Analyst Says Wireless Potential Makes DISH Worth At Least $114 Per Share

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of DISH Network (DISH) are up in afternoon trading after Wells Fargo laid out its views that the company's spectrum holdings give the potential for 60%-75% upside in the stock. The note follows a May 14 leak hinting that DISH could be planning to enter the wireless market.

WHAT'S NEW: Wells Fargo's Marci Ryvicker quantified the various outcomes of DISH Network's wireless strategy, saying that regardless of which direction the company chooses to take, its stock should see a 60%-75% upside. Ryvicker views the most likely option for DISH being an entry into the wireless market through a partnership, which would equate to a 68% upside. The analyst says T-Mobile (TMUS) or Sprint (S) are the most likely partners for such a deal. Another option for DISH would be to make an acquisition in the wireless space and Ryvicker says "it wouldn't be a stretch" to see a combination with T-Mobile. Pursuing a wholesale lease or selling whole or part of the business are additional options, though Ryvicker says she has "never truly believed" DISH would pursue the latter. Ryvicker notes that DISH's spectrum is congruous with existing spectrum used by wireless providers, potentially providing geographical support for a partnership.

WHAT'S NOTABLE: Ryvicker says DISH chairman Charlie Ergen has "always intended" to enter the wireless industry to create a product or service combining the company's video and wireless assets. The research firm says new products could include fixed-wireless broadband, in-home VOIP, and a mobile video add-on service. The analyst sees significant upside potential regardless of the path Ergen takes and keeps an Outperform rating on DISH with a $114-$124 price target range. Wells Fargo's research follows a May 4 note by Brean Capital saying T-Mobile could be DISH's operating partner if or when the company begins executing its wireless strategy. On May 14, Yahoo Finance revealed an internal DISH document discussing a new Chief Marketing Officer position that will be "an integral part of the team that changes entertainment forever as Dish enters the wireless business."

PRICE ACTION: DISH Network was up nearly 3.5% to $73.20 in afternoon trading. T-Mobile and Sprint shares were both up fractionally as the session headed towards the close.

Reporting by John Graff.

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