The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Liberty Global, Virgin Media, News Corp.,
TiVo and Kohl's
CHICAGO, Feb. 11, 2013
CHICAGO, Feb. 11, 2013 /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 Liberty Global Inc.
(Nasdaq:LBTYA), Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq:VMED), News Corp. (Nasdaq:NWSA),
TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq:TIVO) and Kohl's Corporation (NYSE:KSS).
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Here are highlights from Friday's Analyst Blog:
S&P Gives Positive View to Liberty Global
Rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) is keeping a positive outlook on media
conglomerate Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq:LBTYA) following its agreement to
acquire UK's leading cable multi service operator (MSO) Virgin Media Inc.
(Nasdaq:VMED) for an enterprise value of $23.3 billion.
The rating agency affirmed Liberty Global's ratings at B+, keeping the
company's debt four tiers below the investment grade. The company's rating
could improve by one notch as the S&P believes that the acquisition will
improve its asset portfolio and strengthen its cash flow generation.
Liberty Global will acquire 100% stake in Virgin Media in a cash and equity
deal. Per the deal, the former will pay $47.02 in cash, 0.2582 Liberty Global
Series A shares (totaling 86 million) and 0.1928 Liberty Global Series C
shares (totaling 65 million) to each Virgin Media shareholder.
At the end of the recently concluded quarter, Liberty Global has nearly $4.2
billion in cash and marketable securities in its balance sheet. However, the
company requires $5.9 billion in order to make cash payments to Virgin Media
shareholders. So the required amount will be financed through a combination of
debt financing and available liquidity of both Liberty Global and Virgin
The deal, which is expected to materialize by the end of the first half of
2013, will produce cost synergies of $180 million for Liberty Global apart
from helping the company to establish a strong foothold in the BSkyB dominated
BSkyB, which is partially owned by News Corp. (Nasdaq:NWSA), has 10.7 million
subscribers, compared with Virgin Media's 4.9 million. Moreover, the roll out
of Liberty Global's Horizon TV and Virgin Media's popular TiVo Inc.'s
(Nasdaq:TIVO) next-generation TV platform will drive subscriber growth going
forward. We believe that the successful integration of Virgin Media with
Liberty Global will create a dominant force in the highly lucrative UK pay-TV
market and improve the latter's growth prospects.
At the end of the previous quarter, Liberty Global had nearly $26.5 billion of
outstanding debt on its balance sheet. Following the deal, Liberty will have
to takeover Virgin Media's outstanding debt of $9 billion. This could act as a
deterrent for the improvement in Liberty Global's debt rating as its high
leverage position could significantly impact the company's future returns.
Currently, Liberty Global has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
Kohl's January Comps Up
Specialty department store Kohl's Corporation (NYSE:KSS) posted increase in
total sales and same-store sales results for the month of January compared
with the prior-year period, where all lines of business except Footwear
category achieved double-digit comparable store sales increases.
Excluding the sales for the fifth week of Jan 2013, Kohl's comparable store
sales increased 13.3% for the four-weeks ended Jan 26, 2013 versus a
same-store sales growth of just 0.6% in the four-week month ended Jan 28,
2012. Kohl's total sales, excluding the additional week of fiscal 2013,
increased 14.1% in the month of Jan 2013 to $1.13 billion compared with 2.4%
growth to $0.84 billion in the year-ago month. E-commerce sales also increased
59% over Jan 2012.
The January sales performance was impressive as the company was able to clear
out its seasonal merchandise last month. The company witnessed strong
performance in the Western region with a mid-teen increase in comparable store
sales, whereas the South Central region reported a low double-digit increase
in comparable store sales. All other regions reported mid-to-high single-digit
Where the company managed to clear out its merchandises in January, it could
not generate sufficient sales during the holiday season, as expected by the
company. Kohl's performance during the holiday season was impacted by
unfavorable weather conditions and lower consumer confidence, which forced
Kohl's to give more-than-expected discounts to its customers.
This was reflected in December comparable store sales, which were lower than
the company's expectations. Notably, the company's November sales were also
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