Liberty Global (LBTYA) – Investment Analysts’ Weekly Ratings Changes

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Several brokerages have updated their recommendations and price targets on shares of Liberty Global (NASDAQ: LBTYA) in the last few weeks:

  • 4/4/2019 – Liberty Global had its “buy” rating reaffirmed by analysts at Pivotal Research. They now have a $32.00 price target on the stock. They wrote, “We tweaked our RGU and financial forecasts prior to the 1Q report that resulted in overall no material changes to our forecasts or our conservative $32 YE’19 target price. For 1Q, we are forecasting core (ex-announced deals) RGU’s of +41K (up +11K from our previous forecast on CEE), +0.6% 1Q rebased revenue growth (mismatched y/y U.K. price increase + difficult U.K. mobile handset comp) [+1.3% for ’19 exacerbated by Telenet loss of MVNO beginning in 2Q], flat rebased 1Q EBITDA growth (mainly already announced significant UK incremental tax hit running through on UK tax, artificially high UK programming costs and loss of MVNO at Telenet). In key market the U.K. we expect steady improvement in EBITDA results with 1Q being the low water mark (-1.5% to +0.7% in 4Q).””
  • 4/1/2019 – Liberty Global was downgraded by analysts at BidaskClub from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating.
  • 3/20/2019 – Liberty Global was upgraded by analysts at BidaskClub from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating.
  • 3/19/2019 – Liberty Global was downgraded by analysts at Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong sell” rating. According to Zacks, “Liberty suffers from continuing customer losses in the video segment. Additionally, decline in cable revenues and less than encouraging data subscriber addition doesn’t bode well for the stock. Liberty is also facing significant regulatory hurdles in Belgium, which is negatively impacting results. Further, stiff competition in Switzerland remains a major concern. However, launch of DOCSIS 3.1 network services and 50-50 joint venture with Vodafone in Netherlands is a tailwind. Additionally, strategic divestitures are helping the company focus in core European operations.”
  • 3/14/2019 – Liberty Global was downgraded by analysts at BidaskClub from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating.
  • 3/14/2019 – Liberty Global had its “buy” rating reaffirmed by analysts at Pivotal Research. They now have a $32.00 price target on the stock. They wrote, “We updated our financial forecasts for the company’s 10-K and to adjust forecasts for the already announced attractive sale of Liberty Swiss assets for ~10X ’19 EBITDA. The decision to sell Switzerland marks the 3 rd major disposition of assets (all at low double digit multiples) a material premium to Liberty Global’s valuation and in our view increases the odds of an outright sale of the balance of Liberty Global’s asset base.””
  • 3/1/2019 – Liberty Global was upgraded by analysts at ValuEngine from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating.
  • 2/27/2019 – Liberty Global had its “buy” rating reaffirmed by analysts at Pivotal Research. They now have a $32.00 price target on the stock. They wrote, “We estimate that assuming the announced VOD and Swiss deal close, Belgium’s current public value, $2B NOL (NPV), $2B in other assets and a conservative value for their 50% stake in the Netherlands JV ($1B) that effectively the UK is trading at 4.0X EBITDA which we view as very attractive. Post the deal close we updated our sum of the parts valuation methodology for the announced Swiss deal price which drove a $4 increase in our YE’2019 target price to $32. At our target we are assuming all announced deals close and the U.K. trades at 5.5X ’19 (arguably temporarily depressed) EBITDA. Considering the last 3 LGI asset sales have been in the low teens EBITDA multiples we view this as quite conservative. If the shares do not rise appreciably from here and the VOD deal closes (expected mid-year) we do not rule out a potential go private transaction.””
  • 2/23/2019 – Liberty Global was upgraded by analysts at BidaskClub from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating.

Liberty Global stock traded down $0.12 during trading on Monday, reaching $27.71. The stock had a trading volume of 1,651,990 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,627,000. Liberty Global PLC has a 52-week low of $19.88 and a 52-week high of $33.50. The company has a quick ratio of 0.40, a current ratio of 0.40 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 6.31. The company has a market capitalization of $20.65 billion, a P/E ratio of -14.06 and a beta of 1.53.

In other news, EVP Bryan H. Hall sold 3,744 shares of Liberty Global stock in a transaction on Tuesday, March 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $26.11, for a total transaction of $97,755.84. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 72,005 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,880,050.55. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, EVP Bryan H. Hall sold 20,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 29th. The stock was sold at an average price of $24.13, for a total transaction of $482,600.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 180,920 shares in the company, valued at $4,365,599.60. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 5.93% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Large investors have recently modified their holdings of the business. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Liberty Global by 326.5% during the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 13,327,704 shares of the company’s stock valued at $377,705,000 after buying an additional 10,202,577 shares during the period. AMF Pensionsforsakring AB bought a new position in Liberty Global during the fourth quarter worth $15,346,000. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. lifted its stake in Liberty Global by 126.8% during the fourth quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. now owns 101,692 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,170,000 after purchasing an additional 56,858 shares during the last quarter. Mackenzie Financial Corp boosted its holdings in Liberty Global by 8.0% in the fourth quarter. Mackenzie Financial Corp now owns 4,006,511 shares of the company’s stock worth $85,499,000 after purchasing an additional 297,280 shares during the period. Finally, Renaissance Technologies LLC acquired a new position in Liberty Global in the third quarter worth $11,172,000. 23.50% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Liberty Global plc, together with its subsidiaries, provides video, broadband Internet, fixed-line telephony, mobile, and other communications services to residential customers and businesses in Europe. It offers video services, including digital video programming and audio services starting with a basic video service, video-on-demand, electronic programming guide, various premium channel packages, digital video recorders, various mobile applications, and set-top boxes.

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