Forbes has just released its annual list of the top 25 fastest-growing tech names, and much like the Fortune 500, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) is climbing the ranks. That's particularly interesting considering that most of the companies on this list are small to medium-sized players, yet the colossus from Cupertino fits right in.
Professional social networker and recent Rule Breakers recommendation LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD ) scored the No. 1 spot this year, growing its trailing-12-month sales of $522 million by 115%. Apple came in second place with its behemoth $142.4 billion in TTM revenue and 63% revenue growth. For brevity's sake, I won't include the entire list, which can be found here, but will instead list some notable mentions.
TTM Sales Growth
3-Year Average Sales Growth
Estimated EPS Growth
|1||$522 million||115%||89%||60%||$11.1 billion|
|2||Apple||$142.4 billion||63%||43%||18%||$568.6 billion|
|3||Qlik Technologies||$337 million||37%||40%||37%||$2.1 billion|
|4||athenahealth||$351 million||34%||33%||30%||$2.6 billion|
|5||Equinix||$1.7 billion||27%||32%||23%||$7.2 billion|
|6||Ebix||$169 million||28%||32%||23%||$684 million|
|8||Riverbed Technology (Nasdaq: RVBD )||$745 million||24%||31%||20%||$2.7 billion|
|11||Sourcefire||$166 million||27%||29%||20%||$1.6 billion|
|15||Ancestry.com (Nasdaq: ACOM )||$417 million||27%||27%||15%||$1.1 billion|
|18||Rackspace Hosting (NYSE: RAX )||$1.03 billion||31%||24%||39%||$7.7 billion|
|21||Red Hat||$1.1 billion||25%||20%||20%||$10.9 billion|
|25||VeriSign||$796 million||14%||11%||12%||$6.6 billion|
Source: Forbes. Estimated EPS growth is annualized and projected over the next three to five years.
Looking at the TTM revenue and market-cap columns, Apple sticks out like a sore iThumb with its monstrous top line and size. It ranked No. 16 in 2011, moving up by 14 spots this year.
In terms of TTM sales, Cognizant Technology Solutions is the next highest with $6.1 billion, meaning Apple's top line is more than 23 times as big. Cognizant also has the second highest market cap at $18.6 billion, so Apple's capitalization is more than 30 times as large.
Riverbed still made the cut this year, although it fell five spots from the No. 3 ranking it earned last year. Its ranking isn't all that's fallen over the year, as shares hit a fresh 52-week low today. The WAN optimization specialist has put up disappointing earnings three out of the past four quarters, with its most recent plunge being the worst. Investors are questioning whether or not the WAN optimization sector has as much growth potential as Riverbed had believed, while the company is looking to expand and become a multiproduct company.
Ancestry.com has been on a roller coaster of late, jumping on its upbeat first-quarter earnings in April, only to get crushed today on news that NBC has opted not to renew Who Do You Think You Are? for a fourth season. Ancestry.com has long been a sponsor of the genealogy-centric show, which has helped drive interest to its genealogy-centric site. In its most recent 10-Q filing, Ancestry.com lists Who Do You Think You Are? as a specific risk factor, noting, "if the show does not continue to be well received or cancelled, it could have a negative effect on our business and our stock price." Investors can only hope the company will be able to broaden its marketing strategy to compensate.
Rackspace is a longtime Rule Breakers pick and has literally earned hundreds of points of outperformance on the service's scorecard, thanks to its top-dog and first-mover advantage in the critical cloud hosting business. Despite increasing competition from e-tail giant Amazon.com, whose Amazon Web Services division has lowered prices 19 times in five years, Rackspace is still putting up stellar growth. Shares tanked after the most recent quarter when earnings per share came in a penny shy, but I agree with fellow Fool Anders Bylund that the drop is really a buying opportunity in disguise.
Out of the top 25 fastest growing tech companies, a solid eight are official Rule Breakers recs, with another three sitting on the Stock Advisor scorecard, so almost half have earned Foolish recommendations. Don't forget to sign up for free trials of those respective services if you want to read more, in addition to getting a jump-start on the next batch of recs.
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