The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS): Current price $61.69
A new deadline looms for Disney, which owns the most-expensive pay-TV channel in ESPN. The company must reach an agreement by September 30 deadline with DISH Network Corp., the number-two domestic satellite-TV provider and the negotiations cover the amount DISH pays for content, and whether it may put programs on mobile phones.
These matters might sound familiar — they are the same sticking points that caused the one-month blackout of CBS on Time Warner Cable systems, which was finally settled this week. CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves won notable price increases while retaining digital rights, while Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger especially is happy with its ownership of sports network ESPN, the latter considered an essential for pay-TV providers such as Dish, which are having trouble keeping expenses under control while online players like Netflix Inc. siphon off viewers.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ): Current price $46.35
Natalie Gordon, a Verizon shareholder, has brought a suit to stop the latter’s purchase of Vodafone Group Plc’s 45-percent interest in Verizon Wireless for $130 billion, in what is likely the first investor class action coming from the deal. Gordon claimed in her complaint that the deal is “insufficient and inadequate” to shareholders of Verizon and she seeks group status for the lawsuit on behalf of all affected shareholders.
In the complaint, filed Thursday in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Gordon said that, “Verizon shareholders are being shortchanged and their investment in Verizon will be diminished and diluted as a result of the stock purchase agreement.”
The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE:HD): Current price $73.40
Home Depot Chief Executive Frank Blake says that rising home prices in 2013 will ignite renovation spending, helping his company even as mounting mortgage rates apply pressure on the domestic housing recovery. In an interview at Bloomberg’s New York headquarters on Thursday, Blake observed that, “As we look into the back half of 2013, we continue to see the housing market improving — not a blistering pace but a steady, steady improvement.”
However, analysts forecast that rising borrowing costs will impact property sales, which in turn could slow demand for big-ticket items like refrigerators, jacuzzis, and granite counters at Home Depot, which is the country’s number-one home improvements retailer.