Mergers & Acquisitions
Chomp, chomp… that’s the sound of ongoing consolidation in the digital video infrastructure market where Harmonic announced a $75 million deal to acquire Thomson Video Networks for $75 million in cash, plus $15 million in post-closing adjustments. The other chomp? IBM also announced it had acquired Clearleap for an undisclosed sum.
Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen has taken the satellite operator’s campaign against the proposed Charter-Time Warner Cable merger to a new level, this week slamming the deal at a gathering of top FCC staffers as one that could harm “degrade” or “destroy” online video competition, and again singled out his own OTT play, Sling TV, as a potential casualty if the merger is approved.
A pair of analyst firms see light at the end of the U.S. pay-TV industry’s subscriber woes.
Moffett Nathanson, in a research note, said improving subscriber metrics for Comcast, Charter and Charter acquisition target Time Warner Cable, suggest those three companies are doing better than the rest of the industry – notably telcos and satellite companies – and could expect to see market share gains in coming years, leveraging their broadband infrastructure investments.
The roll up in the digital video space continued today, with Cisco saying it was acquiring OTT TV app developer 1Mainstream, a privately held startup in Silicon Valley that offers a cloud-based video platform that helps digital content companies deliver their media assets to connected media devices like Apple TV to Microsoft Xbox
European cableco Altice says its acquisition of Cablevision will enhance competition and benefit the consumer, enabling the New York-based operator to innovate more and put it on an even footing with bigger players like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast, according to paperwork filed with the FCC.
The transfer application to the Federal Communications Commission is an early step towards allowing Altice’s $17.7 billion bid for Cablevision to proceed.
It hasn’t reached the level of vitriol seen in Comcast’s aborted attempt to acquire Time Warner Cable, but opposition to Charter’s bid to acquire TWC is picking up as competitors, public interest groups, industry accosiations and vendors put pressure on the FCC to block the deal that would make Charter the second largest cable operator in the U.S.
NAB wants station ownership review first
The U.S. pay-TV industry is about to get a little more international as European telecom Altice says it’s reached an agreement to acquire Cablevision for $17.7 billion. If approved by regulators, Altice, which in May purchased a 70% stake in Suddenlink, the No. 7 operator in the U.S. market for $9.1 billion, will have the fourth largest pay-TV footprint in the U.S. market.
Following on the heels of Amazon’s acquisition of Elemental Technologies last week, another encoding company – Envivio -- has been snapped up, this time by Ericsson, which has been busily building its digital TV portfolio over the past several years.
While mobile video viewing has continued to accelerate as Millennials and younger viewers move most of their viewing time off the big screen, mobile advertising spend has failed to keep pace, something highlighted by Mary Meeker in her annual “State of the Internet” report earlier this year.
More consolidation in the digital video space as start-up video processing specialist Elemental Technologies today announced it was being acquired by Amazon Web Services.
The deal is expected to close in Q4 and, while no financial details were released, published reports say the price likely was in the $500 million range.
A little quick housekeeping… Charter Communications has closed on $3.8 billion in loans it needs to help finance its purchase of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.
The loans mature in 2021 and carry rates of Libor plus 250 basis points a 75 basis point floor for the $1 billion note, and Libor plus 275 basis points with a 75 basis point floor for the $2.8 billion note.
The consolidation of the TV ad tech industry continues unabated, with Cross MediaWorks announcing today it had acquired BlackArrow, which provides software solutions to help pay-TV providers deliver ads and audience insights across multiple screens.
The dynamic ad insertion specialist has a number of the biggest pay-TV providers as customers, including Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Charter Communications, Bright House Networks, Rogers Communications, Liberty Global and Virgin Media.