EmptyClear Channel upgrade
Sanders Morris Harris analyst David Miller on Monday upgraded his rating on Clear Channel Communications from "neutral" to "buy," arguing that a planned private-equity buyout is likely to be completed by the end of March. He has a price target of $39.20 on the stock. The private-equity buyers are Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners, which also owns part of the Nielsen Co., parent company of The Hollywood Reporter. However, Clear Channel shares have been under pressure as of late amid concerns that the deal might not happen because of the continued credit crunch.
IAC slides on downgrade
Shares of Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp declined Monday after Stifel Nicolaus & Co. analyst Scott Devitt cut his rating from "buy" to "hold," saying the company's fate is unclear amid current litigation with part owner Liberty Media. The stock closed down 2% at $25.72. Devitt said in a report that IAC is starting to look like Cendant, a Web conglomerate whose breakup resulted in "very little return for shareholders." He also argued that Diller "tries to protect a legacy" and that the stock would deserve a "buy" rating if Liberty prevails in court.