American Tower Prepares For Viom Networks Bid

Real estate investment trust American Tower (NYSE:AMT) is preparing a bid for an Indian telecommunications tower company, Viom Networks, that could amount to $1.6 billion to $1.9 billion, according to the Economic Times, an Indian newspaper. Citing unnamed sources, the Times said the bid may come by March 7, and that American Tower is likely to value Viom based on its operating profit and not on the number of towers it owns.

Viom is majority owned by Tata Teleservices, with the balance held by the SREI group and private equity firms. American Tower, a REIT with telecom tower holdings, owns about 10,000 towers in India, and Viom owns about 41,000, according to the Times. American Tower reported Q4 results Tuesday that were well above analysts’ expectations. Net income attributable to the company slipped to $100 million, or $0.25 per share, from $135.7 million, or $0.34 per share, a year earlier. For 2014, the company forecast adjusted funds from operations of $1.68 billion to $1.74 billion. In mid-day trading Wednesday, AMT was up 1.43% to $81.31. It moves in a 52-week range of $67.89 to $85.26.

In Other Watchlist News

Dineequity Inc. (NYSE:DIN) has reversed to trade higher in late-morning action Wednesday as investors digest news of Michael Archer’s departure as president of its Applebee’s restaurant chain and the company reports an earnings decline. The company said Q4 earnings fell 3% from the prior year to $0.94 a share, missing the Capital IQ estimate of $0.97. Revenue slipped 0.5% to $157.9 million, compared with the consensus estimate of $160 million.

The company accrued $1.7 million in charges from the sale of two Applebee’s franchises. Steven Layt was named the new president of the Applebee’s chain. Dineequity expects 2014 cash from operations to decline 9% to 23% to a range of $98 million to $116 million. The stock is up 1.5% at $82.80 in late-morning action after it was down about 1% earlier in the session and fell as low as $78.15 earlier. It reached a 52-week high $85.74 on November 25.

The Middleby Corporation (NASDAQ:MIDD) surged to an all-time high after the company reported late Tuesday better-than-expected financial results for Q4. Shares are up 12.74% at $297.31, after touching a record high of $302.85. The foodservice equipment company reported Q4 earnings of $2.62 per share, compared with the prior-year period’s $2.03 per share.

Revenue was $377.42 million, up from $291.6 million in the same quarter last year. Analysts polled by Capital IQ were expecting EPS of $2.25 on revenues of $364.86 million. Companies: The Middleby Corporation Price: 297.31 Price Change: +33.60 Percent Change: +12.74