A Better H_ngm_n Strategy

A brilliant piece on how to play Hangman better.

“A Better Hangman Strategy” from Lifehacker

Facebook Valuation > $100 Billion: The Math Done!

According to Business Insider, on its final Pre-IPO private market transaction on SharesPost, the private capital online marketplace, shares of Facebook traded at a value of $44.10 per share. Using the 2.33 billion fully diluted outstanding share count cited in Facebook’s IPO prospectus, that equates to a value of just under $103 billion.

Given Facebook’s last year earnings of $1 billion, that gives the firm an implied P/E of approximately 103X, which is incredibly high, considering that for Apple and Google, the ratios are respectively, 17X and 22X. Moreover, in absolute terms, Facebook’s valuation is 1/2 that of Google, whereas its revenues are 1/10th that of Google’s (1/3rd of Google’s Free Cash Flow).

The Business Insider’s report could not be independently verified at the time of this piece; however, the latest contracts posts on SharesPost do show that Facebook’s valuation has been hovering around the $100 billion mark, even exceeding at times, in private transactions.

To justify such valuations, Facebook has to grow incredibly big, incredibly fast. Most investors and analysts are counting on Facebook finally monetizing, post-IPO, on its approx. 1 billion global users – something it has not done extensively nor successfully yet.

Meanwhile, according to PrivCo, the private company data accumulator, Facebook is rumored to begin its roadshow in the first week of April, 2012. However, with Facebook Q1 ending on March 31, 2012, it appears unlikely that the roadshow will begin so soon after the close of Q1, since Facebook would need to disclose Q1 results prior to launching the roadshow. Also, the Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook is targeting May, 2012 for its IPO., which seems quite realistic.

Whatever happens, the next few months are going to be eventful (Finance pun intended) and the next few years, tumultuous!

Pirates and their Servers in the Sky

The Pirate Bay, the hugely popular BitTorrent tracker site based out of Sweden (effectively, the world’s largest file sharing site), is planning to “send out some small drones”  to float servers “some kilometers up in the air”, in an attempt to avoid jurisdiction over copyright infringement and to evade law enforcement on land.

Their idea involves sending unmanned Low Orbit Server Stations (LOSS) into airspace miles above ground, aided by the growing availability of cheap radio equipment and tiny computers. These floating servers will be connected to via radio transmitters at potential speeds of (according to The Pirate Bay) 100Mbps per node up to 50km away. Moreover, for law enforcers planning to crackdown, the servers “will have to be shut down with aeroplanes in order to shut down the system. A real act of war.”

As a Business Insider article points out, the well-hidden servers,whose locations are known only to the site’s administrators, may end up violating air traffic rules and be easily brought down by the militaries’ own Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), the technical name for ‘drones’. The premature/ unrealistic plans are, nonetheless, an indication of the direction the technology of cyber piracy is taking. Soon, as The Pirate Bay puts it, “when time comes we will host in all parts of the galaxy, being true to our slogan of being the galaxy’s most resilient system.”

A Celebration of Sentences

Below is an endearing piece from the Bengali American author Jhumpa Lahiri. It is at once a celebration of the enchantment of sentences, which are but words in harmonious array, and an introspective narrative. I would recommend reading the comments section as well, where contrasting views are expressed.

My Life’s Sentences” from The NY Times Opinion Pages.

AAPL: To Buy and To Hold

Apple Inc (AAPL) shares have hit an all-time high of $600.01/ share (before closing for the day at $585.56/ share), giving the company a $545 billion valuation, making it the largest company in the world in terms of market capitalization. This happened right after the first batch of “the new iPad” was sold in Australia (from telecom company Telstra’s stores); soon to be followed by sales in Japan, Germany and the US, from retailers like WalMart, Best Buy & Radio Shack apart from Apple’s own Apple Stores.

The company shares reached $500/ share only a month back and the share price has jumped 44% this year alone.

Apple could be valued even higher, according to Morgan Stanley Analyst Ms. Kathryn Huberty, who revised her target price from $515 to $720, predicting that the company would go to $960 (or higher) on a $80 Earnings Per Share (EPS) in 2013. This is based on a Price-Earning Ratio (P/E) of 12, which is at the lower end of Apple’s historical forward P/E (currently at approx. 17). Morgan Stanley is not the only firm revising their prices upwards, earlier Piper Jaffray and recently OppenheimerUBS also have revised their target prices for AAPL. I am sure, others institutions will soon follow suit. IF Ms. Huberty’s price predictions for 2013 come true, that would give Apple Inc. a market valuation to the tune of a mythical $1 trillion!

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