Nov. 29, 2013, 11:18 AM
- Jefferies' Cynthia Meng has cut Renren (RENN -10.4%) to Underperform after the company provided dispiriting Q4 guidance to go with mixed Q3 results.
- Meng doesn't see Renren's gaming ops (saw a 16.9% rev. drop in Q3, and will likely witness a bigger drop in Q4) rebounding in the near-term, given intense competition from Tencent and other firms with strong mobile game distribution. Renren has said it plans to focus on a smaller number of "high-quality" games" going forward.
- Meng also questions Renren's ability to transition from being a social networking platform to a social messaging platform (the company just launched a mobile messaging app), given the popularity of incumbents such as Tencent's WeChat, and notes iResearch estimates Renren has respectively seen 55% and 38% Y/Y drops in monthly time spent and daily active users.
- On the CC (transcript), Renren stated its ad sales (-11% Y/Y in Q3) were pressured by both the mobile transition and social networking competition, and that it plans to launch "a series of marketing campaigns" to promote its messaging app. The company also noted only ~10% of its Q4 ad revenue is expected to come from mobile.
Nov. 27, 2013, 6:27 PM
- Renren (RENN) is guiding for Q4 revenue of $29M-$31M. That's far below a consensus of $48.9M, and also down sharply from Q3 and year-ago levels of $47.6M and $48.8M, respectively.
- Renren's Q3 numbers make some likely culprits for the guidance apparent. After rising 1% in Q2, online game revenue fell 17% Y/Y to $20.1M due to the maturing of existing titles (and the failure of new titles to make up for it). Online ad revenue, up 2% in Q2, fell 11% Y/Y to $14.9M as Renren continues to bleed Chinese social networking share to Tencent and Sina.
- Two bright spots: Other Internet value-added service revenue rose 32% to $6.1M thanks to Renren's Woxiu virtual talent show service, and the Nuomi daily deals unit (now 59%-owned by Baidu) saw revenue rise 36% to $6.5M.
- In spite of Renren's revenue pressures, opex rose 27% Y/Y. Sales/marketing spend +34% to $28.5M, R&D +7% to $22.4M, G&A +57% to $14.6M. Given the Q4 guidance, job cuts might soon be on the way.
- Confirming a Marbridge Consulting report, Renren says it's restructuring its gaming ops to focus on "high-quality games."
- CC at 8PM ET. Q3 results, PR.
Nov. 27, 2013, 6:06 PM
Nov. 27, 2013, 12:10 AM
Nov. 26, 2013, 5:35 PM
Nov. 15, 2013, 4:04 PM
- Marbridge Consulting reports Renren (RENN +1.2%) CEO Joe Chen stated in an internal e-mail his company will narrow its gaming efforts in order to focus on its social networking ops.
- Gaming-related weakness (blamed on game launch delays) led Renren to issue a Q2 warning in July, and provide weak Q3 guidance in August. The company's gaming ops, which face tough competition from Tencent, NetEase, Shanda, Qihoo, and many other Chinese game providers, totaled $22.4M in Q2, up 1.4% Y/Y and equal to 45% of total revenue.
- Renren's social networking ops face have their own challenges: The company's ad revenue only rose 2.4% Y/Y in Q2 to $15.4M, as Chinese Web/mobile users embrace rival social networking platforms such as Tencent's WeChat and Sina's Weibo.
- Q3 results are due this month.
Nov. 7, 2013, 11:48 AM
- Even as Twitter blasts off to a $25B valuation following its much-hyped IPO, U.S. and foreign Internet stocks are giving back some more of the massive 2013 gains that have led many names to trade at steep multiples.
- One sign investors in this space are in a profit-taking mood: Zillow (Z -4.3%) and YY both sold off yesterday in spite of delivering Q3 beats (I, II) and above-consensus guidance; Zillow is adding to its losses today. Likewise, SouFun (SFUN -5.4%) has turned negative after providing a Q3 beat and strong guidance.
- Notable U.S. decliners: FB -2.4%. LNKD -2.8%. GRPN -4.7% (reports after the close). ZNGA -2.7%. P -3.8%. TRLA -5.4%.
- Notable foreign decliners: BIDU -2.4%. QIHU -6.7%. SINA -5% (generally viewed as the Chinese Twitter). DANG -6.2%. VIPS -7.7%. RENN -4.2%. AMAP -4.7%. CTRP -5.7%. YOKU -5.6%. RENN -4.2%. YNDX -5.1%. MELI -2.4% (plunged yesterday thanks to a Q3 miss). SIFY -2.6%.
- Internet/social media ETFs: FDN, PNQI, SOCL
Oct. 29, 2013, 8:21 PM
- Several Chinese Internet names recently pressured by a generally selloff in tech momentum plays are up AH after Baidu beat Q3 estimates on the back of strong growth in ad revenue/customer, and issued above-consensus Q4 guidance.
- SINA +2.3% AH. QIHU +2.1%. YOKU +2%. RENN +2.1%. NTES +2.5%. DANG +1.6%.
- NQ Mobile (NQ) is up 2.5% AH after posting a 25.1% gain in regular trading as investors welcomed its fund transfer announcement.
- Bulls and bears continue to argue fiercely over NQ's prospects. On SA, bearish Goldbaum Research observes NQ's games (offered via its FL Mobile game publishing subsidiary) appear to have been pulled from Apple's App Store, while bullish Toro Investment Partners argues Muddy Waters' track record is quite mixed, and that many firms have had a chance to look at NQ's books.
Oct. 28, 2013, 12:15 PM
- Though the Nasdaq is only down 0.1%, many 2013 Internet, solar, and enterprise software high-flyers are diving once more. Chinese names are well-represented in the group, as NQ Mobile continues crashing thanks to fraud allegations and Sohu plunges due to weak Q4 EPS guidance.
- The WSJ and NYT have each run pieces asking whether a new tech bubble is afoot, at least in certain hot sectors. "People are reaching for growth," says one fund manager quoted by the WSJ. Others argue the fact the high-flyers generally have substantial revenue, and are often profitable, makes the current situation different from the Dot.com bubble.
- Internet decliners: FB -3.4%. MELI -2.8%. GRPN -5%. ZNGA -2.7%. P -2.4%. DANG -7.6%. VIPS -7%. YY -4.8%. QIHU -5.6%. RENN -5.7%. SINA -2.4%. FUEL -4%.
- Solar decliners: JKS -12.4%. FSLR -4.8%. SOL -8.4%. YGE -8%. JASO -6.9%. GTAT -5.4%. SUNE -4.6%. SPWR -4.3%. SCTY -3.8%. STP -8.9%. TSL -13.2%.
- Enterprise decliners: CRM -3.8%. DATA -4.5%. MKTO -5.8%. WDAY -4%. DWRE -3.4%. VEEV -5.1%. IMPV -3.4%.
- Recent declines: I, II.
- Previous: Cashin sees mobile/cloud bubble
Oct. 18, 2013, 10:29 AM
- "We believe that Google's (GOOG +12.8%) ability to monetize experiences through engagement-based services will allow it to disrupt many hardware and software layers over time," writes Evercore's Ken Sena, exemplifying the glowing analyst commentary that has followed Google's Q3 beat.
- Sena, who is raising his PT to $1,100, sees Google's services investments pressuring near-term margins, but also creating "a stronger platform ecosystem in which more collected data, better predictive analytics, and an increased amount of screen connectivity will lead to better overall search economics in addition to new opportunities."
- Needham and Jefferies have raised their PTs to $1,150, and Deutsche has raised its target to $1,220. YouTube's mobile growth, strong paid click volumes, and the potential for Enhanced Campaigns to lift search ad sales (after doing less damage than expected in Q3) are all mentioned as reasons to stay bullish.
- U.S. Internet peers continue to rally in sympathy: FB +4.1%. LNKD +3.7%. YELP +7.8%. AMZN +3.3%. Z +3.9%. TRLA +4.8%. ZNGA +2.8%.
- Foreign Internet names are also moving higher: BIDU +5%. YOKU +6.9%. SINA +3.7%. RENN +4.4%. QIHU +4.9%. DANG +5.9%. YNDX +4%. SIFY +3.4%.
- Google's Q3 results, details, CC remarks, transcript
Oct. 8, 2013, 11:48 AM
- With the government shutdown having reached day 8, many U.S. and Chinese Internet stocks that have seen giant 2013 gains (often with the help of momentum traders and/or short squeezes) are falling sharply.
- U.S. decliners include Facebook (FB -5.2%), Yahoo (YHOO -5.2%), Netflix (NFLX -4.7%), LinkedIn (LNKD -7%), Zillow (Z -5.3%), Trulia (TRLA -7.5%), Yelp (YELP -9.3%), Groupon (GRPN -4.9%), and Web.com (WWWW -10.2%).
- Chinese decliners include Baidu (BIDU -6.2%), Sina (SINA -7.5%), YY (YY -7.3%), Sohu (SOHU -5.1%), Renren (RENN -9.2%), Youku (YOKU -9.6%), Vipshop (VIPS -6.9%), and Dangdang (DANG -10.7%).
- A chart of the YTD performance of some key names speaks for itself.
Oct. 4, 2013, 12:24 PM
- Chinese Internet firms, already shown plenty of love by momentum traders this year, are rallying again following the release of Twitter's public S-1.
- Chinese microblogging leader Sina (SINA +4%) is among the gainers, and so are fellow social networking plays YY (YY +3.2%) and Renren (RENN +9.7%). But several other names are also taking part in the rally: BIDU +2%. NQ +2.7%. CYOU +6.9%. DANG +4.1%. SOHU +5.4%. SFUN +5.8%. AMAP +3.4%. QIHU +2%.
- Twitter mentioned in its S-1 78% of the 218.3M monthly active users it had at the end of Q2 were outside the U.S. But few of them are in China, where its services (like Facebook's) are generally blocked.
Oct. 3, 2013, 9:15 AM
Aug. 26, 2013, 7:08 PM
- Shortly after Baidu (BIDU) acquired a 59% stake in Renren's (RENN) Nuomi Chinese group-buying site for $160M (via newly-issued shares), Nuomi's CEO has sent out a memo stating the business will be split from Renren, and is eventually looking to go public.
- Reviewing the deal, Tech in Asia's C. Custer suggests Baidu bought a controlling stake in Nuomi to shore up its e-commerce bona fides as it increasingly butts heads with fellow Chinese Web giants Alibaba and Tencent. He also notes Baidu could cross-promote Nuomi's deals via Baidu Maps (Google has begun doing something similar with Google Offers and Maps).
- Also: The Next Web's Jon Russell takes a look at Baidu's Light App platform, which enables mobile users to quickly load Web-based apps by inputting a search term. Light App bears a strong resemblance to Baidu's popular Box Computing PC search/app platform.
- Baidu says Light App will be monetized via ads and revenue-sharing deals, and could potentially serve different apps based on a user's device or location.
Aug. 23, 2013, 10:19 AM
- Pandora (P -12.8%) has been downgraded by Raymond James (Neutral) and Stifel (Hold) following its FQ2 beat, mixed guidance, and decision to remove its mobile listening cap.
- VMware (VMW +2.7%) has been upgraded to Buy by Jefferies. The company's annual VMworld conference starts on Sunday.
- CenturyLink (CTL +1.2%) has been upgraded to Neutral by Nomura.
- Renren (RENN +6.8%) has been upgraded to Hold by Jefferies following the sale of its Nuomi group-buying site to Baidu. The firm downgraded Renren only a week ago.
- First Solar (FSLR +1%) and Trina Solar (TSL +2.7%) have been upgraded to Market Perform by Raymond James. RJ downgraded First Solar in April.
- Autodesk (ADSK +12.6%) has been upgraded to Buy by B. Riley. Shares are surging after initially falling in AH trading in response to the light FQ3 guidance accompanying Autodesk's FQ2 beat.
- Jiayuan.com (DATE -3.4%) has been cut to Market Perform by Oppenheimer two day after posting Q2 results.
- SunEdison (SUNE -0.4%) has been upgraded to Buy by Needham a day after announcing plans to spin off its semiconductor wafer ops through an IPO.
Aug. 23, 2013, 9:59 AM
- Beaten-down Renren (RENN +7.6%) has jumped on the news; high-flying Baidu (BIDU -0.5%) is close to breakeven. The all-cash deal is expected to close in Q4. (PR)
- Baidu has been busy expanding the scope of its empire via M&A. Other recent acquisitions include top Chinese Android app store 91 Wireless ($1.9B), and video sites iQiyi and PPS.
- Nuomi, estimated to have an 11.6% share of the Chinese group-buying market (per local research firm tuan800), has a long history of posting losses. It had Q2 revenue of $6.2M (+69% Y/Y), and 3.8M active paying users during the quarter. 30% of its Q2 transactions came via mobile.
- Baidu's ability to promote Nuomi to its massive user base should help grow the site's paid user count, and in doing so increase its appeal to merchant partners. Nuomi is the Chinese group-buying market's 4th-largest player, behind Meituan (estimated 36.5% share), Dazhong (24.1%), and 55tuan (12.1%).
- The deal allows struggling Renren to focus on its online/mobile gaming and social networking ops going forward.
- Marbridge Consulting reported of Baidu's interest in Nuomi 10 days ago.
RENN vs. ETF Alternatives
Renren Inc is engaged in the operation of social networking internet platform, as well as provision of online advertising services and internet value-added services, including online gaming operations, online talent show and other IVAS, among others.
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