Ahead of the Bell: News Corp. upgraded

AP News
Posted: Dec 15, 2009 9:26 AM

A Deutsche Bank analyst upgraded News Corp. Tuesday, saying the media conglomerate's shares have been nearly flat for the past two months even as its rivals have improved and its outlook continues to get better.

Analyst Doug Mitchelson raised his rating to "Buy" from "Hold." He said the company's improving outlook includes a rebound in local advertising as well as a potential for a $500 million retransmission fee. Such fees are generally paid by cable companies like Comcast or Time Warner to TV station owners to carry their channels.

Mitchelson said he continues to have concerns about parts of the company's business, such as the social networking Web site MySpace, which has fallen behind rival Facebook, as well as the home video market maturing and troubles in the print industry.

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Even so, he said the stock "looks cheap" and recommended investors buy the shares.