TCI Leads Cable Stock Resurgence

Shares in cable giant TCI were in demand on Wall Street Feb. 10 in another sign that cable stocks are coming back into favor, analysts said.

Investors pushed TCI stock up $1 to $23.50 on heavy volume after four analysts recommended purchase of the stock. The analysts’ recommendations followed a conference call Feb. 9 at which TCI execs reviewed the spinoffs announced a day earlier.

TCI said it plans to spin off its international businesses and its programming arm Liberty Media into separate companies. It plans to offer 20% of the international business for sale to the public, raising possibly $400 million-$500 million.

Paine Webber analyst Chris Dixon, who repeated his existing “attractive” rating on TCI stock on Feb. 10, said the spinoffs should help investors appreciate the value of the assets within TCI by making it easier to understand.

Dixon said TCI’s assets are worth between $30 and $35 a share but the stock has been discounted because it includes a mix of different assets. He said the spinoffs should eliminate the discount, pushing up TCI’s price.

Alan Gould, an analyst with Oppenheimer & Co., said he put a buy recommendation on the cable sector early last week, predicting the industry would return to “double-digit” cash flow growth later this year.

Gould also pointed to the growing potential of deregulation of the cable industry. He said TCI was helped by the spinoff announcement, and Feb. 10 he repeated his recommendation for TCI.

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