News Feed Item

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Sotheby's and Millennial Media

CHICAGO, Feb. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include the Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq:CMCSA-Free Report), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE:TWC-Free Report), Charter Communications Inc. (Nasdaq:CHTR-Free Report), Sotheby's (NYSE:BID-Free Report) and Millennial Media Inc. (NYSE:MM-Free Report).

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO)

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Comcast to Take Over Time Warner Cable

Confirming a long-standing rumor, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq:CMCSA-Free Report) has reached an agreement to acquire Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE:TWC-Free Report) for which the official announcement is yet to come. Notably, Comcast and Time Warner Cable are the largest and second largest cable MSOs (multi-service operator) in the U.S.

The deal is likely to be designed as an all-stock acquisition. Comcast will offer approximately $159 per share of Time Warner Cable, which amounts to a total consideration of around $45.2 billion. Each share of Time Warner Cable will be converted into 2.875 shares of Comcast.

After the completion of the deal, the existing Time Warner Cable shareholders will hold about 23% of the merged entity. The deal is expected to close within a year, subject to regulatory approval and approvals of the shareholders of the both companies.

Just a month ago,Charter Communications Inc. (Nasdaq:CHTR-Free Report) had offered $132.50 per share to acquire Time Warner Cable, amounting to a total consideration of approximately $37.3 billion. However, the board of directors of Time Warner Cable rejected the bid as insufficient as it valued its owned assets at around $160 per share. Comcast's present bid is very close to this expectation.

The merged entity will have around 33 million pay-TV (video), 32 million high-speed broadband (Internet) and 16 million telephony (voice) subscribers.

In 2013, the combined total revenue of these companies was approximately $86.8 billion and net profit was approximately $8.8 billion. Comcast is expected to derive a significant $1.5 billion of operating synergies from this merger of which 50% may be realized within the first year after merger.

The deal is expected to face tough scrutiny and close monitoring by the regulator, Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Although Comcast's and Time Warner Cable's operations overlap in very few U.S. markets, Comcast may assume near monopolistic power by installing better delivery mechanism, newly launched  innovative products and the bundled offerings of its NBC Universal division.

According to sources, Comcast has decided to divest around 3 million Time Warner Cable video subscribers to maintain its total market share at 30% of the U.S. pay-TV industry.

We believe if the deal finally crosses regulatory hurdles, it will be a win-win situation for both the companies. Time Warner Cable, together with most of the cable TV operators in the U.S., is getting marginalized gradually by fiber-based video offerings of telecom giants and online video streaming services by low-cost operators.

However, Comcast is the only one notable exception, which added video customers. Thus, a union with Comcast will definitely help Time Warner Cable to regain its lost ground.

Similarly, Comcast will benefit from geographic expansion, significant operating cost synergies, which will boost its bottom line and free cash flow, and a unique combination of triple-play (voice, video and data) delivery and high-quality content distribution mechanism.

Currently, Comcast carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) whereas Time Warner Cable has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Yellen Doesn't Surprise, But 2 Business Services Stocks Will

Undeterred by the turmoil in the emerging markets, continued softness in Europe and lesser-than-expected 113,000 job additions in January, Janet Yellen, the new Federal Reserve Chairwoman, vowed to maintain the modest tapering efforts of her predecessor with near-zero interest rates to spur economic growth.

That the economic recovery picked up steam in the latter half of 2013 with real GDP increasing at an average annual rate of over 3.5% in the third and fourth quarters, versus 1.75% in the first and second quarters was strong enough reason for the Fed Chief to validate that the economic hand-holding could be gradually eased. In addition, about 3.25 million jobs were reportedly added since the Fed began its monthly bond-buying program in Aug 2012, although the unemployment rate was yet to achieve the set threshold limit of 6.5%. Inflation had also remained low as both the headline and core personal consumption expenditure (PCE) price indexes rose only about 1% in 2013, which was well below the Fed's 2% long-term objective for inflation.

Amid these mixed market feelers, most companies in the Business Services industry would aim to hold their purse strings until at least a clearer picture of the economic policy unfurls. The primary growth drivers in this highly fragmented industry hinge on a healthy economy with decent job growth prospects, higher disposable income and new business initiatives. An ideal mix of services, effective marketing strategies and ability to retain and attract new customers serve the perfect recipe for profitability for most of these companies.

However, as the current market conditions remain highly unpredictable with a clouded economic scenario, most companies have curtailed their operating costs, reduced marketing expenses and have deferred new business initiatives. In spite of that, the Business Services sector is expected to outperform the overall equity markets with an earnings growth expectation of 10.7% in the fourth quarter versus 9.1% for the S&P 500 index.

Given the promising forecast, it might be a good idea to zero-in on a handful Business Services stocks that are poised to beat earnings estimates this quarter. An earnings surprise should help these stocks outperform in the near term.

How to Pick?

The Business Services sector covers an array of services that include marketing, consulting, staffing, security, telecommunications, Internet services, logistics and waste handling. In this motley crew of companies, picking the right stock for your portfolio could appear to be a daunting task. An easy way to narrow down the list is to look at stocks that have a solid Zacks Rank and a favorable Earnings ESP.

Earnings ESP is our proprietary methodology for determining which stocks have the best chances of a surprise in their next earnings announcement. The Earnings ESP shows the percentage difference between the Most Accurate Estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

The combination of a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), #2 (Buy) or #3 (Hold) and a positive Earnings ESP is usually a harbinger of an earnings beat. For investors seeking to benefit from this strategy, we have mentioned two Business Services stocks below matching these criteria. It can make them potential winners in this difficult earnings season.

Sotheby's (NYSE:BID-Free Report): Headquartered in New York, Sotheby's operates as an auctioneer of authentic fine art, decorative art, and jewelry across the globe. The company regularly conducts auctions in salesrooms around the world, including Australia, Hong Kong, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Singapore, New York and London.

The company anticipates a sharp 32.7% year-over-year rise in its fourth-quarter earnings. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $1.46. Analysts have revised their quarterly and full year estimates upward, which further support a solid earnings momentum for the company.

Sotheby's currently has a Zacks Rank #3 along with an Earning ESP of +4.8%. The company is expected to report fourth-quarter 2013 results on Feb 27.

Millennial Media Inc. (NYSE:MM-Free Report): Mobile advertising and data provider Millennial Media is headquartered in Baltimore, Md. Since its inception in 2006, the company has created a niche market through innovation and a diligent focus on mobile advertising platforms. The business model of the company hinges upon sophisticated data and technology, solid partnerships with global media and application developers across all operating systems, and healthy relationships with leading global brands.

Millennial Media currently has a Zacks Rank #2 along with an Earning ESP of +42.9%. The stock is trading at a forward PE of 134.8x and has a long-term earnings growth expectation of 30.0%. Millennial Media is expected to report its fourth-quarter 2013 results on Feb 19.

Moving Forward

As the U.S. stocks are finally looking for a smooth sail after a rocky start to the year, a sneak peek at the space for some possible winners backed by a solid Zacks Rank and a positive Zacks Earnings ESP could be a great idea for investors to gain from this earnings season. The party might just not be over for the U.S. equity markets at large and for the business services sector in particular.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

About Zacks Equity Research

Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.

Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.

Zacks "Profit from the Pros" e-mail newsletter provides highlights of the latest analysis from Zacks Equity Research. Subscribe to this free newsletter today.

About Zacks

Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978. The later formation of the Zacks Rank, a proprietary stock picking system; continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros.  In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros.


Get the full Report on CMCSA - FREE

Get the full Report on TWC - FREE

Get the full Report on CHTR - FREE

Get the full Report on BID - FREE

Get the full Report on MM - FREE

Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/zacksresearch

Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Zacks-Investment-Research/57553657748?ref=ts

Zacks Investment Research is under common control with affiliated entities (including a broker-dealer and an investment adviser), which may engage in transactions involving the foregoing securities for the clients of such affiliates.

Media Contact
Zacks Investment Research
800-767-3771 ext. 9339
[email protected]

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Traditional on-premises data centers have long been the domain of modern data platforms like Apache Hadoop, meaning companies who build their business on public cloud were challenged to run Big Data processing and analytics at scale. But recent advancements in Hadoop performance, security, and most importantly cloud-native integrations, are giving organizations the ability to truly gain value from all their data. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, David Tishgart, Director of Product Marketing ...
November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Penta Security is a leading vendor for data security solutions, including its encryption solution, D’Amo. By using FPE technology, D’Amo allows for the implementation of encryption technology to sensitive data fields without modification to schema in the database environment. With businesses having their data become increasingly more complicated in their mission-critical applications (such as ERP, CRM, HRM), continued ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Arch...
In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Robert Doyle, lead architect at eCube Systems, will examine the issues and need for an agile infrastructure and show the advantages of capturing developer knowledge in an exportable file for migration into production. He will introduce the use of NXTmonitor, a next-generation DevOps tool that captures application environments, dependencies and start/stop procedures in a portable configuration file with an easy-to-use GUI. In addition to captu...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, will draw together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established ...
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their online busine...
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudbric, a leading website security provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudbric is an elite full service website protection solution specifically designed for IT novices, entrepreneurs, and small and medium businesses. First launched in 2015, Cloudbric is based on the enterprise level Web Application Firewall by Penta Security Sys...
@DevOpsSummit has been named the ‘Top DevOps Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @DevOpsSummit ranked as the number one ‘DevOps Influencer' followed by @CloudExpo at third, and @MicroservicesE at 24th.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Roundee / LinearHub will exhibit at the WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LinearHub provides Roundee Service, a smart platform for enterprise video conferencing with enhanced features such as automatic recording and transcription service. Slack users can integrate Roundee to their team via Slack’s App Directory, and '/roundee' command lets your video conference ...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
Established in 1998, Calsoft is a leading software product engineering Services Company specializing in Storage, Networking, Virtualization and Cloud business verticals. Calsoft provides End-to-End Product Development, Quality Assurance Sustenance, Solution Engineering and Professional Services expertise to assist customers in achieving their product development and business goals. The company's deep domain knowledge of Storage, Virtualization, Networking and Cloud verticals helps in delivering ...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...