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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Dell, AT&T, Verizon Communications, IBM and Microsoft

Zacks Equity Research

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – June 20, 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 Dell Inc. (DELL-Free Report), AT&T Inc. (T-Free Report), Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ-Free Report), IBM Corp. (IBM-Free Report) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT-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:

Icahn Gives Dell Share Buyback Offer

There has been a development in the battle over Dell Inc. (DELL-Free Report) between Michael Dell and Carl Icahn. The Dell Special Committee has received a fresh proposal from the billionaire investor, wherein he suggested that Dell shareholders sell all their shares to Dell for a sum totaling $16 billion.

This is a fresh move made by Icahn. In a month’s time, Dell shareholders will vote for or against the $24.4 billion ($13.65 a share) bid made by Michael Dell and private equity firm Silver Lake; Icahn needs to act before that.

Icahn is campaigning against the offer made by Michael Dell, saying that the shares were being undervalued. Some newly appointed directors would  bring about a more favorable outcome for shareholders. The new board would approve of Dell buying back shares at the rate of $14 a share, higher than the current bidding price of $13.65 offered by Dell and Silver Lake.

Previously, in March, after Dell announced its intention to go private, Icahn offered a counter bid. While Icahn offered to pay the investors $12 a share in cash or stock, he also allowed the shareholders to hold to their share of the company. After evaluating the deal, Dell’s board came to the conclusion that Icahn’s offer would result in a $3.9 billion funding gap, reducing the dividend figure to $10 a share from $12 per share, which in turn would give rise to liquidity issues for the company.

Dell’s attempt to go private is seeing a number of challenges with Michael Dell – Carl Icahn conflicts, resulting in significant delays and uncertainties. However, the possibility of a higher return to shareholders has kept prices buoyant.

Dell has been hard-hit by the slowdown in the PC market. Moreover, the company is up against cutthroat competition, low business growth in Europe and a restricted spending environment. The competition faced by the company in the Small & Medium Business (SMB) and server segments is also a concern. This is the main reason that founder Michael Dell sought to reinvent the company.

Dell carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

AT&T, Opus in Service Deal


U.S. telecommunication giant AT&T Inc. (T-Free Report) has struck a deal with New Zealand based Opus International Consultants to render global networking services.

Through the three-year agreement, AT&T’s technological support will connect Opus’ workforce covering 2,500 staff at 76 offices across five countries under one virtual roof. The security services and network acceleration technology of AT&T – the second largest provider of wireless services in North America after Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ
-Free Report) – will also be utilized by the latter to safeguard clients’ data, while providing speedier Internet.

Opus – a leading management and infrastructure consulting firm – has been strategically expanding its business base in phases. Phase One – which was completed in early 2013 – witnessed managed network deployment uniting employees in 58 Opus offices across New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The next phase will see 32 work stations in Canada, Australia and the U.S. being interlinked. This phase is slated to be completed in Jul 2013.

This agreement will enable Opus to roll out several new applications and services to customers using a steady, reliable and protected platform. AT&T's global network will likely be the biggest support system for Opus for executing various transactions.

We believe AT&T – which enjoys strong momentum in both wireline and wireless businesses – has been steadily collaborating with several overseas companies to strengthen its presence in foreign lands. Within the nation, the carrier is constantly making efforts to expand its operational wings.

In recent times, AT&T signed an agreement with IBM Corp. (IBM
-Free Report) to develop a new eCommerce solution that provides an online shopping services platform via mobile application or in-store.

AT&T – which shares business tie-ups with companies like Microsoft Corp. (MSFT
-Free Report) and The Walt Disney Co. – currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).


Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.


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