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TILSON: Facebook stock crash 'nothing more than a long-term hiccup'

Aarthi Swaminathan

Value investor Whitney Tilson is hoping that Facebook’s stock (FB) gets hit hard in the near-term.

“I actually hope Facebook stock really gets clobbered,” Tilson told Jen Rogers on Yahoo Finance after Facebook’s second-quarter earnings announcement, “because I’m a believer long-term.”

The Warren Buffett disciple got what he wanted in the short term — the stock fell sharply after hours on Wednesday when its earnings report missed expectations on revenue and user growth.

And the social media giant’s stock drop on Thursday — down nearly 19% at the close — is the biggest single-day wipeout of market value ever for a U.S.-traded company.

Asked about the stock drop on Thursday morning, Tilson told Yahoo Finance that he’s “inclined to add to my position. I think it’s healthy that the company is reining in abuses, which will affect growth in the near-term, but over time will prove to be nothing more than a long-term hiccup.”

Chart: Yahoo Finance.
Chart: Yahoo Finance.

‘It’s very hard for me as a value investor to say this’

To Tilson, a value investor looking for cheap stocks trading less than their intrinsic value, dips are good news because they present buying opportunities. And Tilson believes “that despite being massive, companies like Google and Facebook are good investments.”

He added that there are “a very small number of companies that have such incredible positions, such huge markets to go after, that can drive very high rates of growth. It’s very hard for me as a value investor to say this, but some companies, valuation almost doesn’t matter.

“What you need to be right on is not the valuation, you need to be right on the growth rate. And I think in the case of both Google and Facebook, by the way, the growth rate — the growth that they still have left embedded in them going forward, makes me OK.”

(Photo: Seeking Alpha) The FAANG stocks. Alphabet is GOOGL.
(Photo: Seeking Alpha) The FAANG stocks. Alphabet is GOOGL.

‘I think they’re going to be all $2 trillion companies’

Overall, Tilson is betting on tech behemoths Facebook, Amazon (AMZN), and Google (GOOGL) to keep rising.

“I’ve got about a third of my daughter’s college account in the three horsemen, my three favorite dominant tech stocks, Alphabet, Amazon, and Facebook,” Tilson said. “So in the near-term, I hope they get clobbered. But I think they’re going to be all $2 trillion companies — they’re all approaching a trillion — in the next five years or so, maybe sooner.”

Tilson added more detail to his view on Facebook as the stock got hammered on Thursday morning:

“Facebook’s incredible business model and long-term growth drivers remain intact, in my opinion, so I think profits are likely to double in the next 3-5 years,” Tilson said in an email. “The earnings multiple will likely drift downward as the company grows — my guess would be from a bit until 30x this year’s earnings today to closer to 20-25x earnings in 3-5 years — so the net of these two factors is that I think the stock rises 60–80% over this period, a very satisfactory return.”

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