alerts, and other events through security systems at subscribers premises. It offers a range of residential security services, including hands-free two-way interactive voice communication with the monitoring center, cellular options, and an interactive service option, which allows the customer to control their security system remotely using a computer or mobile device. The company also provides third party contract monitoring services to other security alarm companies for monitoring their accounts on a wholesale basis. It markets and sells its products through a network of authorized dealers. The company was formerly known as Ascent Media Corporat ion and changed its name to Ascent Capital Group, Inc. in July 2011. Ascent Capital Group, Inc. was incorporated in 2008 and is based in Greenwood Village, Colorado.
- [By Ian Wyatt, Publisher & Chief Investment Strategist, Wyatt Investment Research]
Both of these stocks are overlooked, undervalued, and cash flow machines. The companies are Ascent Capital Group (ASCMA) and Covanta Holdings (CVA).
Top 10 Media Stocks To Buy For 2016: Liberty Global plc(LBTYA)
Liberty Global plc (Liberty), incorporated on January 29, 2013, is an international cable company with operations in 14 countries. The Company connects people to the digital world and enables them to discover and experience its endless possibilities. Its products are provided through next-generation networks and technology platforms that connect 27 million customers subscribing to 57 million television, broadband Internet and telephony services. In addition, the Company served five million mobile subscribers and offered WiFi service across six million access points. Its consumer brands include Virgin Media, Ziggo, Unitymedia, Telenet, UPC, VTR, and Liberty Cablevision. Its operations also include Liberty Global Business Services and Liberty Global Ventures.
The Company offers various broadband services over its cable distribution systems, including video, broadband Internet and fixed-line telephony and, in certain of its operations, the Company offers mobile s ervices. The Company also offers triple-play, which includes services, such as digital video, Internet and fixed-line telephony in a subscription. The Company also offers video services through DIRECT TO HOME (DTH) or through multichannel multipoint (microwave) distribution systems (MMDS). Liberty Globals consumer brands include Virgin Media, Ziggo, Unitymedia, Telenet, UPC Cablecom, UPC, VTR and in Puerto Rico, Liberty. In terms of video subscribers, the Company operates a cable network in each of Austria, Belgium, Chile, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Puerto Rico, Slovakia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Germany and Romania. The Companys cable operations offer a range of video services, including basic and premium programming, which can be viewed on the television (TV) and in select markets, through Internet connected devices in the home and whenever there is Internet connectivity. Liberty Global also provides service offerings, such as an electronic programming guide, high definition (HD) ch! annels, digital video recorders (DVR) and HD DVR.
The Companys service offerings also include video-on-demand (VoD) and next generation set-top boxes, such as the multimedia home gateway Horizon TV or the TiVo service offered by Virgin Media in the United Kingdom. Its services, together with DVR and HD DVR functionality, give its customers to control when they watch their programming. Liberty Global also offers pay-per-view programming on channels it distributes and through VoD. The Company also offers select programming in three-dimensional (3D) format to its customers who have three-dimensional capable televisions. The Companys various operations offer television applications that allow access to programming on various devices, including laptops, smartphones and tablets. The Company offers basic digital television channels in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Romania, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary. The Company also offers expanded channel packages and premium channels and services. The Company also offers a common interface plus (CI+) module to access its encrypted digital services. A CI+ module is a small device (credit card size) that allows customers with a CI+ enabled television set, who subscribe to, or otherwise have access to, its digital video service, to view such services without a set-top box.
The Company also offers up gradation to one of its extended digital tier services and receive various video channels, including the channels in the basic tier service. A limited number of HD channels are included in its basic tiers of service. The Company also allows digital subscribers to subscribe to one or more packages of premium channels, including additional HD channels. In digital tiers of service, the Company allows a subscriber to upgrade the standard digital device to one with DVR or HD DVR capabilities, which may be rented or purchased. The Company provides a VoD enabled set-to p box for the customers who subscribe to a digital tier. The! Company ! also offers VoD services, including catch-up television, on a subscription basis or a transaction basis, depending on location and the tier of digital service selected by the subscriber. Liberty Global offers analog services in its broadband markets, except in the United Kingdom and in Puerto Rico. Subscribers to its analog video service receive 21 to 67 channels of video service. In Ireland and Slovakia, the Company offers various video channels through multichannel multipoint (microwave) distribution systems (MMDS).
The Companys channel offerings include entertainment, sports, movies, documentaries, lifestyles, news, adult, children and ethnic and foreign channels. It also offers various premium channel packages, such as sports, family and international focus, and its VoD service provides various movies and special events. Liberty Global offers digital video services through DTH satellite in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. It offers these services through UPC DTH S.a.r.l (UPC DTH), a subsidiary of UPC Holding, which also provides these services in Romania with FocusSat Romania Srl (FocusSat). The Company offers a basic video tier of services. The Company, through its interactive services, offers Horizon TV, which is a multimedia home gateway, in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, Poland and the Czech Republic. Horizon TV is a media platform, which allows distribution of video, voice and data content in the home and multiple devices. Horizon TV has a user interface that enables customers to view channels, VoD programming and personal media content and to pause, replay and record programming. Horizon TV also integrates access to personal media content, such as photos, music and movies stored in the home network. Horizon TV also allows recording till approximately four programs simultaneously and to connect till over four devices at the same time and view different content.
The Compan y offers applications for various online services, such as Y! ouTube, F! acebook and Picasa. The Horizon family of products also includes an online television application for viewing on a second screen, Horizon Go, which allows video customers to view linear channels. Horizon Go also offers access to VoD and, for Horizon TV customers, the second screen devices also acts as a remote control. The Company, through Horizon Go, allows remotely scheduling the recording of a television program on the Horizon TV box at home through an iPhone operating system (iOS) or Android mobile digital device or an Internet Web browser. The Company offers digital video experiences through the TiVo platform in the United Kingdom. The TiVo boxes provide converged television and broadband Internet capabilities. The Company also offers MyPrime, which is a subscription VoD offering. MyPrime offers customers streaming access to a library of on-demand content. Liberty Global offers various ranges of broadband Internet service in its broadband communications market. Its serv ice includes download speeds ranging from less than one megabit per second (Mbps) to an ultra high-speed Internet service of 500 Mbps in Hungary and Romania. Its Internet service includes e-mail, address book and parental controls. The Company also offers broadband services through its operations, which include security, such as anti-virus and spam protection, and online storage and Web spaces. The Company also offers mobile broadband services.
The Companys residential subscribers access the Internet through cable modems connected to their Internet capable devices, including personal computers, at various speeds depending on the range of service selected. The Company offers a community wireless fidelity (WiFi) in the home (Community WiFi). The Company offers Community WiFi under the brand Wi-Free in Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Ireland, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Romania, and as WifiSpots in the Netherlands. The Company has approximately 6.1 millio n access points in its European footprint. The Company offer! s telepho! ny services through its voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP) technology in its broadband communication markets. In the United Kingdom, Chile and Hungary, the Company also provides circuit-switched fixed-line telephony services. The Company allows selecting its fixed-line telephony service in its various tiers and in combination with one or more of its other services. The Companys fixed-line telephony service includes a fixed-line telephony product for line rental and various calling plans, which consist of unlimited network, national or international calling, off-peak calling and minute packages, including calls to fixed and mobile phones. It also offers value added services, such as a personal call manager, unified messaging and a second or third phone line. The Company also offers a phone application that allows its fixed-line telephony customers with smartphones to use their fixed-line call packages.
Liberty Global offers mobile services, both data and voic e, as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Poland, Austria, Chile and Hungary. In the United Kingdom and Germany, it provides mobile telephony as light MVNOs. In these countries, the Company leases the core network, as well as the radio access network from a mobile network operator. The Company offers its mobile services in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Austria, Hungary and Chile. In the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland, the Company offers its mobile services to its customers who subscribe to at least one of its other products, such as video, broadband Internet or fixed-line telephony. The Companys mobile services include voice, short message service (SMS) and Internet or data access. The Company offers calling service, both within and out of network, with a charge or under a postpaid monthly service plan. The Companys mobile services are primarily on a postpaid basis with customers subscribi ng to services for periods ranging from activation for a SIM! -only con! tract to till approximately 24 months. In Belgium, the Company offers postpaid service without a minimum contract term. In the United Kingdom, it also offers a prepaid service, where the customers pay in advance for a pre-determined amount of airtime or data and generally have no minimum contract term.
European Operations Division
The Companys European Operations Division operates a cable network in the United Kingdom under the Virgin Media brand and cable, and MMDS networks in Ireland under the UPC brand (UPC Ireland). Both Virgin Medias and UPC Irelands video services include a range of digital interactive services, including VoD and a range of premium subscription-based and pay-per-view services. United Kingdom Virgin Media offers triple-play services consisting of video, Internet and fixed-line telephony in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Virgin Media also offers quadruple-play services that include mobile voice and data services as an MVNO through an arrangement with a mobile communications provider. The Companys Virgin Media also offers an Internet streaming video service, Virgin TV Anywhere, which allows its video customers to stream approximately 117 real-time video channels and watch VoD content in the United Kingdom. Virgin Media also offers the multimedia home gateway TiVo to its digital video customers. The Company offers recording of over three programs simultaneously when watching an existing recording. TiVo customers can also access television channels and manage their TiVo box with a laptop, smartphone or tablet. When in the home, these devices also act as a remote control for TiVo. It also offers a TiVo app for the Netflix video service that allows approximately five individual profiles on a single account.
The Companys Virgin Media offers its subscribers premium digital channels from Sky plc (Sky) and premium BT Sport channels. Virgin Media subscribers receiv e these channels through a smart card on Virgin Medias ne! twork as ! part of Virgin Medias services or for an incremental subscription fee. The Company also allows Virgin Media subscribers using TiVo to access Internet programming services and a Eurosport application. Virgin Media also offers mobile services and allows its customers accessing a network of public WiFi hotspots, including in the London underground train (Tube) stations. The Companys UPC Ireland offers its digital subscribers various premium channels, such as sports, movies, adult, ethnic and kids. UPC Irelands services include Horizon TV and. It also offers Horizon Go, giving access to linear channels and VoD programming. UPC Ireland provides broadband Internet download speed till approximately 240 Mbps. Liberty Globals Unitymedia KabelBW offers its subscribers premium video channels from Sky Deutschland. It offers VoD to its digital video service on a pay-per-view basis and includes HD and 3D content. Unitymedia KabelBW also offers Horizon Go, which allows accessin g to over 100 linear channels of which 13 channels and VoD programming are accessed remotely. The Companys operations of the European Operations Division in the Netherlands are conducted by Ziggo under the Ziggo brand. Ziggos operations cover regional areas, including Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Maastricht.
The Company’s operations attributed to the LiLAC Group are located in Chile and Puerto Rico, where it offers a range of broadband services over its cable distribution systems, mobile services in Chile. The Company’s broadband distribution business and mobile services in Chile are conducted through subsidiary, VTR. The Company’s broadband telecommunications service in Puerto Rico is conducted through its subsidiary, Liberty Puerto Rico. VTR offers triple-play services consisting of video, broadband Internet and fixed-line telephony services in over 30 communities within Santiago and 40 communities outside San tiago, including Chiles cities, such as Iquique, Antofaga! sta, Conc! epcion, Vina del Mar, Valparaiso and Rancagua, and other cities across Chile. VTR obtains programming from the United States, Europe, Argentina and Mexico. VTR also carries domestic Chilean cable programming, which includes local events, such as football (soccer) matches and regional content. VTR offers a range of digital video services, including basic and premium packages. All digital video services are encrypted and require a set-top box provided by VTR. The premium channels include movies, sports, international and adult channels. VoD services, including catch-up television, are available on a subscription or a transaction basis, depending on location. VoD services include over 3,900 titles of on-demand content, including multi-screen features.
The Company competes with Sky, BT, Digi TV, Deutsche Telekom, M7 Group SA, DirecTV, Dish Network Corporation, TalkTalk Telecom Group plc (TalkTalk), Entel PCS Telecommunications SA, Everything Everywhere Limited, Voda fone Germany, Telefonica Germany Holding AG, Movistar, Claro, Orange Poland and Vectra S.A., Sunrise Communications AG, Telekom Austria, Swisscom, Proximus NV/SA, KPN, Tele2 Netherlands Holding N.V., United Internet AG, France Telecom S.A, Vodafone Ireland and Eircom Limited.
- [By Alex Webb]
Kabel Deutschland is a key part of Vodafones expansion strategy as the carrier looks for ways to boost revenue and lock in customers with Internet and television offers in addition to wireless service. Kabel Deutschland is the biggest cable company in Germany, Vodafones largest market, and had drawn a rival bid from John Malones Liberty Global Plc. (LBTYA)