XO Group (XOXO) is a $440 million Internet and media company specializing in products, services and advice related to weddings and pregnancy. The company operates websites, publishes magazines and books, and produces television and video content.
Formerly known as The Knot, XO Group just delivered a strong quarterly report with their sixth consecutive positive EPS surprise. And these aren’t just any earnings beats. The six-quarter average drops to a hefty 287% positive surprise after last week’s comparatively tame 33% beat.
Analysts seemed most impressed with the company’s ongoing revenue transformation whereby the monetization of XO’s vast wedding ecosystem of brides and wedding vendors is being moved from an advertising model to a commission-driven transactions model.
3Q15 results included 46% year-over-year growth in Registry and Commerce revenue which now represents 14% of total revenue. Management reiterated its financial target of double-digit revenue growth, gross margins of 90%-95%, operating margin expansion and adjusted EBITDA margins of 20%+.
Following the report, analysts were quick to raise estimates for this year and next with 2015 earnings projections climbing from 30 cents per share to 37 cents per share, reflecting more optimism about the current quarter after Q3 delivered 2-cents above consensus.
The 2016 EPS consensus also gained 7-cents to 51 cents per share, knocking down their forward P/E multiple to 33X.
XOXO is Expanding Reach Into the Events of Our Lives
I can’t describe the company’s brands and strategy any better than they do…
Through our family of brands — The Knot, The Nest and The Bump — we inspire, inform and cheer on our community as they move through life’s most amazing (and stressful!) milestones. From the proposal to creating a home and starting a family together, we’re there for every step of the journey.
The wedding-related market is estimated to be worth at least $70 billion. And XO Group is steadily building a platform to capture more pieces of the revenue streams.
In early October, the company announced two key strategic moves in this regard: the acquisition of GigMasters, a leading transactional marketplace for entertainment (music and more), and a strategic partnership with Jetaport, a transactional marketplace providing discounted hotel room blocks.
XOXO’s Huge Opportunity
The analyst team at B. Riley & Company (RILY) sees XO Group as having “execution on track to capture a huge opportunity.”
They specifically cite…
“We believe the opportunity for XOXO is in disrupting an industry that has not been impacted by the Internet and in the process bring on more transactions on the platform and increase its Take Rate.” The analysts maintained their $19 per share price target.
Meanwhile, analysts at Stifel Nicolaus (SF) had this to say…
“We believe the company is very early in an accelerating revenue, expanding margin story. We reiterate our Buy rating and increase our target price to $22 per share.”
Grabbing More of that $70 Billion Pie
One could speculate that XO Group would make an ideal acquisition target for an Amazon (AMZN), a Facebook (FB), or even a department store like Macy’s (M). But right now, even without such pie-in-the-sky musings, the company’s growth record in a niche it has carved out by itself is impressive all by itself.
So if you want a piece of a unique and growing Internet brand, take a look at XO Group and their earnings momentum. Looking at the 5-year chart, they may have left investors at the alter a couple of times, but they always come fighting back with top and bottom-line growth.
Kevin Cook is a Senior Stock Strategist for Zacks where he runs the Follow The Money (FTM) portfolio.
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