Initial investor reaction to Yahoo’s earnings report was tepid, but the stock moved higher today as investors took a second and third look at it. Analyst commentary is mixed, with some raising their price targets and others cutting theirs and more than one firm noting that one thing was missing from last night’s report: any kind of update on the strategic review Yahoo is conducting.
Yahoo price target raised by RJ, Citi, Macquarie
Raymond James analyst Aaron Kessler upped his price target on Yahoo from $41 to $45 per share and maintained his Outperform rating on the stock. Net revenue fell 18% year over year to $859 million, although it beat consensus estimates as better-than-expected Display revenue offset falling Search and Other revenue. Kessler noted that there was upside to Yahoo’s adjusted EBITDA, which came in at $147 million, representing a 27% beat over consensus. It also beat the guide of $100 million to $120 million.
Citi analyst Mark May bumped up his target from $37 to $38 per share following last night’s earnings report, noting that management confirmed their focus on strategic alternatives but had no other details. They’re considering looking into selling the core business, although there’s been debate about just how serious they are about doing it.
Macquarie Research analyst Ben Schachter upped his price target on Yahoo from $33 to $36 per share and said that despite the lack of an update on any potential strategic alternatives, the focus remains on what will happen. He pegs the value of the company’s core business at between $4 billion and $8 billion, excluding cash, with the rest of the value coming from being able to figure out the way to do a deal in the most tax efficient manner possible.
Wells Fargo analyst Peter Stabler raised his valuation range for Yahoo from between $38 and $39 per share to between $39 and $40 per share but noted that management’s guidance was rather weak
Yahoo a “special situation story”
Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak is still one of the most constructive analysts on Yahoo with a $46 price target and Overweight rating on the stock. He calls it a “special situation story” because of all the speculations about selling the core business and adds that most of his upside to the stock comes from appreciation in Alibaba shares, although he adds that if the core business sells for more than expected or if the tax efficiency is better than expected, there’s room for upside. Despite his constructiveness on Yahoo stock, however, Nowak trimmed his price target by $1 to $46 per share.
Credit Suisse analyst Stephen Ju also trimmed his price target from $47 to $46 per share and expressed dissatisfaction at the lack of a strategic update. He also noted that fundamentally, the strength Yahoo saw in Display was the result of continued growth in volumes, but weakness in search and click volume offset that strength.
Shares of Yahoo climbed by more than 4% to $37.84 during regular trading hours on Wednesday.