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BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield initiated coverage of Time Warner Cable with a ‘buy’ rating and $70 price target, and Comcast and News Corp with ‘neutral’ ratings. Greenfield believes TWC will beat ’11 consensus numbers, noting that telco competition is abating, the FCC‘s Title II regulation threat is ‘overdone’ and the MSO’s low likelihood of major acquisitions should lure investors. To the latter point, Greenfield said despite Comcast’s inexpensive valuation, its pending deal for a stake in NBCU engenders simpler options to play the cable sector. News Corp is also cheap, he said, but “is unlikely to move notably in the near-to-intermediate future.” ? Collins Stewart and Soleil Securities both reiterated ‘buy’ ratings on Time Warner shares following the co’s bullish investor day, with the latter firm raising its corresponding price target to $38 from $35. TWX’s strategy to capitalize on scale, brands and economic innovation “does appear to increasingly make sense,” wrote Collins Stewart’s Thomas Eagan, noting how CEO Jeff Bewkes “has been a pioneer in trying to move the industry to adopt new business models (such as TV Everywhere) and accelerating the film windows, (VOD Day and Date, Premiere VOD and the 28-Day Netflix/Redbox window).” Eagan expects Turner to achieve affil fee increases higher than the industry avg, but did express concern that higher programming costs may constrain AOIBDA margins. Turner chmn/CEO Phil Kent said ’10 programming costs will rise by mid single-digits, and CFO John Martin said TWX will spend more than $7bln this year on overall content prod.

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