eBay stock, at $US33.70 as of the March 30 close, is up 13.5% so far this year. Barclays analyst Ross Sandler and his team think that eBay will rise another 21.7% in the next 12 months to $US41, giving the stock an “overweight” rating in a recent report to clients.
The analyst explains why he thinks eBay is the best internet value turnaround stock of 2017.
eBay stock has been stuck in a narrow range for several years, except for when the company spun off PayPal in 2015. Barclays blames two factors for eBay being stuck in the mud:
1) Losing market share to Amazon
Barclays believes that eBay has undertaken a serious plan to address these issues. The company is completely revamping their platform and infrastructure.
On the back end, the company is patching their security to prevent another incident like the one in 2014.
On the front end, eBay is extensively redesigning their home, search, and mobile pages to better compete with Amazon. Sandler writes:
“The simple explanation is that eBay is re-architecting its listings into product pages, and re-organising how every product is connected in the catalogue. This new architecture should allow eBay to improve search relevancy, recommendations, and ultimately increase conversion rate.”
eBay is making their product pages more focused on related items, rather than their previous style of focusing on the seller, according to Barclays. Right now when you look at an item on eBay you may be suggested to explore other items from that seller. Product pages will now suggest similar items from all sellers for a better user experience that fosters more market competition.
eBay will also integrate better recommendation technology into their platform that will, for example, cater each users homepage to their own interests.
Additionally, for several years eBay has been transitioning from an auction company to a fixed price company, mainly reserving auctions for novelty items. Consumer tastes have changed and users want that “Buy it Now” satisfaction more than ever, and Barclays expects that trend to continue:
Barclays likens what is happening at eBay to what Expedia went through from 2010-2012 and MercadoLibre from 2010-2011. Both companies faced the need for a serious makeover after their technology and business models became outdated.
The redevelopment process may have been costly and time consuming, but growth picked up for both companies after their redesigns:
Barclays thinks a similar post-redesign turnaround will happen to eBay in 2017.
eBay also owns a series of classified ad sites, the “hidden gem inside eBay.” Sandler explains:
“eBay owns classifieds sites that have the #1 position in 10 different markets globally, across 12 different brands and 17 countries. Classifieds is an under-appreciated hidden gem inside eBay, growing a steady 15% CAGR and likely as profitable as some of the public peers in auto, real estate and other categories. Classifieds generated $US800m in revenue in 2016; thus, if we assign a multiple comparable to where Zillow, REA, Finn and others trade (~5-6x revenue), or Allegro’s recent private transaction, eBay’s classifieds business could be worth as much as $US5B.”
On top of that, eBay owns StubHub, which has been growing at a healthy pace as the millennial appetite for experiences over material items continues to grow. Barclays thinks that StubHub could provide $US1 billion in additional annual revenue by 2018.
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