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Summary

  • FB up 102% in 2013; up 10% year-to-date in 2014.
  • Investors have to be wondering, what is the next driver?
  • Comps get tougher after July '14 quarter.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) reports its Q1 '14 earnings after the bell on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. FB is one of our home runs in calendar 2014, with the stock up 102% last year.

Analyst consensus (per Thomson Reuters) is expecting $0.24 in earnings per share on $2.35 billion in revenues for expected year-over-year growth of 100% and 62%, respectively.

The EPS has been revised upward by one penny since the January '14 last earnings report, while the consensus revenue estimate has been increased by roughly $40 million.

That is still heady growth for the social media giant, and with the correction in growth stocks year-to-date, I'm sure there are a few nervous shareholders coming into the Wednesday night earnings report.

For us, the thesis is simple right now: with the July '14 earnings report, the mobile ad comps get much tougher since it was the July '13 earnings report where the stock took off from the low $20s to the low $40s (and then some) as mobile ad revenue grew 61%.

Mobile ad revenues are now more than half of FB's total revenues, and I start to worry what is the next growth driver after mobile ad, which is what is needed to keep driving the stock higher given its valuation.

If you are looking for a place to view FB's y/y growth metrics for the P/L, here is our spreadsheet, which we've kept since FB came public:

Facebook Inc - y/y growth6/30/20143/31/201412/31/20139/30/20136/30/20133/13/201312/31/20129/30/201230-Jun-1231-Mar-12
Revenue46%61%63%60%53%38%40%32%32%45%
Cost of revenue 23%57%27%49%63%36%75%66%
Gross Margin 76%61%65%34%34%31%19%38%
Costs and Expenses:
Marketing and Sales 111%39%-31%42%66%47%308%131%
Research and development -2%51%-51%92%262%126%612%168%
General and administrative 50%13%-63%69%168%84%458%82%
Total expenses 45%37%-50%124%152%85%461%127%
Income (Loss) from operations 117%95%-249%-14%-5%-42%-161%19%
Interest and other income (expense), net
Interest Expense -56%91%-240%-193%0%10%11%75%
Other income (expense), net -300%83%-75%-7%-83%-124%1100%-17%
Pre-tax income 124%95%-237%-14%-3%-2%-165%17%
Benefit from (provision for) income taxes 38%-30%-61%12%101%184%282%-206%
Net (Loss) income 717%-820%59%-35%-79%-126%-53%21%
Less: Net Income attr to participating securities -100%-100% -100%-73%
Net (Loss) income attr to s/holders 713%-815%58%-32%-69% -43%45%
Fully diluted shares outstanding 2%4%33%6%38%59%24%58%
Earnings per share47%100%82%108%58%20%13%20%9%-9%

The y/y growth rates for the March and June growth '14 quarters are based on current analyst consensus, so I'd expect to see better growth for the June quarter after Wednesday's earnings release.

Readers need to understand there is no question the valuation on FB is downright scary, at 50(x) 2014 consensus earnings, not to mention 59(x) cash-flow and 131(x) free-cash-flow.

However, here are the consensus growth rates for EPS and revenues for FB for the next three years, along with their growth rates:

EPSy/y groRevenuesy/y gro
2016 est$2.2735%$19.3 bl29%
2015 est$1.6833%$14.9 bl31%
2014 est$1.2645%$11.4 bl45%
2013 (act)$0.87 $7.9 bl

In terms of our "intrinsic value" estimates, our current model values FB in the low $100s, which is a model that emphasizes earnings growth. Morningstar's more conservative discounted cash-flow model assigns an intrinsic value on FB closer to $45 per share. Averaging the two, we get something in the area of $75-$80 as a fair value for FB, assuming that the growth continues.

We likely won't change our position in the stock prior to the Wednesday night earnings report.

Technically, since FB's correction started in early March, the stock is down 13% over the last month and is sitting between its 50 and 200-day moving averages, and is oversold on a daily basis.

Fundamentally, the three secular growth areas of technology today are mobile, social and the cloud, and Facebook encapsulates two of these three secular growth themes almost perfectly.

FB is a risky play into earnings, given the stock's multiple. If the growth isn't there, investors will hit the "sell" button quickly. (We balance the potential volatility of FB by owning value stocks with far more appealing valuations, but also less of a potential for upside, too.)

Personally, and it is just an opinion, but I think there remains more growth ahead for FB.

Source: Facebook Earnings Preview: Still All About Mobile Ad Revenue