Why Analysts See Strong Upside for ADT After a Weak IPO

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ADT Inc. (NYSE: ADT) has completed its initial public offering (IPO) and its quiet period has expired, allowing analysts at the underwriting firms to issue their ratings and price targets. If Wall Street is correct here, the recently completed IPO of ADT could still offer quite a bit of upside to investors.

Investors should consider how the IPO went ahead of time and what happened after before making any decisions based on what analysts say. ADT priced its shares for the IPO at $14 apiece, under the $17 to $19 expected price range. As if that pricing wasn’t enough, ADT’s shares entered the market even lower than that and were closer to $12.50 when we covered it on the first day of trading. Its shares were under $11.50 on the second day of trading.

At the time of the IPO, ADT estimated that it is approximately five times larger than the next largest residential competitor, with an approximate 30% market share of the residential monitored security industry in the United States and Canada. Excluding contracts monitored but not owned, the firm served roughly 7.2 million residential and business customers.

Apollo Global Management LLC (NYSE: APO) was the private equity giant behind the ADT deal. It effectively raised about 30% less than what had been anticipated due to some growth and competitive pressure concern in the industry. Apollo acquired the former unit of Tyco International for roughly $6.9 billion in a 2016 leveraged buyout.

The underwriters for the offering were Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, RBC Capital Markets, Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Imperial Capital, Academy Securities, Allen, Apollo Global Securities, Citizens Capital Markets, LionTree, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey and Williams Capital Group.

Credit Suisse was the one firm that was less positive here. Its first analyst rating for the security company was a mere Neutral, and the firm assigned a $14 price target. Credit Suisse sees ADT’s visibility and resilience of the business model as rather strong, but the firm is less optimistic about ADT’s growth acceleration given the slower industry penetration rates and the potential threat of new entrants. Its $14 target was based on approximately 13 times its estimates on 2019 free cash flow.

ADT’s top upside call came from Goldman Sachs, with a $19 price target. The bulge bracket brokerage firm believes that ADT is well positioned to generate profitable growth and that ADT can offer enhanced customer service quality with high levels of EBITDA and free cash flow performance metrics.

Morgan Stanley started ADT with an Overweight rating and assigned an $18 price target. The firm was one of the lead bookrunners in the IPO, and its view is that ADT is a strong cash flow generation growth outfit and in an industry that resilient against recessions due to the need to keep homes and businesses secure.

RBC Capital Markets started ADT with an Outperform rating and assigned a $16 price target. RBC’s view is that ADT has a strong management team capable of driving the business higher and driving operational improvements.

Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank all initiated ADT with Buy ratings, and each firm issued a $16 price target. Another firm in the underwriting syndicate was Imperial Capital, and it assigned an Outperform rating and assigned a $15 price target.

ADT shares were last seen trading down eight cents on Tuesday at $12.61, with a $9.5 billion market cap. Its post-IPO range has been $11.12 to $12.97.

Investors might want to consider that ADT’s launch and disappointing IPO came during January’s euphoria. It debuted about two weeks before the selling pressure turned into panic.