Comcast should buy Verizon for $215 billion, Citi analyst says

Comcast should buy Verizon for $215 billion, Citi analyst says

Comcast Corp. should buy Verizon Communications, a deal that could be worth $215 billion, an analyst from Citigroup said Wednesday.

Though many view Verizon as a likely suitor for Dish Network, the analyst said Comcast could swoop in with a deal for the wireless carrier that would help it extend internet connectivity outside the home.

The analyst estimates Comcast could pay a 20 percent premium to Verizon's share price, which was $43.98 at the close of trading Tuesday. Verizon's shares are down more than 17 percent this year, so much so that Comcast, the parent of NBCUniversal, is now bigger in terms of market value, Citi analyst Jason Bazinet wrote in a research note on Wednesday.

Verizon's market value was $179 billion as of Tuesday's close, so a 20 percent premium would put a deal value at $215 billion.

"It's a call Comcast should make ... and Verizon should take," wrote Bazinet in the note. Verizon shares were up more than 1 percent in morning trading, while Comcast shares were flat.

The research cites press reports that indicate Verizon could be open to a deal with Disney, CBS or Comcast.

A spokesman from Comcast and a spokeswoman for Verizon both declined to comment.

It is a time of rapid consolidation in the media and telecommunications industries. Companies that create content are looking for more efficient ways to distribute it at a time when many households are moving to streaming services from Netflix and Comcast bought NBCUniversal in 2009 and attempted a deal with Time Warner Cable in 2014, but called it off the next year.

Telecom giant AT&T and media giant Time Warner are waiting on regulatory approval for their $80 billion combination, which would marry video content with delivery on mobile devices.

Bazinet said in his note that the regulatory climate may be more amenable under the current administration to big combinations.

A Comcast-Verizon tie-up could boost revenue at the combined company, he said. He estimates Comcast would have to sell about 16 percent of its cable operations where it overlaps with Verizon's FiOS network.

Disclosure: Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC and


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