The entire entertainment sector is readjusting after AT&T got legal clearance to buy Time Warner and Comcast topped Disney’s bid for a key portion of Twenty-First Century Fox’s assets, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Thursday.
“The industry finally got a two-part catalyst: a federal judge who wants old media to have the firepower to compete with new media, … and Comcast, parent company of this network, has come up with a high bid for Fox that says everything else in the group, literally everything, may just be too cheap for buyers to ignore,” the “Mad Money” host said.
While he didn’t necessarily agree that companies like Amazon and Netflix — the “new media” — were spelling doom for more traditional players just yet, Cramer could see why Comcast announced almost immediately after the AT&T ruling.
By announcing its $65 billion bid so soon after the verdict, Comcast sent a signal to investors that what matters now in the Fox bidding war is money, Cramer said.
“I know that we never want to be caught thinking for a minute that Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google, now Alphabet, are cheap,” Cramer said. “But remember what I said yesterday: if the economy’s going to slow down from the Fed or a trade war, you want to own FANG and its accouterments because these companies don’t need a strong economy to deliver blowout numbers.”
While Shantanu Narayen doesn’t see his company, Adobe Systems, as a monopoly despite some Wall Street criticism, he does want it to offer the only true “end-to-end solution” for digital creators, the chairman and CEO told CNBC on Thursday.
“I think creativity will continue to be this incredible opportunity for us,” he said in an interview with Cramer. “Whether you’re doing high-end video for the mobile or for the silver screen, whether you’re doing augmented reality — immersive media, as we call it — we want Adobe to be the only company that has the end-to-end solution.”
Speaking after his company beat analysts’ second-quarter earnings estimates, Narayen emphasized the importance of artificial intelligence to Adobe’s future as a company.
For more on Narayen’s interview, click here.
Thor Industries’ warning about rising tariff-related costs in its third-quarter earnings report sent shares plunging to 2018 lows, but CEO Bob Martin told CNBC on Thursday that the company is finding ways to blunt the impact.
“We thought it’d be minimal,” the CEO admitted in a Thursday interview with Cramer. “Today, they’re still kind of all over the board and we’re just finding ways to kind of counteract them whenever we can.”
For Thor, the United States’ largest recreational vehicle manufacturer, that means cutting raw costs and “de-contenting,” or taking certain ancillary products and features out of its higher end RVs.
Thor’s stock has been under pressure since the Trump administration enacted steel and aluminum tariffs in May, which hike Thor’s costs by stymieing cheap imports.
Tien Tzuo, the founder, chairman and CEO of subscription-service enabler Zuora, started his newly public company to drive a new type of economy.
“There’s no reason you should have to buy anything,” he told Cramer in a Thursday interview. “If you’re not buying DVDs, if you’re not buying CDs, if you’re not buying software, why should you have to buy houses? Why should you have to buy cars?”
To Tzuo, whose software company came public in April, getting goods and services should be as easy as taking out your phone, pointing to a service and subscribing to it online.
“This is what you’re starting to see today,” he told Cramer. “I think Wall Street is starting to embrace the subscription-based business model. And, in fact, when they look at us, what they really liked about us given our customer base – and half our customers are outside the tech industry – is that an investment in us is an investment in this entire subscription economy.”
Cramer understands that no executives would want to admit on a conference call that their company is in bad shape.
“But is it too much to ask that they, you know, acknowledge the problems they’re having and show some recognition that something’s not up to snuff?” he wondered. “I’m not demanding that CEOs of troubled companies give us a mea culpa, beg for mercy [or] do some serious self-flagellation, replete with whips and chains; I just want some evidence that they’re living in the same universe as the rest of us.”
Cramer was especially disappointed after listening to H&R Block’s conference call, where everything seemed rosy until analysts questioned its weaker lines of business in the Q&A section and the stock fell nearly 20 percent.
“Look, I’m not expecting total 100 percent transparency from CEOs,” the “Mad Money” host said. “But when you start giving Baghdad Bob style conference calls, you’re going to hurt your credibility. That’s a real problem, yet it’s easily avoided by just saying, ‘Hey, things aren’t going so hot now, but just you wait, we’ve got a plan. You need patience but that patience will be rewarded.'”
In Cramer’s lightning round he zoomed through his callers’ favorite stocks:
Dexcom, Inc.: “You know we like that. We had [CEO] Kevin Sayer on. They have the best glucose monitor. By the way, we think there’s room for them and Abbott, but boy, is Dexcom on fire. I always felt that one day someone’s just going to go buy the company. It would not shock me. By the way, Medtronic – [that] wouldn’t be such a bad idea if you decide, ‘I want to win that segment.’ Just go do it.”
GW Pharmaceuticals PLC: “Look, it’s been red-hot. Everybody wants a legal pot play. That’s one. We’ve been talking about Canopy. That’s another. And let’s not forget that Constellation Brands, STZ, which is owned by my charitable trust, they have a 20 percent stake in Canopy. Any one of those, I think, is fine.”
Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC and CNBC.com. Additionally, Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Comcast, Amazon, Facebook, Alphabet, Abbott Laboratories and Constellation Brands.
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