It doesn’t look like the turmoil Facebook Inc (FB) is experiencing will end any time soon, despite analysts’ attempts to calm investor fears. Finally, we’re starting to see signs that one or two analysts are starting to see the new reality for Facebook stock. One analyst cut his FB price target, although he emphasized that he’s still bullish on the shares. Meanwhile, one of the few bears on Facebook stock forecasts investors’ worst fears coming true
FB price target slashed
In a note today, Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak said he slashed his FB price target from $230 to $200 per share, although he maintained his Overweight rating, citing his firm’s ad checks. They spoke to eight ad agencies or advertisers and said they aren’t sensing any “material reduction in ad spend.” However, Nowak cut his FB price target because he does expect the company’s revenue to fall, leading to lower earnings per share and resulting in his reduced price target.
Facebook announced this week that it’s halting its third-party data provider partnerships, and Nowak said investors have become concerned about revenues in the near term. Those third-party data providers greatly improved Facebook’s ability to target users with ads, enabling it to charge higher prices to advertisers and boost ad spend on its platform. However, Nowak feels that the company was wise to end those relationships.
He feels Facebook is still in a strong position, given its leading level of reach and the lack of compelling alternatives for advertisers. He also noted that at this point, it’s unclear what percentage of ad buying on the platform utilizes data from third-party data providers, so by ending those relationships, Facebook turns the focus onto the data it already holds itself. He also feels that in the wake of the data scandal, some advertisers might start using only their own data for buying targeted ads on the social network.