Investors Don’t Buy Facebook’s Vision of the Future
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is planning for a future that looks a lot like the movie Minority Report. And investors on StockTwits.com aren’t thrilled with the company’s leap into science fiction.
The social networking giant announced late Tuesday evening that it will acquire virtual-reality headset maker Oculus VR for $2 Billion. In a conference call discussing the mostly stock deal, Zuckerberg described the purchase as a “long term bet on the future of computing.”
$FB Regardless, Zuck already said the acquisition is a long-term investment. As of now, it is nothing…
— Thanh N (@ThanhVII) Mar. 26 at 09:17 AM
Oculus is currently focused on games. But Zuckerberg sees a future where virtual reality devices are the way people interact with the Internet. Instead of mobile devices buzzing in pockets, people will have wearable virtual reality technology, perhaps embedded in fashionable eyeglasses like Google’s, $GOOG, coming product Google Glass.
Facebook shares opened in the red Wednesday morning and fell 1.7% by 10:30. Investors worried that the purchase, for $400 Million in cash and 23.1 Million shares of Facebook valued at $1.6 Billion, was far overvalued—especially given that it’s unlikely to make money for Facebook in the short term.
$FB Anybody remembers the Facebook phone? Oculus Rift will be another similar fail for Facebook. Working in a wrong direction
— Sergey (@vermut) Mar. 26 at 09:29 AM
— Clinton (@ClintonSPX) Mar. 26 at 09:20 AM
“The bear camp believes that the recent multi-billion dollar acquisitions in the industry indicate that we have jumped the shark, indicating a mini bubble in valuation,” wrote SunTrust’s Robert Peck in a note to investors Wednesday morning.
Some cashtaggers compared Facebook’s Oculus purchase to Yahoo’s acquisition of Broadcast.com, which made Mark Cuban rich but never moved Yahoo’s bottom line.
— SteveZ1 (@Stevez1) Mar. 26 at 09:45 AM
Zuckerberg doesn’t seem focused on Oculus’ revenues in the near term. He is looking to a future where people will shop online and feel as though they are walking through a store, thanks to their VR headset. They will watch sporting events, such as basketball, and feel as though they are courtside. And, perhaps most importantly to Facebook, they will communicate with their social network using headsets to “share experiences with” their friends as though they were right in front of them.
The ads, presumably, will be somewhere right in front of them too. But that’s someday, likely a long time in the future.
Facebook plans to leave Oculus alone to concentrate on gaming and growing uses for its technology. Oculus has 75,000 development kit orders from companies that want to create games that would run on its headsets. In the press release, Zuckerberg admits that applications for virtual reality beyond games are “in their nascent stages.”
When it comes to making money, Facebook is zeroed in on mobile. In the conference call, Zuckerberg said that mobile has replaced the computer as the primary way people interact with the Web. It’s the mobile phone that propels communication, whether it be by email, text message, tweet, phone call or video conference. Hence Facebook’s February acquisition of WhatsApp mobile messaging service for $19 Billion.
With the WhatsApp acquisition and Facebook’s own progress on mobile, Zuckerberg says the company is well positioned enough in the mobile arena to look to tomorrow’s computing platforms. He noted that a Billion people regularly use Facebook’s mobile apps and 20% of time spent on mobile apps are interacting with Facebook services.
Mobile is Facebook’s current cash cow. About 53% of the $2.34 Billion Facebook made from advertising in the last three months of 2013 came from mobile.
But some investors believe that Facebook’s Zuckerberg just might be a visionary. And the future he sees could be worth the $2 Billion bet.
— Jeff McDowell, CMT (@Synaptric) Mar. 26 at 09:54 AM
Sentiment on the stock was still 75% Bullish, according to StockTwits analytics.
$FB These are the same people that didn't understand when GOOG bought YouTube. If it drops I average down.
— ShootyMcStabbyface (@ShootyMcStabbyface) Mar. 26 at 09:29 AM
Only time—perhaps as long as a decade—will tell.
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