Next Stop for Facebook: $35?


Before you know it, analysts will start offering up price targets on Facebook that are higher than May's $38 IPO.

Capstone Investments analyst Rory Maher became the latest Wall Street pro to up the ante on the leading social networking website operator. Maher is sticking with his buy rating, but his price target is going from $26 to $35.

It's not the only thing that Maher is bumping higher.

He's raising his revenue and profit expectations through the next couple of years. Maher now sees Facebook earning $0.66 a share on $6.92 billion in revenue next year, rising to $0.87 a share on $9.63 billion in revenue come 2014.

Skeptics will argue that Facebook would still be expensive at 40 times Maher's profit estimate two years out, but this is a company that's just starting to scratch the surface of its monetization possibilities.

It wasn't until earlier this year that the company introduced the Sponsored Stories spots that are finally paying off in mobile and the recently launched Facebook Exchange to make its online marketing marketplace more effective.

There are also areas where Facebook has yet to even start the monetization process. Unlike Google's YouTube that is now rife with pre-roll ads and other marketing spots, Facebook's popular video platform remains commercial-free.

Maher points out that Facebook has rounded up as many local listings as Google or Yelp , but it has yet to turn on the fire hose of monetization in that lucrative area.

Valuation skeptics may want to note that Facebook is fetching a much lower forward earnings multiple than Yelp. Yes, Google is far cheaper -- but it's also growing a lot slower.

Then we can get to this holiday season's debut of Facebook Gifts or the inevitable rollout of a Facebook search engine.

By the time that Facebook crawls its way back to $38 -- and it will -- the company will be so much bigger and fundamentally potent than it was when it went public.

A world of opportunity
There's a new premium report on Facebook detailing the opportunities and challenges in store for its shareholders. The report includes a full year of updates, so time's ticking. Click here to check it out now.

The article Next Stop for Facebook: $35? originally appeared on

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Aristotle Munarriz has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook and Google and has the following options: long JAN 2014 $20.00 calls on Facebook. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Facebook and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2012 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.