The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: AT&T, Verizon Communications, Atlantic Tele-Network, Leap Wireless International and Smithfield Foods

Zacks

 
For Immediate Release
 
Chicago, IL – September 26, 2013 – 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 AT&T Inc. (T-Free Report), Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ-Free Report), Atlantic Tele-Network Inc. (ATNI-Free Report), Leap Wireless International Inc. (LEAP-Free Report) and Smithfield Foods, Inc. (SFD-Free Report).
 
Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

Here are highlights from Wednesday’s Analyst Blog:

AT&T Enters Global Wi-Fi Agreement

AT&T Inc. (T-Free Report) announced its collaboration with Global Wi-Fi Network provider, Fon for providing global Wi-Fi roaming facility to its customers. Per the new agreement, AT&T customers will be able to access Fon’s Wi-Fi hotspots while traveling internationally. In exchange, customers using Fon network can connect through over 30,000 AT&T hotspots across the U.S. The agreement covers smartphones, tablets and other Wi-Fi enabled devices.

The new agreement will benefit AT&T customers who are frequent overseas travelers and are charged heavily on data roaming facilities.  As a result, the new deal will not only help in retaining customers but will also attract new, high-value corporate customers  who would find the roaming-charge free data connectivity cost effective. Further, the new agreement entails a competitive advantage over rivals such as like Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ-Free Report).  

To carve a niche in a mature and highly competitive U.S. telecom market and to fortify its existing position, AT&T is taking several strategic steps. Recently, the company completed the acquisition of Alltel’s wireless operations from Atlantic Tele-Network Inc. (ATNI-Free Report) for $780 million and is heading toward another big budget takeover of Leap Wireless International Inc. (LEAP-Free Report) – for $1.2 billion. This deal is currently awaiting regulatory approval.

The company’s attempt to grow inorganically through various acquisitions is primarily due to the kind of pressure it is facing from intense competition and increasing market consolidation in the U.S. telecom industry. In the recent past, the acquisitions of Clearwire Corp. by Sprint and of MetroPCs by T-Mobile US, Inc.’s bear testimony to this theory. 

In a saturated U.S. wireless market, spectrum crunch has become a major issue. Most carriers are finding it increasingly difficult to manage mobile data traffic, which is growing by leaps and bounds. The situation has become even more acute with the growing popularity of iPhone and Android smartphones as well as rising online mobile video streaming, cloud computing and video conferencing services.

While these issues have created several headwinds for telecom operators, large carriers like AT&T are benefiting from the situation given their financial capabilities. On the one hand, the company’s is looking for a lucrative partnership to expand its services and infrastructure without heavy investments on the other hand it is acquiring companies with potential for growth that can also satisfy spectrum demand.  As a result, we foresee AT&T’s growth trajectory to remain consistent despite the macroeconomic subtlety and pricing pressure hurting its near-term financials.

AT&T currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Smithfield Shareholders Approve Merger

Overcoming safety concerns and a rigorous review process, shareholders of U.S. meat producer Smithfield Foods, Inc. (SFD-Free Report) have finally approved the company’s proposed merger deal with Hongkong-based Shuanghui International Holdings Limited. Smithfield shareholders unanimously approved the decision as more than 96% of the votes were cast in favor of the deal during a special meeting yesterday.

Per the deal signed on May 30, Shuanghui will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Smithfield for $34.00 per share, totaling $7.1 billion, including Smithfield’s debt. The deal is expected to close on Sep 26, after which Smithfield will not trade publicly and will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shuanghui. It will operate as Smithfield Foods. There will be no change in the company’s management team and all the employees of Smithfield will be retained.

The deal comes at a time when China is facing serious food safety issues, which also raised questions over this merger. U.S. regulators were concerned that the deal would jeopardize the American food supply chain and harm the entire U.S. pork industry as they did not find Shuanghui’s food safety practices in China acceptable.

However, Smithfield’s CEO had assured that the transaction will have no impact on the U.S. food supply and the company will continue to produce pork maintaining highest food safety standards and abiding by the U.S. regulations. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (:CFIUS) approved the proposed merger deal on Sep 6 after a 45-day review period in order to check the food safety standards.

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 T - FREE
Get the full Report on VZ - FREE
Get the full Report on ATNI - FREE
Get the full Report on LEAP - FREE
Get the full Report on SFD - 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
support@zacks.com
http://www.zacks.com
 
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.
Read the analyst report on TRead the analyst report on VZRead the analyst report on ATNIRead the analyst report on LEAPRead the analyst report on SFDZacks Investment Research

Rates

View Comments (0)