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5 Ways to Play the M&A Boom

Stocks in this article: T GOOG JNJ EXC DUK MMI PGN

AT&T

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Of the high-profile deals on the horizon, none's more significant than AT&T's (T) planned $39 billion buyout of T-Mobile's U.S. wireless carrier business. AT&T is already the biggest wireless carrier in the country (when Vodafone's (VOD) stake in Verizon's (VZ) cell business is backed out), and the acquisition would make AT&T an even more formidable contender in an incredibly competitive business.

For investors, there's plenty of reason to want in on this action. AT&T has seen its share price get battered in recent months as uncertainty over the deal and hand wringing over the firm's loss of iPhone exclusivity bring out the weak hands in this stock. Because of that, AT&T is currently the highest-yielding stock in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, quite a feat.

The impact of the iPhone is largely overblown in my view. The device was transformational for AT&T's business, bringing out considerable margin growth as data customers ballooned - but the customer exodus Wall Street analysts expected has yet to show itself. Legacy businesses (such as wired phones and directories) provide some dependable revenues for AT&T's bottom line, but they're hardly a reason to look at this stock anymore.

Instead, focus on the tremendous value offered by shares -- even if the merger falls through, this stock is looking cheap at current levels. Regulatory approval is the final hurdle for a marriage between the carriers.

AT&T is one of the top holdings of George Soros' Soros Fund Management, which increased its position in the stock by about 7% in the second quarter. It was also featured recently in " Low-Volatility Stocks for a Volatile Market."

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