The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Dish Network, Netflix,, Apple and Synopsys

Mar 27, 2013, 09:30 ET from Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

CHICAGO, March 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 Dish Network Corp. (Nasdaq: DISH), Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Synopsys Inc. (Nasdaq: SNPS).


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Here are highlights from Tuesday's Analyst Blog:

LBO Firm Rescues Blockbuster UK         

Dish Network Corp. (Nasdaq: DISH), the second largest satellite TV operator in the U.S., has found a buyer for its ailing subsidiary Blockbuster UK, within two months from the time it filed for bankruptcy in Jan 2013. The DVD and games rental store company was struggling amid stiff competition from online video streaming companies.

Leverage buyout (LBO) firm, Gordon Brothers Europe, has agreed to take over the struggling retailer but has not declared the acquisition price. Per the agreement, the LBO firm will keep 264 blockbuster stores, saving almost 2,000 jobs in the process. Gordon Brothers plans to retain the Blockbuster brand after the acquisition and has got a profitable portfolio of stores to turn the company around. 

Dish Network took over Blockbuster Inc. on May 2, 2011, for $320 million. The acquisition enabled Dish Network to offer several movie streaming services over the Internet, thus efficiently countering the competitive threats from cheap online movie distribution companies like Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN), Hulu among others.

When Dish acquired Blockbuster, the video rental company had about 1700 stores across the U.S. and 528 stores in the UK. But ever since its takeover, the UK subsidiary of Blockbuster has been struggling against increased competition from supermarket chains like Tesco and download sites like Apple Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iTunes. In an attempt to tide over the difficult situation the company closed nearly 200 of its 528 UK stores and has sold 49 stores to the supermarket chain, Morrisons.

Though Blockbuster registered a 21% annualized revenue growth in 2012, its operating loss climbed to $31 million as compared to an operating income of $16 million in 2011. The buyout will be beneficial for Blockbuster UK as the LBO plans to make a substantial amount of investment in the stores to return to profitability.

The transaction is beneficial for Blockbuster as a new management could bring in fresh ideas to turn around the struggling DVD rental business. However, for its survival we believe Blockbuster needs to come up with a cost-effective and convenient plan of renting DVDs to vend off competition from online peers. 

Dish currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

 Micronas Opts for Synopsys Solution

 A collaborative approach with Synopsys Inc. (Nasdaq: SNPS) has helped Micronas to develop digital solutions for the design and verification of semiconductors used in the automobile industry. Micronas has leveraged Synopsys' technical expertise for custom and industrial applications.

The Synopsys solution has been included in products such as Galaxy Custom Designer for custom IC design, HSPICE for circuit simulation, StarRC for gate-level and transistor-level extraction, IC Compiler for place and route, IC Validator for physical verification and VCS for functional verification.

Synopsys has also collaborated with ARM to optimize the performance of its processors. Collaborations have helped the company strengthen its product portfolio and improve the design quality of its custom integrated circuits, which has in turn helped its sales. Apart from collaborations, the company's acquisitions are aimed at improving business, which is evident from the acquisition of the privately held software maker ExpertIO Inc.

According to technology research firm Gartner,worldwide spending for wafer fab equipment will decline 13.3% year over year in 2012 and 0.8% in 2013. However, the firm predicts a 15.3% increase in semiconductor spending in 2014. This keeps the long-term business prospects intact for the company.

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