Windstream ( WIN) was formed in July 2006 in the merger of Alltel's fixed-line business and Valor Communications. The firm serves about 2.9 million phone lines, 1.9 million long-distance phone customers, and 1 million high-speed Internet customers. It has operations in 16 states, primarily in the Southeast and southern Midwest. It's also aggressive in making acquisitions, as it recently closed D&E Communications and has announced plans to acquire two relatively small telecommunications firms, NuVox, which serves the Southeast, and Lexcom, a regional services provider based in Aurora, Ill. Windstream has a projected dividend yield of 8.43% on its shares, which are currently trading at $11.82. "The market is paying a premium for dividend yield over other forms of cash deployment, including buybacks and business reinvestment," said Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts in a research note on Windstar after giving it a "buy" rating. Nevertheless, the shares are down 9% this year, bringing the market value to $6 billion. Its shares are up 2% over the past 12 months. Analysts give it five "strong buy" ratings, one "moderate buy," and nine "holds," according TheStreet Ratings.