Cablevision climbs on upgrade, price target hike

AP News
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Posted: Oct 22, 2012 10:17 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Cablevision Systems Corp. hit a 52-week high on Monday after one analyst upgraded the cable company and another raised his price target, predicting further stock price gains due to improving finances in 2013

THE SPARK: Canaccord analyst Thomas Eagan upgraded Cablevision to "Buy" from "Hold" and raised his target price to $23 from $18. He said he expects the company to raise its rates, which will translate to higher revenue next year. Meanwhile, Wunderlich Securities analyst Matthew Harrigan raised his price target on the stock, noting a lawsuit settlement with Dish Network that will include a $700 million cash payment to Cablevision and AMC Networks, which is also controlled by the Dolan family.

THE BIG PICTURE: Cablevision is the fifth-largest cable TV company in the U.S. Charles Dolan founded Cablevision in 1973 and is currently company chairman; his son James Dolan is president and CEO. A number of other Dolan family members work as Cablevision executives and serve on its board.

As part of the settlement, the AMC channel and other networks will be carried by Dish Network again. They had been blacked out by the satellite TV provider since July.

THE ANALYSIS: Harrigan said the settlement is a "nice win" for Cablevision, along with viewers of popular shows like "The Walking Dead" and "Breaking Bad." He raised his price target to $25 from $20 and kept a "Buy" rating on the stock.

Canaccord's Eagan sees the Dolan family trying to consolidate its hold on Cablevision. "Longer term, we believe it's likely that the Dolan family attempts again (for the third time) to take the company private," he said.

SHARE ACTION: Shares reached a 52-week high of $18.86 shortly after Monday's opening bell, before settling back to a gain of 7 cents at $18.46..The stock had previously traded between $10.76 and $18.54 in the past year.