FaceBook $100 Billion Internet IPO Emperor Has No Clothes, Investors Could Lose 85%Companies / Tech Stocks May 18, 2012 - 05:12 AM GMT
The Facebook IPO at $38 a share to raise $18.4billon is expected to value the social media company at over $100 billion that reeks of another LastMinute Dot com investors being suckered moment. Now Facebook clearly has value by virtue if its 900 million subscriber base, however valuing the company at X100 earnings is well on par with that of the peak of the last dot com bubble. The IPO itself illustrates that public investors are being sucked in by media hype as the amount to be raised has risen from first $5 billion, to $10 billion and to finally over $18 billion as major private investors including Goldman Sachs and Russian billionaires cash out as they offload stock to the public.
The problem with Facebook is that it is already flat-lining in terms of revenue growth so not only is it over priced at 100X earnings but there is also no significant revenue growth to bring that high valuation down. For instance Facebook promotes itself on the basis of having 900 million subscribers, however to me that suggests that it is already a saturated market, where are new subscribers going to come from to grow the revenue?
Investors need to realise this that Facebook is no Google, the closest stock to Facebook is Yahoo which is priced at X17 earnings, so the Facebook IPO is being priced at X5 its real value.
This suggests there is going to be a huge overhang of stock that at the very least points to a stagnant stock price for many years and more probably a severe bear market that could see a loss of value of over 80%.
Comparing Facebook to the most successful internet company to date, Google which trades on a P/E of 19 means that Facebook investors face a huge challenge as Facebook would need to grow their earnings by X5 just to match Google. When the reality is that Facebook can never match Google's profitability.
Facebook in my opinion is a re-run of the lastminute dot com bubble IPO, that saw the value of initial investments all but wiped out. Facebook is probably being priced at X6 its value therefore investors have the potential to sufferer as much as a 85% loss on the IPO before the stock hits bottom.
The expected slump in the Facebook stock price could start as early as today when the stock starts trading.
Hedging Opportunity - Buy Google and Short Facebook
Bottom line - If you want to invest in Facebook, then you will be able to pick up the stock at a fraction of its IPO price in the not too distant future.
Future Forecast - Facebook is a re-run of Lastminute.com, and just like last minute, all of the media hype surrounding Facebook will soon evaporate and many people in hindsight will start to write how it was always obvious that the numbers never stacked up. Facebook as an investment was always destined to fail because it was not even equal to half a Google despite being valued as 5 Google's. I would not go as far as saying Facebook is the next MySpace, but its not that far off from following a similar path towards oblivion, in fact if Facebook accrues a mountain of debt then at some point it will be taken over by a cash rich company such as Google, Apple or Ebay to gobble it up at a fraction of its IPO price.
Source and Comments: http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article34724.html
By Nadeem Walayat
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Nadeem Walayat has over 25 years experience of trading derivatives, portfolio management and analysing the financial markets, including one of few who both anticipated and Beat the 1987 Crash. Nadeem's forward looking analysis focuses on UK inflation, economy, interest rates and housing market. He is the author of three ebook's - The Inflation Mega-Trend; The Interest Rate Mega-Trend and The Stocks Stealth Bull Market Update 2011 that can be downloaded for Free.
Nadeem is the Editor of The Market Oracle, a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication that presents in-depth analysis from over 600 experienced analysts on a range of views of the probable direction of the financial markets, thus enabling our readers to arrive at an informed opinion on future market direction. http://www.marketoracle.co.uk
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