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Snap Carries 'Significant Risks,' Moffett Nathanson Initiates At Sell

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Snap Inc (NYSE: SNAP) may be loved by retail investors, but it's becoming the ultimate contrarian play with institutional investors.

Moffett Nathanson initiated coverage on Snap with a Sell rating and $15 price target. The firm believes the “market has officially priced SNAP for perfection” following its IPO. Analysts believe the company will mimic a Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR)-like trajectory over the net year as opposed from a steady rise from current levels.

While Moffett Nathanson acknowledged Snap’s high engagement and innovation potential, it sees significant risks to the story.

3 Potential Risks Facing Snap

Slowing Daily Active User Growth

“This has been a well-flaggd concern as 2H16 DAU growth slowed dramatically as competitors co-opted SNAP’s best feautres. This is no accident as we think SNAP is near the upper bound of the 13-34 year old core demo in the U.S. and we have concerns that those 35+ wont contribute meaningful engagement.”

Limited Revenue TAM

“We think there’s a limit to ad dollars targeted at SNAP’s key demos. The TAM of TV brand dollars at domestic cable nets which over index to SNAP’s demos is only $7.5bn. Unlike FB and GOOG, direct response and SMB dollars could remain largely out of SNAP’s reach.”


While Snap acknowledged this difficulty in its S-1 filing, institutions are still looking for the company to turn a profit before pegging this company as an attractive investment.

“We’ve analyzed the historic profitability of peers and think SNAP’s income statement is going to look a lot more like TWTR than FB," Moffett Nathanson said. "SNAP is years away from turning a profit. It just achieved positive gross margin and there’s no guarantee of GAAP profitability in the next 5 years (or even positive adj. EBITDA). A decade in, TWTR is still in the red.”

Despite the significant risks Snap is exposed to, Moffett Nathanson’s price target is based on ~5x 2020 revenue, still in line with the highest large-cap Internet companies. The company is expected to grow twice as fast as the best in class Internet companies like Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE: BABA) by 2020.

Related Links:

Will Snapchat Go The Way Of Facebook-Or Twitter?

It's No Secret:Retail Investors Love Snapchat

Latest Ratings for SNAP

Mar 2017Loop CapitalInitiates Coverage OnHold
Mar 2017BarclaysInitiates Coverage OnEqual-Weight
Mar 2017CitigroupInitiates Coverage OnBuy

View More Analyst Ratings for SNAP
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

Posted-In: Moffett NathansonAnalyst Color Price Target Initiation Analyst Ratings Best of Benzinga


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