Netflix May Find No Business Like Show Business | Sidnaz Blog

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Anya Taylor-Joy and Thomas Brodie-Sangster in a scene from ’The Queen’s Gambit.’



Photo:

/Associated Press

It is as good a time as any for

Netflix

to test a new story line. Even a lucky turn in videogames won’t free the streaming giant from the need to keep playing Hollywood’s game, though.

Netflix used its second-quarter report Tuesday afternoon to confirm previously reported plans to enter the videogame business. No timing was given, though the company said the offerings would be included in its current subscription plans at no additional cost. The company isn’t backing away from its work on movies and TV shows, but said in its letter to shareholders “since we are nearly a decade into our push into original programming, we think the time is right to learn more about how our members value games.”

That news comes as Netflix remains mired in somewhat of a post-pandemic slump. It added 1.5 million net new paying subscribers in the second quarter, which was a bit better than it had forecast but still its lowest level of growth in nearly a decade. It also projected 3.5 million net adds for the third quarter—about 29% less than what Wall Street was hoping for. That would bring the total number of new subscribers to about nine million for the first nine months of 2021. Netflix added more than 28 million paying subscribers in the same period last year.

A foray into games might make sense for a company with an intimate knowledge of the viewing habits of a user base that now numbers over 209 million. It is also a tough business to crack—even the mobile gaming market that Netflix says it expects to target initially. There are many participants, but most of the money is still made by long-established properties. Games like “Candy Crush” and “Clash of Clans” remain in the top-five grossing charts even after nearly a decade on the market.

Netflix will need to keep battling it out for video streaming eyeballs. The company expects its pace of new releases to pick up in the second half of this year; analysts from Wedbush count 42 original shows and movies expected for the third quarter alone. But the company still has its own track record to compete with: Last fall included popular shows such as “The Queen’s Gambit,” “The Crown” and “Bridgerton.” Netflix shares are down nearly 2% this year, lagging behind many internet and entertainment peers. Streaming investors hyper-focused on subscriber growth aren’t playing games.

Write to Dan Gallagher at [email protected]

Copyright ©2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in the July 21, 2021, print edition.

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Zoom Video, Five9, Exxon, IBM: What to Watch When the Stock | Sidnaz Blog

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Global stocks are broadly lower, along with government-bond yields and commodity prices, amid renewed anxiety around the Delta variant of Covid-19 and inflation. Here’s what we’re watching ahead of Monday’s open. Full market wrap here.

A sign for Zoom Video Communications ahead of the company’s Nasdaq IPO in New York, April 18, 2019.



Photo:

Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

Chart of the Day

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Twitter’s Pulse Rests in Fleet | Sidnaz Blog

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Twitter’s tweet this week announcing Fleets’ imminent end racked up nearly half a million likes in a day.



Photo:

stephen lam/Reuters

Twitter


TWTR -0.81%

is about putting yourself out there. A select few fly, most get ignored and the unlucky get canceled.

This week, Twitter crashed and burned on its own platform. On Wednesday, the social-media company said in a blog post it was canceling Fleets, its ephemeral “story”-like feature popularized by competitors like

Snap Inc.’s


SNAP -1.69%

Snapchat,

Facebook


FB -0.79%

and Instagram. Internet banter abounded, inclusive of every imaginable pun comparing Twitter’s short-lived messages to their short-lived existence. Fleets were introduced just eight months ago, but Twitter said they failed to catch on as hoped.

Twitter portrayed the failure as one of its speculative bets that won’t always work out as it tries to best serve the public conversation. But for a company that aims to be the pulse of the people, it doesn’t seem to understand them so well. Twitter’s November tweet announcing Fleets’ rollout eventually received less than 75,000 likes. This week’s tweet announcing Fleets’ imminent end racked up nearly half a million in a day.

“Has any product sunset announcement ever received such a universally positive reception as Twitter Fleets”? Tweeted Casey Newton, editor of Platformer, a newsletter about the intersection of tech and Democracy, popular among the Silicon Valley crowd.

That tweet, Twitter’s users really liked.

Write to Laura Forman at [email protected]

Copyright ©2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8



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Blackstone, AIG, NortonLifeLock, Morgan Stanley: What to Watch | Sidnaz Blog

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Futures are mixed ahead of jobless figures and a second day of testimony from Federal Reserve Chairman

Jerome Powell

on Capitol Hill. S&P 500 contracts are down slightly. Nasdaq-100 futures are up, suggesting tech stocks will outperform.

Here’s what we’re watching ahead of Thursday’s trading action.

Prague-based Avast primarily makes free and premium security software, offering desktop and mobile-device protection.



Photo:

david w cerny/Reuters

  • Is the steam coming out of meme stocks?

    AMC Entertainment,


    AMC -15.04%

    one favorite of the Reddit trading crowd, lost 3.7% premarket. If matched once trading begins, the stock would extend a decline of 43% over the past month.

    GameStop


    GME -6.91%

    and

    BlackBerry


    BB -3.79%

    shares have both dropped by almost a quarter in that time.

  • Netflix


    NFLX 1.34%

    shares rose 2.6%. The streaming company, which reached a licensing deal over animated films with Universal this week, has been on a tear of late, gaining 11% for the month through Wednesday.

  • T. Rowe Price


    TROW -0.85%

    shares are up 2.6%. Analysts at Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley have raised their target prices for the stock in recent days. T. Rowe said this week it managed $1.62 trillion in assets at the end of June.

  • Supply-chain technology provider

    E2Open Parent


    ETWO -0.73%

    fell 1% after reporting a fall in profit and revenue in its fiscal first quarter from a year before.

Chart of the Day

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NortonLifeLock in Talks to Buy Avast | Sidnaz Blog

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Prague-based Avast primarily makes free and premium security software, offering desktop and mobile-device protection.



Photo:

david w cerny/Reuters

NortonLifeLock Inc.


NLOK -0.92%

is in talks to buy European cybersecurity firm

Avast

Plc, according to people familiar with the matter, in a deal that would expand the U.S. company’s focus on consumer software.

A deal could be finalized this month, assuming talks don’t fall apart, the people said. Avast has a market value of around £5.2 billion ($7.2 billion). Assuming a typical deal premium, the deal could value the cybersecurity firm at more than $8 billion.

Avast is based in Prague but trades in London. It primarily makes free and premium security software, offering desktop and mobile-device protection. Avast traces its roots back roughly 30 years to when founders

Pavel Baudiš

and

Eduard Kučera

established the company, then known as Alwil. It says on its website that it rebuffed an acquisition offer from rival McAfee in 1997, instead licensing its antivirus product to the company. It became Avast in 2010 and went public in London in 2018. In 2014, private-equity firm CVC Capital Partners took a significant minority stake.

Avast’s founders control roughly 35% of the shares and sit on its board.

The deal would be a big one for NortonLifeLock, which is based in Tempe, Ariz. With a market value of about $16 billion, the company was known as Symantec Corp. before it closed a $10.7 billion deal to sell its enterprise-security business to

Broadcom Inc.

in 2019. What is left mainly sells Norton antivirus software and LifeLock identity-theft-protection products to consumers.

The company had attracted takeover interest of its own a few years ago, but nothing has come of it.

Activist investor Starboard Value LP owns a roughly 3% stake in NortonLifeLock, according to FactSet, and holds a board seat. It first took the position in 2018.

Write to Cara Lombardo at [email protected] and Dana Cimilluca at [email protected]

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Broadcom Isn’t in a Buyer’s Market | Sidnaz Blog

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Broadcom typically aims to purchase undervalued companies, but undervalued software names are hard to come by lately.



Photo:

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Broadcom’s


AVGO -0.14%

pivot to software was never going to be easy, and it has grown only more difficult since that effort began.

Such is most evident in the company’s latest tack: The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Broadcom was in talks to buy privately held SAS Institute for as much as $20 billion. By late Tuesday, the deal was off—apparently due to a change of heart by SAS’s owners. Sources told the Journal that some employees expressed concern about how the perk-heavy culture at SAS would meld with a chip maker whose modus operandi is to squeeze out inefficiencies to maximize earnings. SAS’s owners reportedly distribute hundreds of pounds of free M&Ms across the company’s North Carolina campus every Wednesday.

Hyper-acquisitive Broadcom turned its sights to software in July 2018, when it announced a surprising deal to acquire CA Technologies for $18.9 billion. It has since picked up the enterprise security business of

Symantec

for $10.7 billion.

The CA deal came just four months after Broadcom lost its most ambitious chip gambit yet—a $117 billion hostile takeover bid for

Qualcomm

that was blocked by the Trump administration on national security grounds. That attempted deal became a tipping point in the semiconductor cold war between the U.S. and China, which in turn has made nearly impossible the type of large-scale chip deals Broadcom had come to rely on.

Rolling up software companies may not bring the same kind of political baggage. But it does have its challenges. Broadcom’s deal strategy has long centered on finding undervalued businesses that have strong market share within their categories, then maximizing the free cash flow of those acquired businesses.

But undervalued software names are hard to come by these days. The S&P 500 Software & Services Group’s average multiple has surged 45% over the past three years to nearly 33 times forward earnings, which itself represents a 37% premium to the average forward earnings multiple of the PHLX Semiconductor Index.

Going after a private company may have helped Broadcom on that score; analysts estimate the sales multiple Broadcom was offering for SAS was roughly on par with what it paid for CA and Symantec. But the prospect of talent flight is always a risk in picking up software companies, which have few other assets.

The loss of the deal now sends Broadcom back to the drawing board. It has been nearly two years since the Symantec deal, and Wall Street is getting anxious for the company to make its next move—or return excess cash in the form of a buyback. Broadcom investors need their candy as well.

Write to Dan Gallagher at [email protected]

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Broadcom No Longer in Talks to Buy SAS Institute, Sources Say | Sidnaz Blog

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Broadcom, a semiconductor powerhouse built largely through acquisitions, has been on the hunt for a deal to beef up its presence in the corporate-software market.



Photo:

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Talks for

Broadcom Inc.


AVGO -0.36%

to buy SAS Institute Inc. have ended after the founders of the closely held software company changed their mind about a sale, people familiar with the matter said.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the companies were discussing a deal that would value SAS in the range of $15 billion to $20 billion, including any debt. Following the report,

Jim Goodnight

and

John Sall,

who co-founded SAS decades ago and still run the company, had a change of heart and decided not to sell to Broadcom, the people said. Whether another suitor for SAS could emerge isn’t clear.

Some SAS employees saw the company as a strange fit for efficiency-focused Broadcom, some of the people familiar with the matter said. SAS is known for a tightknit culture and has a sprawling North Carolina campus with amenities including a yoga studio and a disc golf course.

Cary, N.C.-based SAS sells analytics-, business-intelligence and data-management software to enterprises. The company traces its roots back to the 1960s, when universities teamed up to analyze troves of agricultural data through a program called the Statistical Analysis System.

Broadcom, a semiconductor powerhouse built largely through acquisitions, has been on the hunt for a deal to beef up its presence in the corporate-software market. Its chief executive,

Hock Tan,

said earlier this year the company would look at buybacks and possibly debt repayment, if it didn’t make an acquisition by the end of the fiscal year. That typically ends in late October or early November.

Write to Cara Lombardo at [email protected]

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Virgin Galactic, PepsiCo, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs: What to | Sidnaz Blog

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Here’s what we’re watching ahead of the opening bell on Tuesday.

  • U.S. stock futures wavered, suggesting indexes would hover close to their record levels as investors awaited inflation data and earnings from the nation’s biggest banks.
  • Futures tied to the S&P 500 were relatively flat after the broad index climbed to its 39th record closing levels of the year. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures weakened 0.1%, while Nasdaq-100 futures were up 0.3%.
What’s Coming Up
Market Moves to Watch

JPMorgan Chase kicked off earnings season for big banks on Tuesday.



Photo:

Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg News

  • Conagra Brands


    CAG -0.53%

    declined 3.2% after reporting a fall in sales and cutting its expectations for profit next year, saying that it expects increased inflation to hit its bottom line.

  • PepsiCo


    PEP 0.02%

    shares added some fizz, rising 1.5% premarket after the food-and-beverage giant reported earnings and lifted its full-year guidance.

  • Tesla


    TSLA 4.38%

    edged up 1% in premarket trading, rising for the fourth consecutive day. CEO Elon Musk was in court on Monday to defend the purchase of SolarCity. He also said he doesn’t enjoy leading the automaker.

  • Boeing retreated 2.3%. The planemaker is facing production issues for the 787 Dreamliner, likely further delaying deliveries of the popular wide-body jets.
  • Some U.S.-listed Chinese companies are recouping recent losses, with search engine

    Baidu


    BIDU -0.53%

    adding 2.2%, e-commerce company

    JD.com


    JD -0.53%

    rising 1.5% and video-sharing firm

    Bilibili


    BILI 0.22%

    up 3.2%. Beijing said last week that it is probing tech companies’ data practices, prompting a tumble. But some of those worries may have eased after China’s top market watchdog approved

    Tencent’s


    TCEHY -3.36%

    plan to privatize search-engine affiliate

    Sogou.

  • Swedish telecom

    Ericsson

    ‘s U.S.-listed shares are up 3.5% ahead of the bell. Rating agency Moody’s issued a review of the company’s rating.

  • Meme stock

    AMC Entertainment

    slid 3.8% premarket. It has lost nearly 25% of its value this month so far.

Market Facts
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite all hit record closes on Monday—and in the S&P 500’s case, it was the 39th record close this year, beating the Dow’s 27 records and the Nasdaq’s 24. The broad index is ahead of the others in terms of gains this year too, with a nearly 17% rise.
  • European stocks have also been on the rise, with both the Stoxx Europe 600 and Germany’s DAX index notching record highs on Monday.
  • On this day in 1852, Wells, Fargo opened for business in San Francisco and Sacramento. It was founded by Henry Wells and William G. Fargo to convert gold dust into cash for miners, transport and safeguard letters, gold nuggets and other valuable byproducts of the California Gold Rush.
Chart of the Day
  • Global coffee prices are climbing and threatening to drive up costs at the breakfast table as the world’s biggest coffee producer, Brazil, faces one of its worst droughts in almost a century.
Must Reads Since You Went to Bed

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Virgin Galactic, Carnival, United Rentals, Bitcoin: What to Watch | Sidnaz Blog

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Futures are meandering near the flat line after Friday’s record close on Wall Street. Here’s what we’re watching ahead of Monday’s opening bell.

  • Futures for the S&P 500, which closed Friday at its 31st all-time high of the year, drifted between muted gains and losses. Contracts on the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged down 0.1%. Futures for the Nasdaq-100 ticked up 0.3%, pointing to modest gains for technology stocks.
  • Bitcoin is having a strong morning, rising more than 6%. Gold and oil were both slightly lower.
What’s Coming Up
  • The Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey for June is due at 10:30 a.m. ET.
  • Earnings are due from

    LiveXLive Media


    LIVX 2.93%

    after the close.

Market Movers to Watch
  • Carnival


    CCL 2.44%

    shares are down 1.6% premarket. The cruise operator last week said its loss for the second quarter narrowed, and the company’s chief executive said it is working to return its full fleet to operations by next spring.

    Royal Caribbean


    RCL 2.59%

    also slipped, by 1.1%.

  • Virgin Galactic


    SPCE 38.87%

    ‘s booster rockets are kicking in. Its shares are up more than 7% premarket, building on Friday’s 39% gain that came after the company got the go-ahead from U.S. authorities to start carrying paying passengers to the edge of space.

Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity was released from its mother ship, VMS Eve, on the way to its first spaceflight after launch from Spaceport America, New Mexico, May 22, 2021 .



Photo:

Reuters

  • Bitcoin wallet provider

    Coinbase


    COIN -2.34%

    Global was getting a boost from the cryptocurrency’s rise early Monday. Coinbase shares gained 1.8%. Bitcoin miners were gaining too, with

    Riot Blockchain


    RIOT -3.09%

    up 3.9% and

    Marathon Digital


    MARA -4.38%

    up 3.4%.

  • Boeing


    BA -0.87%

    shares lost some altitude, shedding 1.3% premarket. The Seattle Times reported over the weekend that the FAA told the plane maker an updated version of its 777 long-haul airliner is not ready for certification, and likely won’t be until late 2023.

  • United Rentals


    URI -1.21%

    edged up 0.5% premarket.

    UBS


    UBS 0.13%

    lifted its rating and price target for the equipment-rental company’s stock.

Market Facts
  • The New York Stock Exchange on Friday had its largest trading volume in more than three months, as more than 7.6 billion shares changed hands.
  • Trade Desk’s stock jumped 16%, leading a strong uptick among other so-called ad-tech players, after Google announced plans Thursday to delay its phaseout of third-party tracking cookies.
Chart of the Day
  • Broad gauges of market performance are surging together in a way few on Wall Street have ever seen, masking volatility under the surface.
Must Reads Since You Went to Bed

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