Next Stop for Facebook: $35?

Before you know it, analysts will start offering up price targets on Facebook (NASDAQ: FB  ) that are higher than May's $38 IPO.

Capstone Investments analyst Rory Maher became the latest Wall Street pro to up the ante on the leading social networking website operator. Maher is sticking with his buy rating, but his price target is going from $26 to $35.

It's not the only thing that Maher is bumping higher.

He's raising his revenue and profit expectations through the next couple of years. Maher now sees Facebook earning $0.66 a share on $6.92 billion in revenue next year, rising to $0.87 a share on $9.63 billion in revenue come 2014.

Skeptics will argue that Facebook would still be expensive at 40 times Maher's profit estimate two years out, but this is a company that's just starting to scratch the surface of its monetization possibilities.

It wasn't until earlier this year that the company introduced the Sponsored Stories spots that are finally paying off in mobile and the recently launched Facebook Exchange to make its online marketing marketplace more effective.

There are also areas where Facebook has yet to even start the monetization process. Unlike Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) YouTube that is now rife with pre-roll ads and other marketing spots, Facebook's popular video platform remains commercial-free.

Maher points out that Facebook has rounded up as many local listings as Google or Yelp (NYSE: YELP  ) , but it has yet to turn on the fire hose of monetization in that lucrative area.

Valuation skeptics may want to note that Facebook is fetching a much lower forward earnings multiple than Yelp. Yes, Google is far cheaper -- but it's also growing a lot slower.

Then we can get to this holiday season's debut of Facebook Gifts or the inevitable rollout of a Facebook search engine.

By the time that Facebook crawls its way back to $38 -- and it will -- the company will be so much bigger and fundamentally potent than it was when it went public.

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  • Report this Comment On December 12, 2012, at 11:08 PM, kthor wrote:

    all those employees are just waiting for $35-40 to unload ...ouch

  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2012, at 12:34 AM, tomfoolme wrote:

    "Maher points out that Google has rounded up as many local listings as Google or Yelp"

    Google? or facebook ?

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