CEO on the hot seat: Ivan Seidenberg, Verizon
Seidenberg has tough industry trends to confront -- but strong cash flow may help support the stock.
By Jon Birger and David Stires, FORTUNE

NEW YORK (FORTUNE Magazine) - Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg's one-time monopoly is under siege from cable companies and other competitors, who are siphoning off his core fixed-line phone customers at an alarming rate.

He's in a low-margin business that requires near-constant multibillion-dollar infrastructure upgrades -- witness the company's huge $32 billion debt load. And he needs to begin the messy process of cutting costs at MCI, which Verizon acquired for $8.5 billion in January.

Opportunities

Seidenberg's aggressive push into broadband will give him access to 6 million potential customers by the end of 2006. If he can sign up a sizable chunk of them for high-speed Internet and video services, he may be able to keep rivals at bay.

Stock outlook

Even under the most optimistic scenarios, revenues from broadband services are unlikely to offset declining local-phone sales.

Verizon's prized wireless unit outperforms its rivals in the pack, but mobile-phone growth is slowing.

Much of this bad news is already priced into Verizon (Research) shares, which have tumbled 25 percent from their 2005 high. Given Verizon's strong cash flow, this is a stock to own for its rich dividend yield -- now 5.2 percent -- not big price gains. Top of page

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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.