2014

The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights:CBS, JPMorgan Chase, Lions Gate Entertainment, Lamar Advertising and Simcere Pharmaceutical Group

CHICAGO, April 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS), JPMorgan Chase & Company (NYSE: JPM), Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (NYSE: LGF), Lamar Advertising Co. (Nasdaq: LAMR) and Simcere Pharmaceutical Group (NYSE: SCR).

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

CBS Buys 50% Stake in Pay Channel

CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) announced the successful completion of the acquisition of 50% stake in TVGN, TV Guide Network's pay channel, and the website TVGuide.com from JPMorgan Chase & Company's (NYSE: JPM) One Equity Partners. The company shelled out an approximate of $100 million for the purchase. The price paid by CBS is significantly lower than $123 million paid by One Equity Partners for a 49% stake 4 years ago.

TV Guide magazine, a separate entity and owned by OpenGate Capital, is, however, not a part of the deal.

Following the acquisition, CBS has become a partner of the entertainment company, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (NYSE: LGF), which holds the remaining 50% interest in TVGN. Lions Gate bought the network in 2000 for $241 million.

CBS' association with Lions Gate is not new, as the companies have worked in collaboration in the past. Lions Gate produces the shows "Weeds" and "Nurse Jackie" for Showtime, a pay cable channel owned by CBS.

TVGN, which airs reruns of programs like "Who's The Boss," ''Ugly Betty" and older movies, is now available in more than 80 million homes. Though no changes were currently made in the channel, the company said that it will announce rebranding efforts and a new programming strategy later.

CBS has been looking to expand in the basic cable arena for some time. Moreover, in a strategic move to unlock the value of the assets, CBS decided to convert its CBS Outdoor operations in North America and South America into a real estate investment trust ("REIT") and divest its Outdoor businesses in Europe and Asia. CBS appears to be following the footsteps of billboard operator, Lamar Advertising Co. (Nasdaq: LAMR) which intends to convert itself into a REIT, as announced last August.

We believe CBS Corporation's decision regarding the Outdoor business would augur well for the company, as it would lower its dependency on advertising, which remains vulnerable to the economy's health.

Currently, CBS has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Good News for Simcere Pharma

Simcere Pharmaceutical Group (NYSE: SCR) recently received encouraging news from the Chinese State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA). The Chinese SFDA granted the good manufacturing practice (GMP) certification to the influenza vaccine production facility at Jiangsu Simcere Vaxtec Bio-Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. A GMP is a production and testing procedure that ensures the quality of the product.

Simcere Vaxtec is a subsidiary of Simcere Pharma. Simcere Pharma holds a 52.5% equity interest in Simcere Vaxtec. Simcere Vaxtec now plans to recommence its influenza vaccine production.

Meanwhile, Simcere Pharma announced that the company's executive vice president, Mr. Hong Zhao recently resigned due to personal reasons. The resignation will be effective from Apr 1, 2013.

Earlier this month, Simcere Pharma announced that the company's board has received a buyout proposal from Mr. Jinsheng Ren, New Good Management Limited, Assure Ahead Investments Limited and its subsidiaries.

As per the proposal, the conglomerate intends to acquire the entire outstanding ordinary shares of Simcere Pharma, for $9.56 per American Depositary Share (ADS) or $4.78 per ordinary share in cash (1 ADS = 2 shares).

In response, Simcere Pharma's board has formed a special committee of independent directors, headed by Mr Alan Au, to consider the proposal. The special committee has retained Shearman & Sterling LLP as its legal counsel for the proposed transaction. The proposal is under consideration.

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