Zacks Investment Research Upgrades Liberty Global PLC (LBTYA) to “Hold”

Liberty Global PLC (NASDAQ:LBTYA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a note issued to investors on Friday, August 4th.

According to Zacks, “Liberty Global continues to grow in the Europe and Central America through several mergers and acquisitions and is looking for more takeover options to expand its footprint. The launch of DOCSIS 3.1 network services, joint venture with Vodafone in Netherlands, acquisition of UTV Ireland TV stations from ITV, takeover of Cable & Wireless bode well for the company's growth. Over the past three months, the share price of Liberty Global inched up 0.61% but failed to beat the industry's gain of 1.98%. On the other hand, Liberty Global’s predominant operation in Europe is a major concern because of recessionary pressure, debt crisis and low per capita income in some European countries. Further, stiff competition in the video, broadband, fixed-line telephony and mobile services business, foreign exchange rate risks and integration risks are major headwinds. “

Other equities analysts have also recently issued research reports about the company. Macquarie reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $36.00 price target (down previously from $40.00) on shares of Liberty Global PLC in a research note on Wednesday, June 21st. Jefferies Group LLC set a $43.00 price target on Liberty Global PLC and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Saturday, June 17th. Pivotal Research lowered their target price on Liberty Global PLC from $47.00 to $42.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, May 10th. Royal Bank Of Canada reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $42.00 price target on shares of Liberty Global PLC in a research note on Friday, May 5th. Finally, ValuEngine raised Liberty Global PLC from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, July 6th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, eleven have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $39.85.

Shares of Liberty Global PLC (NASDAQ:LBTYA) traded up 0.03% during trading on Friday, reaching $33.40. 1,992,117 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged. The company’s 50-day moving average is $33.17 and its 200 day moving average is $33.50. Liberty Global PLC has a 52 week low of $28.17 and a 52 week high of $37.69. The stock has a market capitalization of $33.52 billion, a PE ratio of 36.70 and a beta of 1.67.

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In related news, Director John C. Malone purchased 139,052 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, July 5th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $21.74 per share, for a total transaction of $3,022,990.48. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 761,816 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $16,561,879.84. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Director David E. Rapley sold 2,985 shares of the stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 17th. The stock was sold at an average price of $32.81, for a total value of $97,937.85. Following the sale, the director now owns 14,795 shares in the company, valued at approximately $485,423.95. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have bought 1,610,000 shares of company stock valued at $37,412,081. Corporate insiders own 3.93% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Standard Life Investments LTD bought a new position in Liberty Global PLC during the second quarter valued at $105,000. D.A. Davidson & CO. raised its position in Liberty Global PLC by 69.6% in the second quarter. D.A. Davidson & CO. now owns 3,348 shares of the company’s stock valued at $107,000 after buying an additional 1,374 shares during the last quarter. Commonwealth Bank of Australia raised its position in Liberty Global PLC by 96.7% in the second quarter. Commonwealth Bank of Australia now owns 4,712 shares of the company’s stock valued at $150,000 after buying an additional 2,316 shares during the last quarter. Jacobi Capital Management LLC raised its position in Liberty Global PLC by 1.1% in the second quarter. Jacobi Capital Management LLC now owns 5,093 shares of the company’s stock valued at $162,000 after buying an additional 57 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. bought a new position in Liberty Global PLC during the first quarter valued at $163,000. 22.53% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Liberty Global PLC

Liberty Global PLC, formerly Liberty Global, Inc, is an international cable company with operations in 14 countries. The Company’s tripleplay services are provided through networks and technology platforms that connect approximately 25 million customers subscribing to over 47 million television, broadband Internet and telephony services.

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