2 Social Media Companies To Consider In The Coming Week

Includes: GRPN, MSFT, ZNGA
by: Matt Schilling

In what many investors believed should have been a positive day for social gaming developer Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA), when all was said and done, it clearly wasn't. Expectations ran high as the company was set to unveil several new gaming titles as well as demonstrate, in some capacity, an independence from Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). Zynga was successful in unveiling new titles; however the creation of its own social network, "Zynga with Friends" hasn't gone over too well, as the appetite for such a social media outlet isn't as present as ZNGA would like it to be. That being said, two other social media companies caught my eye and are worth examining a bit closer for both near-term and long-term investment opportunities.

LinkedIn Corp. (LNKD): LNKD, which trades in a 52-week range of $55.98 (52-week low) and $120.63 (52-week high), closed trading at $106.42/share on Tuesday. Shares were up roughly 3.25% during trading on Tuesday, as Capstone announced new per user valuations for the business oriented social network. The analyst firm noted that each of the company's roughly 200 million users has an individual value of $5 per user, and raised its price target to $145/share.

I think LNKD is very attractive at these levels, not only because of Capstone's valuations, which in my opinion are a bit conservative, but because of the continued EPS growth the company has to offer potential investors. The company has surpassed earnings estimates by a whopping average of 156% over the last four quarters, and should continue to surpass estimates in the upcoming quarters as well.

For the June quarter analysts are expecting LNKD to earn $0.16/share on revenue of $216.08 million, and for the year, analysts expect LNKD to earn $0.68/share on revenue of 908.17 million dollars. For investors looking to establish a position in LinkedIn, especially at these levels I'd begin with a medium-sized position and add gradually to that position as earnings announcements get closer.

Groupon, Inc. (NASDAQ:GRPN): GRPN, which trades in a 52-week range of $8.80 (52-week low) and $31.14 (52-week high), closed trading at a $10.25/share on Tuesday. Shares were up nearly 3.6% during trading on Tuesday, as the company announced an alliance with FTuan, a Chinese based e-commerce platform similar in scope to that of Groupon.

The news of a Chinese alliance helps Groupon on several levels and should increase the attractiveness of the company, especially since its trading near the lower end of its 52-week range. Now that GRPN has the ability to capture a percentage of the discount e-commerce market in China, bottom line numbers could be enhanced as a result, and we could continue to see an upward swing in share price.

On paper, the last two quarters were by no means great, and if Groupon wants to turn things around it needs to demonstrate a better presence in both North America and various other international markets such as Europe and Asia. That being said, I'd still be cautious when establishing a position in GRPN, and begin with a small- to medium-sized one based and then gradually add to that position as earnings dates approach.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.