Time to Buy Pandora Stock as Analysts Are Underestimating It

Pandora stock - Time to Buy Pandora Stock as Analysts Are Underestimating It

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After Pandora‘s (NYSE:P) second straight strong quarterly earnings report, more people on Wall Street are finally getting enthusiastic about Pandora stock. But P stock is poised to rise much further than even Wall Street’s bulls realize.

As I’ve noted previously, Pandora has definitely hit on a winning formula for significantly expanding its paid subscriber base. Last quarter, the company’s revenue from paid subscriptions soared 67% year-over-year, enabling its overall results to beat expectations.

RBC Capital and Barrington Research both responded by upgrading Pandora stock, setting price targets on Pandora stock of $10 and $11, respectively.

The price targets seem to reflect the analysts’ belief that revenue from the company’s paid advertisements will rise another 50% or so over the next year.

However, given the partnerships made by Pandora, its ability to recruit more partners and its track record of successfully turning its unpaid listeners into paid subscribers, Pandora’s subscription revenue is poised to double from current levels over the next year, enabling Pandora stock to reach at least $15 by August 2019.

As I wrote in a previous column:

“SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Matthew Thornton estimated that the (partnership with AT&T (NYSE:T) could enable Pandora to increase the number of people subscribing to Pandora Premium by 500,000 by June 2019, MarketWatch noted.”

But Pandora has also made partnership deals with multiple other companies including Snap (NYSE:SNAP), T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS) and Cheddar.

Moreover, extremely upbeat comments by Pandora CEO Roger Lynch on yesterday’s second quarter conference call indicate that the company’s partnership deals are going quite well so far.

Specifically, Lynch said, “I’m a big believer in the ability of partnerships to create audience growth. In my experience you get your best customers through partnerships at the lowest cost of acquisition.”

He added that the deal with AT&T will “yield subscribers with a higher lifetime value because the bundles (that will include Pandora subscriptions) have both lower churn and lower acquisition cost.”

In other words, it will cost Pandora less money to obtain subscribers through partnerships, and the subscribers it does obtain will be less likely to give up the service. Consequently, the partnership deals should boost Pandora’s profits and Pandora stock by large amounts.

Furthermore, as I pointed out in the previous column, Pandora can obtain partnership deals with many other companies, such as Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Planet Fitness (NYSE:PLNT) and automakers. Indeed, after interviewing Lynch, NBC News reported on Jun. 21 that he “is set on growing partnerships beyond Pandora’s tie-ups with Snap, AT&T and T-Mobile .”

Bottom Line on Pandora Stock

As of the end of last quarter, Pandora had 6 million paid subscribers. As the bullish analysts seem to be predicting, the company can use its already-established marketing tools to increase the total by another 3 million in a year.

If we, in line with SunTrust’s estimate, assume that the partnerships with AT&T and T-Mobile enable the company to bring in another 1 million, the increase rises to 4 million. Assuming that the marketing deals with Snap and Cheddar lead to another 1 million increase, we have reached a total of 5 million new subscribers.

Finally, let’s say that additional, not yet disclosed partnership deals lift the paid subscriber total by another 1 million. In total, the company’s paid subscriber base will have increased by 100%, or 6 million, over the next year.

Assuming that Pandora obtains average revenue of $10 per month from subscribers, in line with the approximate average cost of Pandora Premium, the company’s revenue would jump by $720 million.

Based on the company’s Q2 revenue of $385 million, its annual top-line run rate is about $1.5 billion. Under my scenario, the growth of its subscription revenue alone would increase its overall revenue by about 50%. The 50% increase in revenue, along with significantly higher overall margins and a much higher multiple, would definitely justify my $15 price target for Pandora stock.

Investors should definitely buy Pandora stock now, in order to take advantage of its coming gains.

As of this writing, Larry Ramer owned shares of Pandora stock. 


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