Sell Salesforce.com and Buy a New Life
Whenever the term "valuation" comes up, it causes many to shift in their seats and become uncomfortable. But that's not my problem.
What continues to be absent in all of the "Salesforce euphoria" is the reality that competition from the likes of Oracle(ORCL) , IBM(IBM) and Microsoft(MSFT) can easily throw a monkey wrench into the high expectations that are baked into Salesforce.com's lofty stock price.
The result would be a Chipotle Mexican Grill(CMG) -style spiral back down to reality.
Why make such bets on stocks with such dizzying valuations? Is it worth it?
I'd say no. Investors who bet on these stocks are playing a dangerous game and should move on to other stocks.
From an investment perspective, Salesforce.com remains expensive even on the most bullish assumptions. If investors were to look out five years and assume 10% annual margin increases and 40% annual revenue increases, the stock would still be valued at less than $140 five years from now.
So while investors feel comfortable paying close to $150 for the stock today, the growth prospects do not support such a high P/E.
Salesforce is one of the market leaders in the popular "software as a service" market, but that does not necessarily imply real present value.
What's more, even if Salesforce.com averted the competitive threats mentioned above, that wouldn't eliminate the concerns about its valuation.
For those of you who continue to think that I have an ax to grind with the company, that's far from accurate. The company is only doing what it's supposed to do.
Rather, my issue is with how it is valued relative to its performance and relative to its peers -- namely Oracle and Microsoft, and, to a lesser extent, Red Hat(RHT) . All three present much better value as well as fundamentals. But these facts often escape Wall Street.
Trying to satisfy an insatiable appetite for growth, investors don't mind placing big bets on companies such Salesforce.com, expecting out-of-this world future performance.
As a result, Salesforce continues to enjoy a multiple that is sky-high and offends investors like me who stress realistic P/E ratios.