Meg Whitman has never lacked confidence, that's for sure.
Two years ago, the eBay
Whitman also stuck with guidance for this year's fourth quarter and said full-year free cash flow would come in around $300 million, or more than 50% higher than 2001. Even better, 2003 free cash flow could grow 67% to $500 million.
One of the major sources of growth over the next five years will come from overseas operations, which have already been profitable for four consecutive quarters. "I really didn't know how universally relevant this model was," Whitman told Reuters. "I didn't know if it would take off in places like Brazil and Argentina and Germany." But take off it did, and now Whitman expects the international division to exceed the size of U.S. operations sometime after 2005.
The management team is presenting an extremely rosy picture, but it's hard to be skeptical. eBay has performed as close to flawless as a company can, time after time meeting or exceeding what it promised. In short, there's simply nothing to complain about, business-wise.
Yes, the stock is trading at about 55 times next year's earnings. But how many companies are growing free cash flow by 67% year over year? Other than granting more employee stock options than it should, there's just not much we don't like about eBay.