Snapchat’s Still a Buy, Says Leading Internet Stock Analyst

Jul 17, 2017

Everyone is down on Snap stock these days—everyone that is except Mark Mahaney, a well-known analyst with RBC Capital Markets who has tracked Internet companies for 20 years.

Speaking at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colo. on Monday, Mahaney put forth a rare bullish case for the maker of Snapchat, which dropped below its $17 initial public offering price last month amid weak results that spooked investors. In Mahaney's view, Snap skeptics are over-reacting to its current woes, which include fierce competition for Facebook and a failure to meet lofty earnings targets.

The tech company's shares traded as high as $24 after it went public in March. But its stock is now in a trough closer to $15.

"When you have that kind of [growth] multiple, you can't miss," he acknowledged, but he said Snap share prices will rebound—and even double—by late this year or early 2018.

Mahaney's optimism stems from his view that Snap remains an extremely innovative tech company, citing its latest product, a location sharing feature called Snap Map, as the latest example.

He also argued Snap is "dramatically under-monetized" compared to firms like Facebook and, especially compared to Twitter. Mahaney predicts the company will begin layering on money-making services, and will one day grow to a quarter the size of Facebook.

Mahaney did concede that, as an investment, Snap is "way out there" when it comes to risk and that he is an outlier in putting a "buy" label on the service, which has a devoted follower among teens and millennials, but has been losing ground to Facebook's Instagram.

His buy prediction is a bold one but, if Snap shares hit $30 come early 2018, Mahaney might burnish his stock-picking reputation like never before.

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