Online Media Stocks Poised For Another Run?

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The role of technology as a great leveler has been very well documented and we can’t help but notice how the internet is disrupting the traditional media businesses while creating a parallel industry from ground up.

Even as investors continue to move out of newspaper and other traditional media stocks, there are similar avenues for investors to consider which are not very different from the earlier ones except the fact that they are often devoid of physical appearances. Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP), Move Inc. (NASDAQ:MOVE), and ValueClick Inc (NASDAQ:VCLK) are some such options for investors scouting for value in the same line of business. Here is a closer look:

Online Media Stocks Poised For Another Run?

Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) is an online community positioned largely as an urban discovery platform – a role newspapers have traditionally played by helping people find places to eat, shop, drink, and relax. Much the platforms’ content is developed by the users themselves. Like newspapers, Yelp’s revenue comes from local business advertising. Although far from being profitable, Yelp has been able to attract who’s who of the industry as investors and/or acquirer.

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) discovered the potential in this business model and offered to buy out Yelp three years back. More recently, there is speculation about whether Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP) would be a strategic acquisition for Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), which is looking to expand in the mobile space under the new leadership of Marissa Mayer. With a market capitalization of $1.6 billion and zero debt, Yelp may be a bit too difficult for Yahoo to swallow; but equally important would be the stance of Yelp management which famously declined Google’s bid in 2010. Constantly growing topline and margins are other factors due to which the management may not be interested to sell out as yet. In the most recent quarter, Yelp’s revenues grew 65 percent while losses reduced to $5.3 million from $9 million a year ago.

In a similar vein, Move Inc. (NASDAQ:MOVE) operates a network of websites for prospective real estate buyers and sellers. Needless to say, this line of business also finds its roots in newspapers, which are now moving online. Over the last 52 weeks, the stock has moved in the range between $6.92 – $11.96 and currently trades at $11.14. This is largely due to a number of analyst upgrades and positive buying sentiments.

Analysts at Benchmark have raised the target for the stock to $14 after the company reported nearly 12 percent growth in quarterly revenues last month. Although profits declined during the period, it is not uncommon to see a quarter or two marred by higher costs in grow-stage companies. Move has got something of a tailwind with improving housing market in the country as more prospective buyers head to property websites.

ValueClick Inc (NASDAQ:VCLK) is a facilitator of sorts for companies mentioned above and have seen its valuations swell more than 50 percent last year. The company’s business model revolves around technology infrastructure tools that enable marketers to engage with the customers online and through mobile devices. In the most recent quarter, the company reported a 13.7 percent jump in revenue to $199 million while profits grew even sharper at 28.9 percent to $36 million. It also offered first quarter guidance well above street expectations. What followed was a flurry of upgrades which has Jefferies as the latest to join the list with a price target of $35. The stock currently trades at $30.5 after a 10 percent jump today.

Overall, these stocks appear to be an excellent fit for investors looking to put their greenbacks in annuity businesses. Except Yelp, none of the above mentioned companies has a strong brand recall but these businesses are still robust and are capable of growing in double digits quarter after quarter. However, caution must be exercised in entering these stocks as Move Inc. (NASDAQ:MOVE) and ValueClick Inc (NASDAQ:VCLK) are trading near their 52 week high levels.

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