After the mandatory silent period lifted yesterday on Youku.com, Inc. (NYSE:YOKU) and E-Commerce China Dangdang, Inc. (NYSE:DANG), stock analysts were finally allowed to weigh in on whether or not investors should buy into the companies. Despite powerful IPOs, analysts weren’t too enthusiastic on the so-called “YouTube” (Youku) and “Amazon” (Dangdang) of China, though.
Piper Jaffray gave both stocks a neutral rating. Goldman Sachs and Cowen concurred. Goldman’s James Mitchell pointed out that Youku “could get profitable quickly,” though according to CNBC.com, “perhaps as soon as late this year or early next year.”
Still, Mitchell was careful to point out that YouKu faces rapidly rising costs as video content producers demand more money for their product. Licensing fees for the movies that YouKu sells as online streams rose by more than 90 percent in 2010. If that trend continues, Youku has little hope of making money by selling streaming video, and the company will have to rely heavily on some form of ad-supported site content.
The demure reception by analysts seemed to cool investor excitement over the stocks yesterday as Youku fell more than 9 percent to $34.09 a share and Dangdang dropped 8.3 percent.
Still, the story’s complicated by the strange, almost-maniacal outburst Dangdang’s CEO posted on a Twitter-like site in China on Sunday evening. Guoqing Li was apparently miffed that Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) bankers talked him into offering Dangdang shares at $16. “I held back a breath and silently cursed you motherf**kers,” Li wrote online.
Even after the substantial drop in price yesterday, though, Dangdang’s shares are up 94 percent since the company’s IPO and Youku’s shares are up 166 percent. Only time will tell if the companies can hold investor interest long enough for them to start making serious money.