CRM : NYSE : US$55.71 BUY
WHAT THE FIRM COULD DO TO HELP THE STOCK OUTPERFORM THE MARKET.
As the best-in-class cloud software firm, Salesforce remains our favorite large cap
growth stock. With more transparency (revenue run-rates of the various clouds was
a good start), the firm could see multiple expansion; however, even if this doesn’t
happen, we expect the shares to advance at least 20% over the next 12 months.
That’s a worthwhile potential return for a large cap stock. BUY.
Another upside print. CRM reported Q2/15 revenues and non-GAAP EPS of
$1.32B and $0.13, which were respectively $29M and a penny ahead of our
estimates. Constant currency revenue growth was 37% in the quarter, and
calculated billings of $1.35B were nicely ahead of our $1.30B estimate and up
33% compared to a year ago. Total backlog (billed and unbilled) ended the
quarter at $7.35B, which is up 17% versus Q2/14. Lastly, CRM generated FCF
of $174M, or $0.27 per share, which was well ahead of our $0.18 estimate;
YTD FCF is up 90% compared to 1H/14.
Color from the call. The firm noted an 8-figure deal (one of several) with 3M in
the quarter as well as a Salesforce1 Platform deal with Safeway. In the quarter,
sales cloud was 49% of subscription revenue, service cloud 26% (though the
fastest growing), SF1 platform 15%, and marketing cloud 10%. On the event
front, CRM will host its Connections marketing cloud conference in late
September (which could pressure a stock like MKTO as the firm makes noise on
that front), and management suggested that the firm will be introducing an
entirely new product line and category at Dreamforce in October.
Outlook: F2015 revenues increase ~$40M, EPS inches up by a penny. This was
a classic beat and modest raise quarter. Revised guidance points to 32%
revenue growth and ~150 bps of operating margin expansion in F2015.
Interestingly, Q3/15 marks the first full quarter that CRM will have lapped the
ET acquisition, and implied billings guidance suggests healthy, 25% growth
Much more accurate calls were made by Wells Fargo, Atlantic Equities , Macquarie Research, and Jack A. Bass ,who advised clients to get out of the high-flying stock about the time it peaked in December.
On Wednesday the stock fell as low as $37.24, 50 percent below its peak of $74.73 the day after Christmas, wiping almost $18 billion off Twitter’s market capitalization.
The downgrades, and the subsequent swoon by the stock, reflect concern about slowing growth in Twitter’s user base and the company’s ability to reverse the trend. Year-on-year growth in the number of Twitter users has fallen for five straight quarters, and the company said on Tuesday that its 255 million monthly users, on average, appeared to check the service less frequently than a year ago.
That in turn has fueled doubts that Twitter could one day attract as many users as Facebook Inc’s 1.2 billion, or match its much larger rival’s power as an advertising vehicle. It’s also raised questions over whether it can sustain growth over the long term. While no one is suggesting Twitter will lose its consumer cachet as happened to companies such as MySpace or Orkut, neither can anyone guarantee that as tastes change newer rivals won’t usurp it.
“Can they become a mainstream company? That’s the open question,” said Ben Schachter, the Macquarie Securities analyst who downgraded Twitter’s stock to “underperform” on December 27 – the day after it peaked.
It’s a far cry from the enthusiasm that greeted the company when it debuted on the New York Stock Exchange on November 7 and its shares soared 73 percent over the offering price. There was no let-up for the next two months, as the stock scaled fresh highs with little or no news to justify the valuation.
That got some analysts worried. Schachter, speaking to Reuters on Thursday, recalls a “runaway momentum.”