Facebook trading opened with it’s IPO and closed at $105 billion market capitalization.
I wondered how my model tracked reality over the last six months.
Facebook stats put users at 901 million at the end of March. My maximum likelihood run was rather lower than that – it corresponds with the K950 run in my last post (saturation users of 950 million), and predicted 840M users for end of Q1 2012. The latest data point corresponds with my K1250 run. I’m not sure if it’s interesting or not, but the new data point is a bit of an outlier. For one thing, it’s reported to the nearest million at a precise time, not with aggressive rounding as in earlier numbers I’d found. Re-estimating the model with the new, precise data point, it’s necessary to pass on the high size over most of the data from 2008-2011. That seems a bit fishy – perhaps a change in reporting methods has occurred.
In any case, it hardly matters whether the user carrying capacity is a bit over or under a billion. Either way, the valuation with current revenue per user is on the order of $20 billion. I had picked $5/user/year based on past performance, which turned out to be very close to the 2011 actuals. It would take a 10-year ramp to 7x current revenue/user to justify current pricing, or very low interest rates and risk premiums.
So the real question is, can Facebook increase its revenue per user dramatically?
Another short sell opportunity?
“I have no interest in shorting a cultural phenomenon,” hedge fund manager Jeffrey Matthews of Ram Partners in Greenwich, Connecticut, told Reuters in an email interview.
Asked if this was because such stocks trade without regard to normal market valuation, he wrote back, “Bingo.”