After an epic rise in 2020, tech stocks have hit a rough patch to kick off 2021. Some companies are running into slowdowns in their growth trajectories, as they start to lap the bump in business they got a year ago when the pandemic started.
That doesn't mean all of these businesses are spent, though. Far from it: Many have incredibly bright outlooks and are screaming buys after getting caught up in the recent sell-off. Right now, three Fool.com contributors think Wix.com (WIX 2.08%), Roku (ROKU 3.41%), and Naspers (NPSNY -0.36%) are worth a look.
Building modern websites for small businesses
Nicholas Rossolillo (Wix.com): Wix turned in a fantastic start to 2021, but many investors chose to focus on the company's decision to stop disclosing specific user and premium subscriber counts (the service reached 200 million registered users worldwide in February, and nearly 5.5 million premium subscribers at the end of 2020). Sometimes a company will stop divulging metrics that no longer paint a favorable picture, but I don't think that's what's going on here. Wix already boasts a massive following, but user-count growth, and more importantly, user activity on Wix services, are already implied by the company's revenue trajectory.
And on that front, Wix did exceptionally well in the first quarter of 2021. Revenue increased 41% year over year to $304 million, and management said to expect full-year revenue growth of 29% to 30%, to at least $1.28 billion -- building on top of the 30% gain in sales it notched in 2020. Free cash flow (FCF) is anticipated to be just $62 million to $72 million as the company spends to expand its reach in global e-commerce, an FCF profit margin of about 5%. However, Wix was generating FCF margin of nearly 20% last year, pretty good for a high-growth tech company. Eventually, I expect Wix will return to those profitability levels, and when it does, it will be a much larger business than it was before.
For now, though, Wix is focusing on the tens of millions of small- and midsize-business relationships it has around the world. Recent product launches -- like Editor X for advertising agencies, and Wix integration with Alphabet's Google, so businesses can manage their web search presence -- will help it deepen those relationships; so will the acquisition of gift-card and store-credit tech outfit Rise.ai. In fact, Wix's aim is to build out easy-to-use e-commerce capabilities to help small businesses -- from local restaurants to event centers to fitness instructors -- have a quality online presence. CEO Avishai Abrahami said on the Q1 earnings call that the goal is to have half of all new web content created on Wix within the next five to seven years.
The company is already well on its way toward accomplishing its mission. I think Wix stock is a compelling value, after getting sold off because of myopic views on elimination of user-count metrics. Shares trade for under 11 times full-year revenue expectations, the cheapest they've been since the start of the pandemic, even though the company's growth trajectory hasn't lost any steam. I, for one, am a buyer at these levels.
A surefire winner in the media-streaming wars
Anders Bylund (Roku): Media-streaming technology expert Roku (ROKU 3.41%) skyrocketed 148% higher in 2020 but has struggled to maintain that momentum in 2021. These days, the stock is trading more than 30% below January's all-time highs.
The thing is, Roku's long-term growth story really hasn't changed. The shifting investor attitude is based on broader market trends, not on any flaws in Roku's business plan.
This company is crushing analyst targets with astonishing consistency. Roku has delivered positive earnings in the last three quarterly reports, when the Street was expecting negative bottom-line results in every case. Revenue exceeded analyst estimates by an average of 15% over the same period, including a 17% outperformance in the recent first-quarter update.
Roku is often lumped together with other stocks that rose sharply during the 2020 coronavirus lockdowns. The basic assumption is that Roku's business prospects surely will fade once the health crisis is over, setting the stock up for a massive price drop.
That's a big mistake. Roku's value as a long-term investment may have seen a modest boost from the pandemic, but the media-streaming market started to boom before COVID-19 came along and will continue to disrupt the global media market for many years to come.
"Streaming services are taking advantage of the tools Roku offers to help build audience and make their streaming business successful," Roku founder and CEO Anthony Wood said in the first-quarter earnings call. "We believe the inevitability of streaming is clear and that Roku's business model allows us to optimize streaming for all stakeholders, including viewers, advertisers, and content partners."
In other words, Roku stands to win as media-streaming services supplant cable TV and movie theaters around the world, and it really doesn't matter exactly which streaming services come out on top. All of them depend more and more on Roku's technology platforms and ad-buying services.
And now I can buy this big winner at a 30% discount. Where do I sign up?
A premier large cap at half-price, with a near-term catalyst on the horizon
Billy Duberstein (Naspers): Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings (TCEHY -1.28%) is down a little more than 20% from its February highs, which is not quite as bad as many software stocks, but still much worse than the FAANG stocks here in the U.S.
But the really big bargain isn't in Tencent itself: It's in its largest shareholder, Naspers, which owns almost 29% of the Chinese giant through its majority stake in Prosus (PROSY -0.54%). Both stocks are down by a similar amount. For those unfamiliar with the company, Naspers invested $32 million for one-third of Tencent in 2001. Flash forward to today, and that stake is now worth nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars.
The problem? Naspers began trading at a huge discount to the value of Tencent alone, never mind its billions in other emerging-market companies across classifieds, fintech, and food delivery. Naspers attributed the growing discount to its being listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), so in 2019, Naspers created Prosus. That company housed basically all of its investments outside South Africa (including Tencent), and listed itself on the larger Euronext exchange in Amsterdam, selling about 27% of Prosus to the public. But that didn't really work either: Prosus then began selling at a similar discount...and Naspers traded at a discount even to the value of its stake in Prosus.
So why is Naspers an especially compelling value today? Because Naspers and Prosus have taken three recent actions that could close the discount later this year. First, Prosus announced a $5 billion share repurchase program back in October, divided between both Prosus and Naspers shares, and Naspers just disclosed Prosus had already bought back 3% of shares outstanding in about six months. Repurchasing shares at a massive discount to intrinsic value adds long-term values for shareholders.
Second, Prosus cashed in about 2% of Tencent in early April, at prices higher than Tencent trades for today, lowering its stake from 31% to roughly 29%. That sale brought in $14.6 billion. Now flush with cash, Prosus can use the windfall to grow its non-Tencent business, and/or continue repurchasing shares.
Finally, following the partial sale of the Tencent stake, Naspers and Prosus just announced a share swap plan, in which Prosus would swap its less-discounted shares for the more-discounted Naspers shares, with the aim of acquiring 49.5% of Naspers. The thinking is that it would lower Naspers' 23% weighting on the JSE, giving it more "room" to grow toward fair value. Meanwhile, Prosus will have a bigger free float, and would therefore get higher weightings in European indexes and exchange-traded funds, which could theoretically close the discount to Tencent. In addition, the company announced the potential for another $5 billion buyback of Prosus shares after the transaction.
Between the ongoing repurchases, and the potential catalyst of the upcoming share swap (which should occur in the third quarter), investors can get a nice double discount today -- with another potential catalyst on the horizon, after the Tencent/Prosus/Naspers sell-off.