EarthLink Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: ELNK) and Windstream Holdings (NASDAQ:WIN) are both computer and technology companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their risk, valuation, institutional ownership, earnings, dividends, profitabiliy and analyst recommendations.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares EarthLink Holdings Corp. and Windstream Holdings’ gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
EarthLink Holdings Corp. N/A N/A N/A ($0.01) -563.00
Windstream Holdings $5.38 billion 0.13 $1.78 billion ($2.52) -1.50

Windstream Holdings has higher revenue and earnings than EarthLink Holdings Corp.. EarthLink Holdings Corp. is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Windstream Holdings, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Dividends

EarthLink Holdings Corp. pays an annual dividend of $0.20 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.6%. Windstream Holdings pays an annual dividend of $0.60 per share and has a dividend yield of 15.9%. EarthLink Holdings Corp. pays out -2,000.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Windstream Holdings pays out -23.8% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Both companies have healthy payout ratios and should be able to cover their dividend payments with earnings for the next several years.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

88.4% of EarthLink Holdings Corp. shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 71.0% of Windstream Holdings shares are held by institutional investors. 1.7% of EarthLink Holdings Corp. shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.5% of Windstream Holdings shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, large money managers and endowments believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Profitability

This table compares EarthLink Holdings Corp. and Windstream Holdings’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
EarthLink Holdings Corp. -0.01% -14.46% -0.55%
Windstream Holdings -4.89% -66.42% -2.02%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of recent ratings for EarthLink Holdings Corp. and Windstream Holdings, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
EarthLink Holdings Corp. 0 3 2 0 2.40
Windstream Holdings 2 1 0 0 1.33

EarthLink Holdings Corp. presently has a consensus target price of $10.23, indicating a potential upside of 81.62%. Given EarthLink Holdings Corp.’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, research analysts plainly believe EarthLink Holdings Corp. is more favorable than Windstream Holdings.

Risk & Volatility

EarthLink Holdings Corp. has a beta of 0.94, meaning that its share price is 6% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Windstream Holdings has a beta of 0.12, meaning that its share price is 88% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

EarthLink Holdings Corp. beats Windstream Holdings on 11 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

EarthLink Holdings Corp. Company Profile

EarthLink, Inc. (EarthLink), is a network, communications and information technology (IT) services provider to business and residential customers in the United States. The Company operates in two segments: Business Services and Consumer Services. EarthLink’s Business Services segment provides a range of data, voice, managed IT and equipment services to business customers. Its Consumer Services segment provides nationwide Internet access and related value-added services to residential customers. EarthLink operates a network, including approximately 28,800 route miles of fiber, 90 metro fiber rings and four enterprise-class data centers and provides Internet protocol (IP) access services to customers across more than 90% of the United States. In April 2011, EarthLink acquired One Communications Corp. (One Communications). In July 2013, Earthlink Inc completed the acquisition CenterBeam Inc.

Windstream Holdings Company Profile

Windstream Corporation (Windstream) is a provider of advanced communications and technology solutions, including managed services and cloud computing, to businesses nationwide. In addition to business services, the Company offers broadband, voice and video services to consumers in primarily rural markets. It has operations in 48 states and the District of Columbia, a local and long-haul fiber network spanning approximately 115,000 miles, a robust business sales division and 21 data centers offering managed services and cloud computing. Windstream’s owned local networks consist of central office digital switches, routers, loop carriers and virtual and physical colocations interconnected with fiber, copper and microwaved facilities. A mix of fiber optic and copper facilities connect its customers with the core network. In December 2011, the Company announced that it has completed its acquisition of PAETEC Holding Corp.

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