Lake Street Capital Initiates Maven Coverage with "Buy", $1.50 PT
Fast-Growing Digital Content Platform Creates Win-Win For Publishers
From the executive summary by analyst Mark Argento:
"We are initiating coverage of TheMaven (“Maven”), a digital content publishing platform focused on branded online content owners and journalists. The relationship creates a win-win outcome as publishers achieve better monetization of their ad inventory and Maven achieves profitable growth.
Traditional content owners have historically mismanaged their online content efforts. Using JVs and licensing arrangments, Maven has created a coalition of 310 publishers and aggregate traffic of over 107M monthly unique visitors. The greater scale of the ecosystem lifts ad rates for all participants.
Maven operates online properties for the likes of A&E’s History and Biography brands, Ski Magazine, Maxim, and many others using its JV revenue/profit-sharing agreements. Maven also operates its wholly-owned or licensed brands, including TheStreet and Sports Illustrated (SI), using its common digital online publishing platform similar to its partner properties.
Our investment thesis is based on five core themes: 1) publisher viability, 2) quality content, 3) recent traction, 4) ample content growth opportunity, and 5) experienced management."
They continue with "Highlights" of their analysis:
• Growth – We expect digital revenues will grow >20% Y/Y organically and be augmented by additional new 3rd party properties coming online, plus other content acquisitions. With its unique revenue/profit-share model, content owners quickly see a positive ROI when partnering with Maven for their online property management. Maven allows content partners to focus on what they do best while leveraging Maven’s platform.
• Under the Radar – Given it went public in 2016 via a reverse merger and used private capital and debt funding to grow its business, Maven has been off the radar of many micro/small-cap growth stock investors. We expect this will change as the company files its updated financials and looks towards a national market uplist as soon as this spring.
• Valuation Multiple Could Expand - With our 2021 expectation of over $135M (+20% Y/Y) of digital revenues, $25M AEBITDA, and expanding operating margins, we believe Maven’s current valuation of 1.3x EV/2021 digital revenues is attractive. Comps in the digital media sector often trade at >4x EV/sales. We expect Maven’s valuation multiple will expand as it proves out the model and investor's awareness and knowledge increase. We are initiating coverage with a Buy rating and a $1.50 price target based on 3.5x EV/FY’21 digital revenues.
For more information, contact Lake Street.
ICYMI: Maven Acquires Machine-learning Personalization Leader LiftIgniter
Announced on March 19, their world-class engineering team will lead integration of recommendation engine into Maven’s publishing, social, distribution, subscription and advertising platform. Read full details on TheStreet.
Welcome to our Newest Mavens
We continue signing new members to the Maven Coalition, and here are some you'll see going live in coming weeks:
- Inside the Raptors - full coverage of the NBA's Toronto Raptors
- EagleMaven - news and community for Philadelphia Eagles fans
- All Seminoles - news and community for Florida State fans
- Inside the Athletics - for fans of the Oakland Athletics
- Stretford Paddock - Manchester United (EPL soccer)
- City Xtra - Manchester City (EPL soccer)
- Task & Purpose (live now) - news, culture, and analysis by and for the military community
- Horticulture (live now) - smart gardening
- Goldmine (live now) - for music collectors
As always, you'll find a full list of Mavens by category at Maven.io
Thank you for your interest in Maven.