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July 29, 2014
12:23 EDTCTL, T, FTR, VZ, S, WINWindstream REIT spin off plan provides jolt for stock, telecom sector
Shares of Windstream (WIN), which provides network communications services to businesses and residential consumers, are jumping after the company announced that it would spin off some of its assets into a real estate investment trust, or REIT. Two research firms had very different reactions to the move. WHAT'S NEW: Windstream said that it would spin of some of its assets, including its fiber and copper networks and other real estate, as a REIT. Expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year, the tax-free spinoff will enable Windstream to realize significant financial flexibility by lowering its debt by approximately $3.2B and increasing free cash flow to accelerate broadband investments, transition faster to an IP network and pursue additional growth opportunities, the company said. The REIT will be positioned to provide an attractive dividend to shareholders and grow revenue through lease escalation, capital investment and acquisitions, Windstream added. Windstream noted that the IRS had granted preliminary recognition of the tax-free nature of the spinoff and the qualification of the spun off assets for REIT status. The company said it expects to pay a dividend of 10c per share after the transaction, while the REIT will pay an annual dividend equivalent to 60c per share. REITs do not pay taxes on income that they distribute to unitholders. ANALYST REACTION: In a note to investors today, Oppenheimer analyst Timothy Horan said that the move would enable Windstream to avoid about $200M each year in potential taxes. The analyst noted that Windstream was cutting its overall dividend to 70c from $1, but he believes that the dividend has become much safer. Furthermore, the move is intelligent from a strategic, operational, and financial viewpoint, he believes. With its new structure, Windstream is worth at least $15 per share and could be worth as much as $18 per share, Horan estimated. The analyst kept a Perform rating on the stock. Much more skeptical about Windstream's move was Mike McCormack, an analyst at research firm Jefferies. The REIT spin-off is "an elegant way" for Windstream to cut its dividend, McCormack contended. The move does not change the company's fundamentals and calls into question the stock's valuation, as the portion of the company not spun off into the REIT appears to be a non-facilities based provider, the analyst wrote. As a result, Windstream's valuation is questionable, he contended. McCormack kept a $6 price target and Underperform rating on the shares. WHAT'S NOTABLE: Horan and McCormack both believe that other telecom companies with wireline businesses could follow Windstream's lead and spin off assets into a REIT. By obtaining a favorable preliminary ruling from the IRS, Windstream has already cleared the biggest hurdle to a REIT conversion, possibly setting the stage for other companies in the sector to follow suit, McCormack stated. If Windstream is able to carry out the spinoff, it means that every non-REIT communications and cloud company covered by Oppenheimer is now about 20% undervalued, wrote Horan. However, UBS analyst Scott Arwin does not expect large telecom companies like Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) to follow Windstream's lead, as he does not think the larger companies will want to open their networks to competitors at regulated rates. PRICE ACTION: In midday trading, Windstream rose 12% to $11.80. The stock was well off its high for the day of $13.30. Other stocks in the sector also rose, with Frontier Communications climbing 12% to $6.64, Century Link (CTL) advancing 4% to $39.15, AT&T (T) gaining 3.3% to $36.83, Verizon (VZ) rising 1.8% to $52.50 and Sprint (S) adding 1% to $7.75.
News For WIN;VZ;T;S;FTR;CTL From The Last 14 Days
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December 1, 2015
09:36 EDTTAT&T awarded 5-year BPA from GSA's Office of Fleet Management
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07:16 EDTWINWindstream upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
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November 30, 2015
19:14 EDTCTLCenturyLink loses top cloud executives amid heavy competition, Fortune says
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16:44 EDTWINWindstream upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform at Raymond James
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16:35 EDTTAT&T to raise price of grandfathered unlimited plans to $35 from $30, CNBC says
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07:03 EDTVZVerizon management to meet with Canaccord
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November 25, 2015
09:47 EDTTAT&T management to meet with Oppenheimer
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09:05 EDTST-Mobile offers extra $200 to customers switching from Sprint
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November 24, 2015
11:08 EDTTAT&T management to meet with Jefferies
Meetings to be held in Atlanta/Orlando/Tampa on November 30-December 1 hosted by Jefferies.
07:05 EDTCTLCenturyLink and Cogent sign agreement to connect their public IP networks
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05:51 EDTTAT&T implied volatility of 14 at lower end of index mean range
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November 23, 2015
13:34 EDTTAT&T, A+E Networks reach multi-year distribution agreement
AT&T (T) said in a statement: "AT&T and A+E Networks have signed a long-term, multi-platform distribution agreement, continuing their long-standing relationship. The new agreement delivers to AT&T terms that reflect its new scale and status as the largest pay TV provider in the world." The renewal includes a comprehensive deal that includes linear, TVE, VOD and mobility for the suite of A+E Networks' channels, among the top brands in the media landscape, including: A&E, Lifetime, HISTORY, LMN, FYI and HISTORY en Espanol. In addition, AT&T will launch VICELAND, replacing H2, as part of the A+E Networks' portfolio. A+E Networks said in a statement: "We have worked together with AT&T for many years and we are delighted that this renewal will allow us to do so well into the future. We are thrilled that AT&T's valued customers will be able to enjoy A+E Networks' award-winning portfolio of brands- including A&E, Lifetime, HISTORY, LMN, FYI and HISTORY en Espanol - across their multiple platforms, and that VICELAND's new 24-hour channel will be part of that offering." A+E Networks, LLC. is a joint venture of Disney-ABC Television Group (DIS) and Hearst Corporation.
05:58 EDTTAT&T implied volatility of 14 at lower end of index mean range
November 20, 2015
07:36 EDTSSprint lowers FY15 adjusted EBITDA view to $6.8B-$7.1B
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07:35 EDTSSprint signs $1.2B deal for sale and lease-back of certain leased devices
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07:33 EDTSSprint signs $1.2B deal for sale and lease-back of certain leased devices
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November 18, 2015
16:45 EDTSOn The Fly: Top stock stories for Wednesday
Stocks on Wall Street were higher from the opening bell onward despite housing starts data that was weaker than expected. Investors waited for the release of the FOMC minutes and saw what they had suspected; that the Fed was reinforcing its message that the December meeting is an option for the central bank to begin raising interest rates. The visibility on rates gave investors confidence, leading to a late-day rally that saw the averages close at their highs. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the minutes from the Fed's last FOMC meeting showed that most participants expect that rate hike conditions will be met by their December meeting. The Fed repeated its constant refrain, though, that the actual decision would depend on the implications for the medium-term outlook from recent economic data. Housing starts fell 11.0% to a 1.06M pace in October, weaker than the expected rate of 1.16M. Building permits, however, rose 4.1% to a 1.15M rate, versus an expected rise of 3.8%. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Target (TGT) fell 4.3% to $69.78 after the retailer reported in-line quarterly sales and profits and narrowed the range of its fiscal year earnings view. Target, which guided for same-store sales in the new quarter to be up 1%-2%, added that it sees "indications of heavy inventory levels" at some competitors into the holiday season... Shares of Apple (AAPL) climbed 3.17% to $117.29 after Goldman Sachs added the stock to its Conviction Buy List, predicting that investors should begin to focus on the company's monetization and recurring revenue opportunities over the next year, which would be a boon to its valuation... Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov downgraded Exxon Mobil to Underperform, the firm's equivalent to a "Sell" rating, saying he expects a modest oil recovery in 2016 but that Exxon's limited leverage to oil prices will act as a hindrance during a recovery. Despite Molchanov predicting Exxon shares to be a source of funds for investors turning more constructive on oil in 2016, the stock rose about 1% to $80.74 today amid a rally in oil prices. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Fairchild (FCS), which jumped $1.52, or 8.5%, to $19.40 after agreeing to be acquired for $20 per share by ON Semiconductor (ON), whose stock fell 7.9% to $9.89 after the news. Also higher were Canadian Pacific (CP) and Norfolk Southern (NSC), with the two railway operators advancing a respective 5.8% and 6.35% after Canadian submitted a bid to acquire Norfolk, though the latter immediately criticized the offer as "low-premium." Additionally, ConAgra (CAG) gained 4% to $40.93 after announcing plans to separate into two independent public companies. Among the noteworthy losers was Qualcomm (QCOM), which dropped $4.98, or 9.4%, to $48.00 after disclosing that Korea's Fair Trade Commission alleged the company does not "properly negotiate" aspects of its licenses and may be violating Korean competition law. Also lower was Sprint (S), which fell 9.3%, to $3.99 after announcing a 50% discount for new customers switching from competing wireless carriers. GoPro (GPRO) declined 5.1% to $19.81 after research firm Piper Jaffray noted that the company has been offering discounts on its cameras, including featuring them on "flash sale" sites, and cut its price target on the stock to $15 per share. INDEXES: The Dow rose 247.66, or 1.42%, to 17,737.16, the Nasdaq gained 89.19, or 1.79%, to 5,075.20, and the S&P 500 advanced 33.14, or 1.62%, to 2,083.58.
11:33 EDTS, VZ, TSprint announces launch of LTE Plus network
In celebration of the launch of its new LTE Plus network, Sprint (S) is introducing the biggest wireless offer in U.S. history - 50% off the price of most Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T) and T-Mobile (TMUS) rate plans, the company says. New customers can sign up for this offer nationwide Nov. 20 through Jan. 7, 2016. LTE Plus, available today in 77 major markets, takes advantage of Sprint's rich triband spectrum portfolio, and it uses some of the world's most advanced technologies in wireless, such as carrier aggregation and antenna beamforming. Customers who switch get 50 percent off most current rate plan prices from their current carrier. AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon customers switching to Sprint also can take advantage of iPhone Forever, where they are eligible to upgrade every time a new iPhone launches. Customers must port one line, and can add up to 9 additional lines on the account. Customers must choose from the 50 percent off rate plans available from their current carrier. Cricket and MetroPCS customers also can switch and save 50 percent off their parent company's postpaid rates. 50 percent off pricing remains valid until Jan. 8, 2018, for activations between Nov. 20, 2015, and Jan. 7, 2016.
November 17, 2015
16:21 EDTSSprint to hold a press conference with a conference call hookup
Sprint CEO Claure makes a major announcement and will answer questions from participating journalists at a Press Conference to be held on November 18 at 12:15 pm.

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