Facebook selloff amid Cambridge Analytica scandal is buying opportunity: Analyst

The Cambridge Analytica scandal has given investors an opportunity to buy Facebook shares at a discount, Phillip Capital said in a note on Monday.

“We believe that the Cambridge Analytica investigation has been blown out of proportion and that the potential fallout from the scandal is likely to be limited. Historically, companies who have had significant data breaches did not suffer permanent damage,” Phillip Capital said.

“We believe that it is unlikely for the government to pass legislation that will permanently damage Facebook’s ability to conduct business, as any such legislation would not only impact Facebook but likely all data based companies as well,” it said. “On a reputational basis, Facebook may have suffered some damage with the recent boycott Facebook movement. However, we do not believe that Facebook has suffered much permanent damage in this regard either, as users will be hard press to find an alternative for Facebook as a social media platform in terms of scale and features.”

It noted that Facebook has around 1.40 billion active daily users as of the latest quarter and 2.13 billion monthly active users.

“More importantly than just a large user base, Facebook has shown it is very capable of monetizing its user base. Facebook was able to generate about US$39.94 billion in revenue from advertising off that user base,” Phillip Capital said, noting that the highest average revenue per use came from the United States and Europe.

Philip said that as emerging markets become more affluent, companies will spend more to advertise to them and Facebook will have “great potential” to monetize those users.

It kept a Positive call on the stock, with a target price of US$220, an entry price of US$159.79 and a stop loss at US$139.00.

In early trade on Monday U.S. hours, shares of Facebook were down 3.0 percent at US$155.05.