GoPro stock plunged to an all-time low today after Goldman Sachs analysts downgraded it to Sell. However, the rapid plunge is calling some to make contrarian bullish calls on it and others to suggest an even wackier idea: for Snap to buy GoPro.
GoPro stock downgraded for cash burn, product challenges
In a research note dated March 6, Goldman analyst Simona Jankowski said she has downgraded GoPro stock from Neutral to Sell and slashed her price target from $9.50 to $6 per share. That suggested 32% downside from the price of the stock before it was affected by her downgrade. Seeing as how GoPro stock tanked by nearly 10% today, the downside percentage has been reduced, but the shares remain above her price target, trading at around $8 apiece.
Jankowski’s new estimates are below consensus because she continues to expect fundamental struggles to drag the action camera maker down. GoPro had a disappointing holiday shopping season because too many of its cameras were left behind, according to supplier Ambarella. Interestingly, Wall Street was happy when Ambarella cut ties with GoPro, and some analysts even upgraded its stock last week because of the loss of the camera maker as a customer.
Competition, restructuring hurt GoPro
Competition is also a growing concern for GoPro, particularly in the face of new competitor YI Technology, which offers comparable products at much lower prices. Jankowski is also concerned that the company’s restructuring will scale back its ability to differentiate itself on content because it dumped its entertainment group.
Also the Karma drone has been a problem since launch, as GoPro had to recall it for safety issues shortly after it started to land in customers’ hands. Jankowski also feels that the Karma lags the drones made by DJI in a number features and performance, so she doubts it will gain any meaningful share of the market.
As a result of all these problems, she cut her full-year non-GAAP losses per share estimate to 70 cents from 62 cents in losses per share previously. She also slashed her sales estimates and earnings per share estimates for 2018 and 2019.
In order to become more positive on GoPro stock, she needs to see big improvements in product execution and launches, strong value propositions in the HERO6 camera, a “more compelling” drone, and “a compelling integrated 360 video capture device” rather than the rig product it currently offers. However, she needs to see all of these things without “a significant level of cash burn” because she feels that would be a big negative for GoPro stock.
Go long on GoPro?
Meanwhile, InvestorPlace contributor Nicolas Chahine sees a promising entry point for GoPro stock now that the shares have fallen “into an abyss.” He believes investors are abandoning the stock and pouring into Snap, which held its initial public offering on Thursday. He suggests that they’re looking to gain back some of the losses they incurred from having a stake in GoPro.
He notes that the two companies don’t have anything in common though, as one makes action cameras and drones while the other operates a messaging platform. Additionally, he points out that the videos shared on Snapchat appear to be “more general” than those shared via GoPro’s cameras and video platform.
An options play on GoPro stock
Despite the massive decline in GoPro stock, he thinks it will “eventually” turn around and that the “hate” for it “should abate eventually.” He thinks the company’s products are “cool” and, unlike Jankowski, doesn’t believe it has many “high-profile direct competitors.” He doesn’t really trust GoPro’s management, but he believes “someone will eventually figure the stock out.”
That’s hardly a vote of confidence, is it? So it’s no surprise that the long bet he proposes is an option play rather than just buying GoPro stock outright. His view is based on “GoPro stock eventually becoming attractive to old fans who revalue their re-entry levels.”
The play he offers is selling the Jan 2018 $5/$3 credit put spread on GoPro, a bullish trade that, if successful, would yield him more than 30% on the money he risks. He just needs the shares to stay higher than his sold spread to “win.” He notes that this is speculative, however, and all he’s assuming is that the company will “eventually survive,” although he certainly doesn’t need it to thrive in order to turn a profit.
What if Snap bought GoPro?
Forbes contributor Peter Cohan had an even more interesting suggestion for GoPro that, like Chahine’s article, also involves Snapchat parent Snap. In this case, he believes Snap should buy the struggling camera company. The company’s shares declined by nearly 8% decline on Monday as apparently, investors came back down to earth quickly after sending shares skyrocketing on their first two days of trading last week.
Even with the decline though, he says Snap has about $29 billion it could use as “acquisition currency.” He feels that the company could acquire the growth it desperately needs right now by buying GoPro for even less money it could buy it for last week. He points out that the company has shelled out about $500 million for acquisitions since May 2014.
For some strange reason, Snap apparently markets itself as a camera company, according to Cohan. So if it really is a camera company, why not start making cameras by buying a camera maker it can pick up cheaply. GoPro went public in June 2014, and its stock skyrocketed to around $90 per share, but today’s plunge has brought the company’s market capitalization down to $1.1 billion—compared to Snap’s $32 billion market cap.
Why should Snap merge with GoPro?
So Cohan offers three reasons Snap should buy GoPro. First, he notes that the action camera market is quite large and growing fast, with Beige Market Intelligence forecasting a 23% annual growth rate to hit $10 billion within four years.
The second is that he believes the merged company could be better off, as the Snapchat parent might be able to help with software enhancements and cost synergies. In exchange, it would get more growth and revenue. And third, he believes Snap might be able to earn back the purchase premium quickly, even if it were to pay $1.5 billion for the struggling camera company.