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Analysts Target Zynga to $2.50, Facebook to $50

Jon C. Ogg

If you ever want to see a tale of two companies in social media, there is Facebook Inc. (FB) and then there is Zynga Inc. (ZNGA). Zynga was riding Facebook's coattails to wealth, but then the Facebook IPO debacle and the constant slide away from profits in the freemium social and video games happened. On Monday evening, came two analyst calls: one damning Zynga and one highlighting great things to come at Facebook.

Facebook was started as Buy, with a $50 fair value projection. Its move to more mobile advertising and better targeted marketing are the key drivers. A move to a second screen like TV also is being highlighted, as we have seen in a prior upgrade in the past couple of weeks, as well as a potential payments platform. Facebook's closing bell price of $37.81 compares with a 52-week range of $17.55 to $39.32 and to a consensus analyst price target of $38.27. The highest price target on Facebook is $47. Note that Facebook's market cap is already $92 billion.

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Zynga was given a Sell rating, with a downside price target of $2.50. Zynga was listed as having a strong advertising opportunity and a high concentration of loyal gamers, but interest and peak playing has gone down while the company is restructuring again and focusing its cash-use efforts. A restructuring may be possible here, but the firm sees the risks as being high. Zynga closed down 2.4% at $2.83, against a 52-week range of $2.09 to $4.03. Its market cap even at this low share price is just under $2.3 billion. The consensus Wall Street price target is $3.26, and the lowest price target seen in the Thomson Reuters list of analysts was $2.75.

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If you want to count street-low and street-high targets against fair value, the two research calls and targets should stand out here. Our own take is that Zynga has so much cash ($1.5 billion or so) that it may have an implied floor ahead that may even be above $2.00, at least as long as it can keep from losing too much money. One thing that many new investors will be concerned about on Facebook is that valuations are still very high, even if the new earnings and sales metrics may bring huge upside.

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