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TheStreet Open House

5 Service Stocks for 2012

1. Virgin Media (VMED) is involved in the entertainment and communications business. It is the first provider of all four broadband, TV, mobile phone and home phone services in the U.K. The company delivers ultrafast broadband connections to over half of U.K. homes with speed of up to 100Mb and is expanding this cable.

For the 2011 third quarter, VMED reported total revenue of $1.54 billion, up 2.2% from the same quarter last year. Operating income was $198.2 million, up 26.25%. Gross margin for the quarter improved 2.7%, to $923.57 million.

Mobile contract customers increased 23% to 1.4 million. Cable ARPU grew to $73.9, up 3.2%. The cable customer base expanded 6,300 during the quarter. Churn was up slightly at 1.7%, vs. 1.6% in the third quarter last year.

Last month, the company and BBC announced a new deal that will bring next-generation BBC TV services to the Virgin Media TiVo® Service in 2012, continuing the successful partnership that saw BBC iPlayer launch its first TV platform.

Of the 26 analysts covering the stock, 69% recommend a buy and 19% rate it a hold. The stock's average 12-month price target is $32.17, about 44.8% higher than the current price, a Bloomberg consensus shows.

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