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Jefferies upgrades Vantiv on better biz mix post-Worldpay acquisition

Jefferies analyst Ramsey El-Assal has upgraded Vantiv Inc. to "buy" from "hold," writing that a combination of a better business mix and higher synergies from the company's near-complete acquisition of Worldpay Group plc and the benefits of tax reform should create upside for the stock.

Worldpay will give Vantiv access to markets outside the U.S. and make the company less concentrated on exposure to big-box and department stores, the analyst wrote. El-Assal also believes the company's cost synergy targets for the deal are conservative and that cross-selling some of Worldpay's services in the U.S. and Vantiv's services globally could create more revenue than projected.

In addition, tax reform could boost the combined company's EPS by about 7%, "making the valuation more compelling than at first glance," the analyst wrote.

El-Assal set a price target for the stock at $94, up from the previous target of $72. His 2017 EPS estimate is $3.36. He changed his EPS estimates to $3.72 from $3.75 for 2018 and to $4.32 from $4.23 for 2019. He set a 2020 EPS estimate of $4.95.