Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster argues that Chrome, which has become the second most popular Web browser with about 26% market share by StatCounter's figures, is "a meaningful, underappreciated asset of Google. Based on Google's recent search distribution deal with Mozilla for Firefox, we believe Chrome could be worth over $1 billion to Google."
Munster's math is simple. Last month, Google and Firefox signed a three-year extension for $900 million. Munster assumes that Chrome could generate about $300 million in annual revenue at the same market share it has now. Assigning a multiple of five times revenue, Munster says Chrome could be worth $1.5 billion."Since Chrome is likely growing faster given that it is taking market share and Firefox is losing, we believe Chrome could be attributed a higher annual revenue assumption than Firefox and would likely be worth more than $2 billion as a standalone entity," Munster writes. For some context, if Chrome was its own $2 billion company, it would only be larger than two constituents of the S&P 500 -- Supervalue (SVU) and Federated Investors (FII). Google itself has a market cap of nearly $215 billion, making Chrome's contribution small even using Munster's math. That said, Munster believes Chrome, which launched only three years ago, "enables Google to push other browser providers to continue to innovate, in turn enabling Google's services to take advantage of better browsers to deliver richer experiences to users. However, given Chrome's success, we believe it could mark a way to keep search distribution costs from other browsers in check long-term (beyond 2 years)." Of course, Microsoft (MSFT) still dominates with its Internet Explorer browser, gaining more than 40% of market shares, while Firefox comes in third with a market share of 25%. Chrome's growth rate has been impressive, with Google noting that the 200 million users in the third quarter was up 100% from the year-ago period. Munster has an "overweight" rating on Google with a $720 price target, which he has maintained since Oct. 14. By comparison, Jefferies came out only two days ago with a "buy" rating and a whopping $850 price target. Shares of Google -- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston.
>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Robert Holmes. >To follow Robert Holmes on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/RobTheStreet. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV