Initiation of Research Coverage: Akamai Technologies, Inc.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

William Blair & Company initiated research coverage of Akamai Technologies, Inc., which provides services for accelerating and improving the delivery of content and applications over the Internet, with an Outperform rating and Aggressive Growth company profile.

Analyst Jim Breen estimated that Akamai, would generated diluted EPS of $1.59 in fiscal 2012 and $1.77 in fiscal 2013.

"Although competition has escalated in recent years with the effect of declining pricing in traditional volume-based content delivery services, recent M&A activity should relieve some of the competitive pricing pressures, the underlying industry trends remain healthy, and the total market should continue to grow at a robust pace," Breen said. "Customer contract expansion for Akamai, bolstered by new cloud infrastructure services, will likely exceed any future declines in pricing. As the company continues its transformation from a pure content delivery network (CDN) to a full-suite cloud infrastructure services business, margins are likely to expand since cloud services carry higher margins than content delivery."

He added, "Increasing penetration of broadband services, cloud computing, mobile Internet, and Internet video is expected to cause Internet traffic to grow more than 30% per year through 2015. Akamai's growth is directly related to the growth and globalization of the Internet, as its products help meet increased traffic demands by removing congestion and improving the efficiency of content delivery with servers located on the "edge" of the Internet. Global networks will be challenged by the robust growth of the Internet and will be limited by capacity constraints as latency increases with greater distance traveled and greater content size. This highlights the need for global CDNs that make networks operate more efficiently and reduce the distance between the end-user and the server."

William Blair & Company is a global investment banking and asset management firm. We are committed to building enduring relationships with our clients and providing expertise and solutions to meet their evolving needs. An independent and employee-owned firm, William Blair is based in Chicago, with office locations in 10 cities including London, New York, Shanghai, and Zurich. For more information, please visit williamblair.com.

View coverage list


William Blair & Company, L.L.C. receives or seeks to receive compensation for investment banking services from companies covered in this research report. Investors should consider this report as a single factor in making an investment decision.

William Blair & Company, L.L.C. is a market maker in the security of this company and may have a long or short position.

Additional information is available upon request.

Current Ratings Distribution (as of 06/30/12)

Coverage Universe
Outperform (Buy): 60%
Market Perform (Hold): 32%
Underperform (Sell): 1%

Inv. Banking Relationships*
Outperform (Buy): 8%
Market Perform (Hold): 1%
Underperform (Sell): 0%

* Percentage of companies in each rating category that are investment banking clients, defined as companies for which William Blair has received compensation for investment banking services within the past 12 months.

Stock ratings, price targets, and valuation methodologies: William Blair & Company, L.L.C. uses a three-point system to rate stocks. Individual ratings and price targets (where used) reflect the expected performance of the stock relative to the broader market (generally the S&P 500, unless otherwise indicated) over the next 12 months. The assessment of expected performance is a function of near-, intermediate-, and long-term company fundamentals, industry outlook, confidence in earnings estimates, valuation (and our valuation methodology), and other factors. Outperform (O) – stock expected to outperform the broader market over the next 12 months; Market Perform (M) – stock expected to perform approximately in line with the broader market over the next 12 months; Underperform (U) – stock expected to underperform the broader market over the next 12 months; not rated (NR) – the stock is not currently rated. The valuation methodologies used to determine price targets (where used) include (but are not limited to) price-to-earnings multiple (P/E), relative P/E (compared with the relevant market), P/E-to-growth-rate (PEG) ratio, market capitalization/revenue multiple, enterprise value/EBITDA ratio, discounted cash flow, and others.

Company Profile: The William Blair research philosophy is focused on quality growth companies. Growth companies by their nature tend to be more volatile than the overall stock market. Company profile is a fundamental assessment, over a longer-term horizon, of the business risk of the company relative to the broader William Blair universe. Factors assessed include: 1) durability and strength of franchise (management strength and track record, market leadership, distinctive capabilities); 2) financial profile (earnings growth rate/consistency, cash flow generation, return on investment, balance sheet, accounting); 3) other factors such as sector or industry conditions, economic environment, confidence in long-term growth prospects, etc. Established Growth (E) – Fundamental risk is lower relative to the broader William Blair universe; Core Growth (C) – Fundamental risk is approximately in line with the broader William Blair universe; Aggressive Growth (A) – Fundamental risk is higher relative to the broader William Blair universe.

The ratings, price targets (where used), valuation methodologies, and company profile assessments reflect the opinion of the individual analyst and are subject to change at any time.

The compensation of the research analyst is based on a variety of factors, including performance of his or her stock recommendations; contributions to all of the firm's departments, including asset management, corporate finance, institutional sales, and retail brokerage; firm profitability; and competitive factors.

Our salespeople, traders, and other professionals may provide oral or written market commentary or trading strategies—to our clients and our trading desks—that are contrary to opinions expressed in this research. Our asset management and trading desks may make investment decisions that are inconsistent with recommendations or views expressed in this report. We will from time to time have long or short positions in, act as principal in, and buy or sell the securities referred to in this report. Our research is disseminated primarily electronically, and in some instances in printed form. Electronic research is simultaneously available to all clients. This research is for our clients only. No part of this material may be copied or duplicated in any form by any means or redistributed without the prior written consent of William Blair & Company, L.L.C.

THIS IS NOT IN ANY SENSE A SOLICITATION OR OFFER OF THE PURCHASE OR SALE OF SECURITIES. THE FACTUAL STATEMENTS HEREIN HAVE BEEN TAKEN FROM SOURCES WE BELIEVE TO BE RELIABLE, BUT SUCH STATEMENTS ARE MADE WITHOUT ANY REPRESENTATION AS TO ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OR OTHERWISE. OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE OUR OWN UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED. PRICES SHOWN ARE APPROXIMATE.

THIS MATERIAL HAS BEEN APPROVED FOR DISTRIBUTION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM BY WILLIAM BLAIR INTERNATIONAL, LIMITED, REGULATED BY THE FINANCIAL SERVICES AUTHORITY (FSA), AND IS DIRECTED ONLY AT, AND IS ONLY MADE AVAILABLE TO, PERSONS FALLING WITHIN COB 3.5 AND 3.6 OF THE FSA HANDBOOK (BEING "ELIGIBLE COUNTERPARTIES" AND "PROFESSIONAL CLIENTS"). THIS DOCUMENT IS NOT TO BE DISTRIBUTED OR PASSED ON TO ANY "RETAIL CLIENTS." NO PERSONS OTHER THAN PERSONS TO WHOM THIS DOCUMENT IS DIRECTED SHOULD RELY ON IT OR ITS CONTENTS OR USE IT AS THE BASIS TO MAKE AN INVESTMENT DECISION.

"WILLIAM BLAIR & COMPANY" AND "WILLIAM BLAIR & COMPANY (SCRIPT)" ARE REGISTERED TRADEMARKS OF WILLIAM BLAIR & COMPANY, L.L.C. Copyright 2011, William Blair & Company, L.L.C.

News Alerts

Stay connected to your favorite publications and news features.

Subscribe Now