Deutsche Bank upgrades L Brands to Buy with scales tipping toward split
Deutsche Bank analyst Tiffany Kanaga upgraded L Brands to Buy from Hold with a price target of $24, up from $22. The stock closed Thursday up 81c to $18.96. Yesterday's holiday report, with Victoria's Secret reporting sales well below expectations, likely tips the scale "more toward a split, likely triggering strategic action in the near-term," Kanaga writes in a research note titled "So Bad, It's Good?" The company's "window of opportunity" for action is fairly limited, which creates a risk/reward that is now "skewed meaningfully to the upside," contends the analyst, whose sum-of-the-parts analysis yields a $26 share price. Kanaga expects Victoria's Secret EBIT to inflect negative in 2020 and she feels Bath & Body Works has a "clear path" toward high-single-digit EBIT growth or more in 2020. In addition, Barington's standstill agreement expires in February, while other activists could enter the fray ahead of L Brands' annual meeting, contends the analyst.