How Analysts View Square After the Quiet Period

Chris Lange

Square Inc. (NYSE: SQ) entered the market in mid-November as one of the most anticipated initial public offerings (IPO) of the year. CEO Jack Dorsey had made a name for himself by taking over the reins of Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) over the summer while still leading Square. Many investors did not know what to expect from this IPO, much less the stock, but now that we are exiting the quiet period the underwriters will be able to have their say.

For some background: originally the Square IPO intended to sell at $11 to $13 a share, but it was downgraded to an offering price of $9, making it $80 million less than hoped. Yet, on the debut, the market bounced in enthusiastic response to the discount and pushed the stock up to $13.07 at the market close, the high end of what was originally anticipated.

Since the IPO, shares have risen 8% from where they debuted and are 34% off the lows ($9, where the company originally priced).

Square was started in February 2009 to enable anyone with a mobile device to accept card payments, anywhere, anytime. While it found early success providing easy access to card payments, Square believes that commerce extends beyond payments. In every transaction, the company sees opportunity for its sellers to learn more about which products are selling best, to reinvest in their businesses or to create and engage loyal buyers. Although it currently generates roughly 95% of its revenue from payments and point-of-sale services, Square has extended its product and service offerings to include financial services and marketing services, all to help sellers start, run and grow their businesses.

After the quiet period came to a close, the underwriters poured into the stock:

  • Jefferies initiated coverage with a Buy rating and a $15 price target.
  • JPMorgan started Square as Overweight with a $14 price target.
  • Deutsche Bank started it as Hold with a $13 price target.
  • Stifel started Square with a Hold rating.
  • Goldman Sachs started it as Buy with a $16 price target.
  • Barclays started it as Overweight with a $15 price target.
  • RBC Capital Markets started it as Outperform with a $15 target.

Shares of Square were trading up 1.3% at $12.10 Monday morning, with a consensus analyst price target of $13.25 and a post-IPO trading range of $9.00 to $14.78.