Wrong, Barron's: Facebook will hit $100
Don't let mindless negativity make you miss the boat on the social network as it catches up with mobile.
By Rocco Pendola
Because I can't get a paperboy to plunk The Onion against my front door on Saturday mornings, I still subscribe to Barron's. Jim Cramer says hasn't read the paper in eight years.
It's tough to blame him.
And it's tough for a guy like me to organize the activities that will occupy my time. On one hand, I need to read stuff like Barron's September cover story that said Facebook (FB) shares were headed to $15. On the other, I can't allow it to influence me, even when I'm cumulatively mind-numbed with similar tripe.
With Facebook, the media turned on the company and its shares in the wake of its IPO. The pile-on began.
Then things got crazy.
As I wrote in TheStreet in my response to Barron's now laughable claim, the dude who wrote the story thought he had something. So he did abysmal analysis and, lo and behold, Barron's hauled off and published it.
The guy's entire argument centered on Facebook's price-to-earnings ratio, relative to companies such as Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG), mobile monetization and Facebook's options program. All poorly constructed, surface-scratch thoughts on why Facebook has no future.
In my Merry Christmas article, I take those arguments down, particularly the mobile and stock-based compensation ones, point by point.
There's so much misunderstanding out there over mobile and disruptive growth companies. The mainstream media's involvement in the Facebook story only makes the problem worse.
When you limit the discussion to finance and tech guys, you have a relatively small number of people who don't know what they're talking about doing the talking. Throw everybody else into the mix and you have what we have: a larger number of people who don't know what they're talking about doing the talking. But, worse yet, they never took a serious look into the enormity of the mobile transformation.
We expect a six-month-old to walk. And don't think of time in terms of the age of a company. Think of it in terms of mobile uptake, both by the platforms and advertisers.
Consumers ran the table on mobile. It was really quite incredible to see how amazingly fast so much of the world moved to using apps on mobile phones. Some companies either got lucky, recognized the trend or -- thanks to a mix of luck and recognition -- had platforms ready-made for mobile.
Think Twitter. And, think Pandora (P), despite its recent brain farts in the fight over royalties, as I wrote about on The Street.
Let's hope the royalty missteps do not sink the company because Pandora, as a platform, remains the real deal. It simply could not have missed the move to mobile. It smacked Pandora upside the head the day Apple introduced iPhone. Pandora adoption skyrocketed because listeners could now take Pandora with them wherever they went.
You have to give Facebook the benefit of the doubt for missing in this respect. Different platform. Less visibility into the trend. And even if you do not give Mark Zuckerberg the BOD, let bygones be bygones. Move forward or be left behind.
The things Facebook has only begun to do with its platform are mind-boggling in terms of the revenue the company can generate. The notion of "gifting" items like iTunes gift cards alone makes this thing a $15 stock for goodness sake.
You click "gift," the recipient receives a message, he or she interacts with Facebook, heads over to Apple, buys some songs and the relationship is sealed. Next time, the recipient might be the gift giver. And so on and so forth.
$100 for this thing -- thanks to a mixture of momentum, a change in market sentiment and massive revenue growth, particularly in mobile, over the next 12 to 24 months, not to mention profitability -- is absolutely not crazy. Get ready for blowout earnings reports. Facebook's lack of guidance spells bear trap. This thing will absolutely fly on a meaningful earnings beat.
Folks who refuse to look won't know what hit them. Meantime, Facebook longs will have a Merry Christmas, Baby (any excuse to work Springsteen into a column!).
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Also ask anyone who uses fb if they have ever "intentionally" clicked a fb ad on their phone ......I bet not one !
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People are spending more and more time in front of little screens, and these tech giants are capitalizing beautifully.
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