DISH Seen as Target of Verizon, Bidder for T-Mobile After AT&T Deal

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- After AT&T (T)agreed to buy satellite broadcaster DirecTV (DTV), Citigroup wrote that rival DISH Network (DISH) could pursue a number of strategies, including selling itself to Verizon (VZ). Meanwhile, research firm Oppenheimer predicted that DISH would probably look to buy T-Mobile (TMUS).

ANALYST OPINION: In the wake of AT&T's acquisition of DirecTV, DISH could sell its spectrum or the entire company to Verizon, Citi analyst Michael Rollins wrote in a note to investors earlier today DISH's downlink spectrum would greatly benefit Verizon, as the telecom giant has significantly less of the spectrum per subscriber than its three national competitors, according to the analyst. Verizon could make DISH's video business a national over the top video provider, added Rollins. Alternatively, DISH could make a competing bid for DirecTV, could become a wireless provider by creating a national network, or buy T-Mobile, the analyst believes. He kept a Hold rating on DISH. Oppenheimer analyst Timothy Horan predicted in his own note to investors that DISH is likely to try to buy T-Mobile, but noted that Sprint (S) and Comcast (CMCSA) also remain interested in acquiring the number four wireless provider in the U.S. DISH could also look to buy Sprint, according to Horan, who does not believe that Verizon will acquire DISH. He kept an Outperform rating on T-Mobile.

WHAT'S NOTABLE: On May 16, The Wall Street Journal reported that the FCC's decision to effectively raise the amount of spectrum a carrier can own in a market could make DISH a more attractive takeover target for Verizon.

PRICE ACTION: In early trading, DISH fell 3% to $58.17, AT&T slid 1.8% to $36.07, DirecTV fell 2.2% to $84.20, T-Mobile climbed 1.2% to $33.50 and Verizon was up fractionally to $49.22. 

Reporting by Larry Ramer.

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