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Verizon to Buy Tracfone: ETFs in Focus

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The telecommunication services sector is also witnessing consolidation amid the M&A spree. Verizon Communications (VZ - Free Report) agreed to acquire prepaid wireless service provider TracFone from America Movil (AMX - Free Report) for as much as $6.9 billion. The move comes as the largest U.S. wireless carrier seeks to expand its mobile business into the so-called prepaid market.

Per the terms of the deal, Verizon will pay $3.125 billion in cash and $3.125 billion in stock. The agreement also includes up to an additional $650 million as future cash consideration related to the achievement of certain performance measures and other commercial arrangements (read: Will Telecom ETFs Gain Despite Mixed Q2 Earnings?).

The combination will aid Verizon to expand its presence in the prepaid and value segments of the U.S. wireless business as the industry transitions to the next-generation 5G networks. The acquisition of Tracfone aligns with Verizon’s growth oriented Network as a Service strategy and will provide more U.S. consumers who are seeking value wireless plans with improved experiences and enhanced services including fixed wireless residential broadband solutions, 5G access and expanded international calling and roaming options.

The deal is expected to reap significant benefits and draw network synergies. It will be accretive in the first year following the transaction’s closing. The deal, expected to be completed in the second half of 2021, is pending regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Market Impact

Following the merger announcement, shares of America Movil gained 7.7% at the close on Sep 14 with an elevated volume of 5.4 million shares a day compared to average daily volume of 2.5 million shares. Meanwhile, Verizon shares were up 0.9%.

The news put the spotlight on a number of ETFs that could be the best bets for investors to tap the opportunity arising from the Verizon deal. These funds are expected to see smooth trading in the weeks ahead:

iShares U.S. Telecommunications ETF (IYZ - Free Report)

This fund follows the Dow Jones U.S. Select Telecommunications Index and offers exposure to 44 American companies that provide telephone and Internet products, services and technologies. Verizon occupies the top position with 23.7% of the assets. The ETF has AUM of $353.2 million and trades in average daily volume of 319,000 shares. It charges 42 bps in annual fees and has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 (Buy) with a Medium risk outlook (read: Will Telecom ETFs Gain Despite Mixed Q2 Earnings?).

First Trust Morningstar Dividend Leaders Index Fund (FDL - Free Report)

With AUM of $1.3 billion, the fund offers exposure to stocks listed on one of the three major exchanges, namely NYSE, NYSE Amex or Nasdaq that showed dividend consistency and dividend sustainability by tracking the Morningstar Dividend Leaders Index. It holds 100 stocks and VZ takes the second spot in the basket with 9% allocation. FDL charges 45 bps in annual fees from investors and trades in solid volume of nearly 249,000 shares a day. It has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold) with a Medium risk outlook.

iShares Core High Dividend ETF (HDV - Free Report)

This ETF provides exposure to 75 dividend-paying domestic stocks that are screened for financial health by tracking the Morningstar Dividend Yield Focus Index. Verizon occupies the fourth spot with 7.2% allocation. HDV is among the largest and most popular funds in the space with an AUM of $5.4 billion and trades in a solid volume of around 378,000 shares a day. It charges 8 bps in fees per year and has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 with a Medium risk outlook (read: 5 Cheap Dividend ETFs for Safe and Consistent Income).

WisdomTree U.S. High Dividend Fund (DHS - Free Report)

This ETF offers targeted exposure to U.S. equity from high dividend-yielding companies. It follows the WisdomTree U.S. High Dividend Index, holding 295 securities with Verzion taking the top spot at 6.1% share. The fund accumulated about $714.2 million in its asset base and trades in lower volume of 46,000 shares per day on average. It charges 38 bps in annual fees and has a Zacks ETF Rank #3.

Multifactor Media and Communications ETF

This ETF targets a wide range of U.S. media and communication stocks to exploit the sector's opportunities by tracking the John Hancock Dimensional Media and Communications Index. It holds 55 stocks in its basket with VZ taking the fourth spot at 5.8% share. JHCS managed assets worth $25.6 million and charges 40 bps in annual fees. It trades in average daily volume of about 46,000 shares.

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