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CBS rallies as analysts applaud outdoor unit strategy

CBS (CBS) is climbing after the company announced last night that it would seek to convert its outdoor advertising operating segment in the Americas into a real estate investment trust, or REIT. The unit sells ads on billboard, in sports stadiums, and in a variety of other locations. Meanwhile, the company added that it would seek to sell its outdoor operations in Europe and Asia. A number of research analysts responded positively to the news. Wedbush analyst James Dix upgraded the stock to Outperform from Neutral and set a $50 price target on the shares, as he believes the conversion of the Outdoor Americas unit to a REIT could be worth at least $8 per share after tax. CBS should obtain about $200M after tax from selling its international outdoor unit, and the company should benefit from higher international TV syndication revenue, along with gains in retransmission and reverse compensation revenue, Dix wrote. Meanwhile, RBC Capital analyst David Bank raised his price target on the stock to $45 from $41. The company's initiatives involving its outdoor units could increase the stock's value by about $4 per share, wrote Bank. The stock could rise further as investors will be pleased by CBS' move away from advertising, he added. The analyst maintained a Top Pick rating on the stock, which jumped $4.27 or 11.25%, to $42.21.