FireEye higher as Piper upgrades following analyst day

|By:, SA News Editor

Piper's Andrew Nowinski, who smartly downgraded FireEye (NASDAQ:FEYE) to Neutral last October (shares were at $33.06 at the time), has upgraded to Overweight following yesterday's analyst day, and hiked his target by $9 to $24. Shares are up 4.6% premarket to $18.74.

Nowinski: "We are upgrading FEYE to Overweight based on four factors. First, we believe FireEye will be successful in transitioning to an “As-a-Service” model, given the increasing complexity of the security environment and FireEye’s best-in-class intelligence gathering capabilities. Second, we believe FireEye can effectively leverage the channel to drive international expansion, without a significant increase in operating expenses. Third, we believe FireEye has a strong product roadmap, with new products designed to penetrate the SMB market as well as virtual products designed to target the cloud. Finally, we believe the culmination of these factors will enable FireEye to reach profitability in the second half of 2017."

Wells Fargo's Gray Powell (Market Perform) has upped his valuation range by $1 to $16-$17. He notes the two key themes of yesterday's meetings were a shift towards emphasizing FireEye as a Service (FaaS) - it has only only 8%+ penetration within the customer base, but had a $100M+ annual run rate as of Q4 - and re-architecting FireEye's MVX malware-prevention engine so that it can be offered as a software-based service (thus helping FireEye penetrate SMBs and branch offices, as well as improve intelligence-gathering for other products).

Wedbush's Steve Koenig (Neutral, target hiked by $1 to $18): "We think the company has the right strategy in pivoting towards providing a global threat management platform delivered as a service. This pivot involves a higher mix of technology-enabled services, subscription-based offerings, and cloud-based technology delivery ... The company plans new subscription-based offerings that can address distributed environments (e.g. retail and banking) in 2H16 and SMB customers with a pure cloud offering in early 2017."

FireEye's analyst day slides

Yesterday: FireEye slightly hikes 2016 EPS guidance

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