Eric Savitz, Forbes Staff
CLSA Asia Pacific Markets analyst James Lee appears to be the first Wall Street analyst to weigh in with a report on Facebook, which is now in registration for a $5 billion initial public offering.
Lee’s take: the company is worth between $100 billion and $130 billion.
“Facebook is becoming the connective tissue of the Web, linking people’s social, interest and knowledge graphs,” he writes in his 56-page reports on the company. “We expect it to continue to increase its user base and time spent on the site, especially in international markets, creating an enormous opportunity for advertisers to deliver personalized marketing on a global scale. We expect Facebook to outperform other digital-media platforms and enjoy a 40% earnings [growth rate].”
Lee adds that from a monetization standpoint, he sees the company following the path of search – from organic to paid. “We saw the transition to paid search as a key inflection point for Google and are starting to see the tip of the iceberg for Facebook’s monetization,” he writes. “By 2015, we expect the company to triple its advertising revenue to nearly US$10 billion, yet still command only 6.5% of the total global online-advertising market share.”
The analyst adds that growth opportunities – including international expansion, mobile ads, new transaction businesses, ad network and content syndication should boost the company’s addressable market by $145 billion. “We see optionality value in yet- to-be-announced businesses such as ad network and content syndication,” he writes.
Here’s the basics of his financial forecast:
2012: Revenue $5.602 billion, adjusted profits 66 cents a share.
2013: Revenue $8.182 billion, adjusted profits 87 cents a share.
2014: Revenue $11.002 billion, adjusted profits 97 cents a share.
2015: Revenue $14.159 billion, adjusted profits $1.19 a share.