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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Amazon.com, Apple, Google, Netflix and DFC Global

CHICAGO, April 4, 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 Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq:AMZN-Free Report), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report), Google (Nasdaq:GOOG-Free Report), Netflix (Nasdaq:NFLX-Free Report) and DFC Global Corp. (Nasdaq:DLLR-Free Report).

Zacks Investment Research, Inc., www.zacks.com

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

Amazon Launches Set-Top Box

Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq:AMZN-Free Report) released an Android-based Internet video-streaming set-top box named Fire TV. The device is a small flat black box and is available for sale immediately in the U.S. for $99. It also has a Bluetooth-enabled remote control.


Amazon eliminates the need for scrolling and typing to search content that is normally required on the existing media streaming devices. Users can simply speak their choice into the remote to enjoy the program. Therefore, Amazon believes that Fire TV is an all in one solution to all these problems.


Fire TV, which the online retailer claims to be three times as powerful as Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq:AAPL-Free Report) TV, is powered by Google's (Nasdaq:GOOG-Free Report) Android software and HTML 5. It can stream Internet video to a high-definition (HD) TV. The device consists of a quad-core processor, 2 GB RAM and a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). This means that the box can be used for gaming purposes as well.


Moreover, Fire TV is integrated with the ASAP feature that predicts what the user wants to watch and stream it immediately. The Bluetooth-based remote, which looks like a blend of the Apple TV remote and Boxee's remote, will allow users to stream videos from Amazon Instant Video service, Hulu Plus, Netflix (Nasdaq:NFLX-Free Report), YouTube and Crackle. It will also enable music streaming through Pandora, iHeartRadio and Vevo. Moreover, users can download movies, videos, TV shows and apps.


The video-streaming box serves the purpose of a gaming console. Amazon has offered a separate game-controller called Fire game-controller. It would cost $39 additionally. Games like Anomaly 2, Asphalt 8 and Minecraft from Amazon's own Game Studio will be available for an average price of $1.85.


The new product offering will help to grow Amazon's video sales and attract new users. Furthermore, the breadth of content and sensible pricing strategy will immediately place the online retailer in the same league as Apple TV and Roku.


Currently Amazon carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Lone Star to Buy DFC Global

DFC Global Corp. (Nasdaq:DLLR-Free Report) will be taken over by an affiliate of Lone Star Funds for $1.3 billion. Following the announcement, shares of the diversified financial service provider increased 5.23% to close at $9.45 yesterday.


Though DFC Global's board of directors approves the buyout, it requires the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the outstanding shares. The approval will be sought at a special meeting of stockholders. The acquisition is expected to see light in the third quarter of the current year. Following the closing of the deal, DFC Global will become a privately held company.


The purchase consideration of $1.3 billion, which includes assumption net debt, translates into $9.50 in cash for each share of DFC Global's common stock. The purchase price per share represents a 5.8% premium on the closing price on April 1, 2014, and a 12.3% premium to DFC Global's 30-day volume weighted average stock price for the period ended April 1, 2014.


Formerly known as Dollar Financial Corporation, DFC Global was founded in 1990 and is headquartered in Berwyn, PA. DFC Global provides a range of consumer financial products and services to under-banked consumers. DFC Global had a network of 1,532 stores (of which 1,522 are company-owned) located in the U.S., Canada, UK, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Spain, Poland and the Czech Republic.


The acquisition comes with immediate cash value to DFC Global's shareholders. DF Global expects to capitalize on Lone Star's broad-based financial and retail expertise to provide enhanced service to its customers.

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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.

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