Coatue's Philippe Laffont on Apple, Google & Technology/Media Trends ~ market folly

Monday, March 4, 2013

Coatue's Philippe Laffont on Apple, Google & Technology/Media Trends

Coatue Management's founder Philippe Laffont appeared on Bloomberg TV today to talk about tech stocks, including Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), and others.  He says that tech stocks are 'historically cheap' and he's always on the lookout for the new trends.

On Apple (AAPL)

"It’s cheap by any measure. The key is not to think whether stock will be up $50 in the next few months. The key is what would it take for Apple to get to $800. It would be a great return if just from today it went back to $600. To me, the company has to take back the offense. The company has been a little bit put on defense. Samsung and Google have been very strong competitors... at some point Apple is going to take back the offense."

Laffont was asked why he is still bullish on the name and while Coatue still owns shares, our Hedge Fund Wisdom newsletter flagged that the hedge fund sold 55% of its AAPL stake at the end of 2012 so that's worth keeping in mind.  They've been a long-term bull on the name. 

Laffont wants to see the company make product moves and make better use of cash, saying:

"The company is so big that how they use the cash is going to determine value, there’s no way about it. But there are going to be some new products coming in. I think they have some things up their sleeve."

Coatue reportedly hosted AAPL's CFO at their investor day earlier this year.  Laffont hinted that AAPL should make some acquisitions as well as he wants the company to bring on some new talent and ideas.

On Google (GOOG) 

Laffont thinks the tech giant could be a triple in 5-7 years from now, trading at just 5x earnings.

On Storage & "The Cloud" 

He sees storage as a long-term trend as data continues to move to the cloud.  One of his largest investments in public markets is datacenter provider Equinix (EQIX).  Coatue has recently started making private investments and was one of their first (another play on this trend).

Talking Other Tech Companies 

He also commented on how there's a new 'four horsemen' of tech: Google, Apple, and (AMZN), original members of the group remain, but he would add Samsung and Twitter to that bunch.  He says Twitter has huge strategic value, but little revenue so it's hard to value.  On Facebook (FB), Laffont feels that in an increasingly mobile world, advertising is a lot harder.

On Tech Value Traps & Shorts

The Coatue manager went on to note that while many investors in other sectors look for bargains and 'cheap stocks,' tech isn't necessarily the best place to do that because a lot of times in this sector these cheap stocks are actually value traps.  He listed Hewlett Packard (HPQ), Microsoft (MSFT), and Intel (INTC), citing a rising mobile computing world.

He also mentioned his firm was exploring a concept on the short side he called a 'paperless office' where people are all using iPads and people don't need/use paper as much.  He says that, "A lot of the companies stuck in the desktop/printer world are going to have a tough time going forward."

On Media & Content

Laffont's content theme focuses on smartphones and how everyone will have one eventually and want to consume content on those devices (citing Netflix (NFLX), HBO Go, ESPN).  He thinks the world will move towards content being monetized in very different ways.  He said he likes Time Warner (TWX), CBS (CBS), and News Corp (NWSA).

Embedded below is the Bloomberg TV video of Philippe Laffont's appearance:

To see the rest of Coatue's portfolio, head to the new issue of our Hedge Fund Wisdom newsletter that was recently released.

blog comments powered by Disqus