Millennial Media (NYSE: MM ) was one of last week's biggest gainers, moving 11% higher after a few positive developments.
On Tuesday, the online marketer announced the availability of the Millennial Media Exchange -- or MMX -- a platform that the company claims will deliver superior results, greater control, and improved monetization opportunities.
On Friday, Millennial Media received antitrust clearance for its pending acquisition of Jumptap, an programmatic audience platform that reaches 439 million mobile users worldwide.
We also can't ignore Rocket Fuel's IPO taking off on Friday. The provider of digital advertising solutions soared 93% on its first day of trading, likely drawing attention to other digital marketers that haven't been as successful.
Millennial Media went public last year at $13. It moved higher initially, but now it's joined the ranks of busted IPOs. It's still waffling about in the single digits even after last week's pop.
Millennial Media's appeal is simple enough to grasp. It provides developers of mobile apps a way to monetize their offerings across all of the major mobile operating systems. There's certainly growth to be had as the leading mobile advertising that's operating-system agnostic. Revenue climbed 45% in its latest quarter. Margins improved, but profitability remains inconsistent.
Rocket Fuel's success last week may help reverse the sentiment that has kept many of the recent online advertising debutantes in check.
YuMe has finally cracked above its $9 price from last month's IPO, but that also took the work of all of its underwriters initiating coverage with bullish ratings earlier this month when the stock was trading below its initial price.
There's no denying that Internet advertising will continue to be a hot market. The challenge for Millennial Media is proving to investors that it will be worth today's price of admission.
Healthy organic gains, new initiatives including the MMX advertising platform, and acquisitions will continue to point Millennial Media in the right direction. Analysts see revenue growth accelerating to soar 60% next year. They also see profitability popping fivefold to hit $0.26 a share. The growth is impressive, but the forward earnings multiple is stubbornly steep.
However, as the smartphone market continues to grow, it's hard to resist Millennial Media's appeal as one of the leading resources for developers to get paid on their apps. It may take some time for the fast-growing company to catch up last year's IPO price of $13, but it is taking the right steps to get there eventually.
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