Why Some Analysts See So Much Growth for Zscaler After Its IPO

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Zscaler Inc. (NASDAQ: ZS) had a recent initial public offering, coming public at $16 per share. Note that the shares have traded handily above that official price. And recent news reports showed that the company turned down buyout interest from Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) ahead of its IPO.

Now analysts are chiming in with ratings and price targets, as its post-IPO quiet period has ended.

While the analyst community looks mixed, many investors are likely to look at Zscaler for its growth and expansion opportunities if there are more market pullbacks.

Zscaler exercised its underwriters’ option to purchase an additional 1,800,000 shares of its common stock, for a total of 13,800,000 shares sold. The $16 share price generated a total of $220.8 million in gross proceeds.

The company had a decent showing in its IPO, hitting upward of $33 per share in its debut. However, the stock has since dropped off to its current price level below $28.

In a recent filing, the firm described its finances as follows:

For fiscal 2015, 2016 and 2017, revenue was $53.7 million, $80.3 million and $125.7 million, respectively. Our net losses were $12.8 million, $27.4 million and $35.5 million in fiscal 2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively. For the six months ended January 31, 2017 and 2018, our revenue increased from $56.2 million to $84.8 million, representing a period-over-period revenue growth of 51%, while our net loss increased from $14.6 million to $17.9 million. We expect we will continue to incur net losses for the foreseeable future.

Credit Suisse started it as Outperform with a $33 price target. The firm did warn that Zscaler trades at a significant premium but its stance would make it an attractive buyout target for a slew of larger data security companies. The report said:

While relative valuation appears rich, we believe Zscaler’s opportunity is large enough, its secular tailwinds great enough, its offerings compelling enough, and its management team sufficiently capable to execute on its opportunity, exceed embedded expectations, and eventually deliver shareholders profitable long-term growth, in-line with its target model.

Credit Suisse also has a Blue Sky scenario for further upside with a $40 price target. This would be the case if Zscaler successfully expands its total addressable market beyond cloud SWG and if it takes substantial market share from on-premise network security vendors, which would be a boost for cash flows, faster market share growth and expanding into adjacent markets to outpace its long-term growth goals.

BTIG has a Buy rating and assigned a $33 price target. The firm said:

Zscaler is revolutionizing the security marketplace with its cloud-native security platform. The company’s unique and innovative approach to security targets a well-defined ~$18B total addressable market not including potential adjacent market expansion opportunities. After a successful IPO, the shares are not inexpensive, but we still think this is a must-own name given Zscaler’s transformational nature. The company should grow subscription revenues by at least 30%+ over the next few years.

Here’s what other analysts had to say:

  • Goldman Sachs issued a Neutral rating and assigned a $25 price target.
  • Morgan Stanley has an Equal Weight rating with a $26 price target. The firm noted that Zscaler should reach a breakeven level in operation cash flows in two and a half years despite 25% or more revenue growth.
  • Deutsche Bank started it as Hold with a $29 target, with the firm noting that Zscaler should roughly double its market share in gateway security in the next three to five years.
  • Barclays assigned an Equal Weight rating and a $30 price target.
  • Merrill Lynch has a Neutral rating and $32 price objective.
  • Needham has a Buy rating with a $35 price target, calling the company a foundational name in the security segment. As it is highly disruptive, Zscaler is said to not fit within traditional buckets in the traditional perimeter defense security model. The firm sees it becoming a major player in security and that investors should own it as a core name.
  • Robert W. Baird started it as Outperform with a $34 price target.
  • Summit also started Zscaler with a Buy rating and $35 price target.

Shares of Zscaler were last seen up about 4% at $27.70, with a post-IPO range of $26.06 to $34.83.