Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), LinkedIn Corporation (NASDAQ: LNKD), Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA), CrowdGather Inc. (OTCBB: CRWG) and other social media companies have a wide array of valuations in the public markets. In this article, we’ll compare those valuations to determine the most underpriced and overpriced plays in the burgeoning industry.
* Data from Google Finance and Yahoo! Finance; Revenue Growth % for CRWG represents increase in Q3 FY 2012 revenue compared to Q3 FY 2011.
CrowdGather: The Most Undervalued Play
CrowdGather Inc. (OTCBB: CRWG) appears to be the most undervalued play in the sector, with solid revenue growth and a low price-book ratio. Currently, investors can purchase the stock for slightly less than the value of its assets minus its liabilities, and benefit from strong revenue growth that could translate to profitability on the bottom line over the near-term.
Aside from these statistics, the company has also seen a number of other qualitative factors that could make it a good buy. The firm’s CEO, Sanjay Sabnani, has been a consistent buyer of the stock and has even retired a significant number of shares. In fact, the insider’s cost basis for acquiring these shares is significantly higher than the current share price.
From a growth prospective, CrowdGather also has a lot more blue-sky potential. It’s far easier for a $16.88 million company to double its size and deliver outsized investor returns than it is for a $5.1 billion or $92.8 billion company to do the same. As a result, investors may find that this stock has greater upside potential than many other more popular players.
High Multiples Could Benefit Smaller Stocks
Many companies in the social media space trade with lofty price-earnings multiples, such as Facebook’s (NADAQ: FB) 108.4x and LinkedIn’s (NYSE: LNKD) 604.3x multiples. While these are higher than other tech companies, such as Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) 18.44x or Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) 13.84x multiples, they are very positive signs for smaller companies that are approaching profitability.
For instance, CrowdGather is rapidly narrowing its net loss, and with high price-earnings multiples throughout the industry, the company could see its share price significantly higher if it were valued along the lines of the other Internet company multiples once it achieves profitability. And this could mean outsized returns for shareholders.
These multiples are largely driven by recent mergers and acquisitions in the space, such as Zynga’s buyout of the private company OMGPOP at a lofty price or Facebook’s purchase of Instagram for around $1 billion. Meanwhile, venture capital investments at similarly high multiples are also driving valuations higher throughout the sector.
Investing in the Social Media Sector
Many social media companies have experienced strong run-ups in valuation thanks to new IPOs, venture capital investments and M&A. However, some investors believe that these valuations may eventually prove too high to justify, especially in an industry that constantly changes. As a result, investors may be better of seeking undervalued plays with similar growth prospects.
CrowdGather Inc. (OTCBB: CRWG) is an owner and operator of a network of online communities that generate hundreds of millions of page views each month. With a market capitalization of just over $16 million, investors can purchase this stock for less than the value of its net assets and still benefit from the growth in the social media space.
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