Cloud storage company Box is finally hitting the public markets today.
The company filed for a public offering in March of 2014. The IPO was delayed and delayed because its financial performance wasn’t strong enough to get it out the door. After the company first filed, we noted that it was burning twice as much cash as any comparable company. It has tightened things up since then.
In the summer of 2014, it raised $US150 at a $US2.4 billion valuation. It needed the money.
Last night it priced its IPO at $US14 a share, giving it a $US1.6 billion valuation.
The sentiment around Box is largely negative, however, it has one big champion: CNBC star Jim Cramer.
Cramer thinks $US14 is a steal for investors. On his show he told viewers to call their brokers and try to buy into the IPO at $US18 per share. If they couldn’t get into the IPO, he even recommended going to the aftermarket to buy shares.
Why buy Box shares? After all, the company’s financial performance isn’t stellar. And, there’s competition from Dropbox, which does the same thing as Box, as well as Google, Apple, and Microsoft which all bundle cloud storage into their operating systems. It seems like a very tough business to be in.
Cramer loves Box for three reasons: Box is an enterprise company, it’s going to be relatively cheap on a valuation basis, and it has a visionary leader.
Here is Cramer’s big spiel on what makes Box unique from Dropbox:
“While Box and Dropbox may belong to the same category, they are very different businesses. And Box happens to be far superior with some truly staggering numbers. See, Box is not just about storing your data in the cloud, and sharing your files with friends, it’s created a popular cloud based mobile optimised business collaboration platform … Notice the emphasis is on companies, not families, not friends. Basically Box has cracked the code to file sharing for the enterprise with a highly powerful and secure and scalable platform that’s extremely easy to use.”
Oddly, Cramer says Dropbox hasn’t figured out how to monetise it’s online storage platform. (In 2013, reports said Dropbox was on pace to do $US200 million in annual sales.) Cramer says the consumer is not where the money is. The consumer wants everything to be free, says Cramer. Box is smartly going after companies.
As for the “staggering numbers,” he says billings are up 103% year-over-year, and revenue is up 70%. If Box rows revenues at a 50% clip, then Cramer says the stock would trade at at 5X 2015 sales, which is not expensive for a fast growing cloud based stock. He says the average software as a service stock is at 8.4X sales.
Finally, he says Box is run by a brilliant and charismatic guy named Aaron Levie.
Cramer says the stock is “almost certain to give you a big spike out of the gate.”