Salesforce (CRM) can boost its stock performance by pressing pause on its M&A activity and focusing on integration, a key industry analyst argues.
Jefferies analyst Brent Thill raised his price target on the San Francisco provider of customer-relationship-management software to $220 a share from $205.
He affirmed a buy rating on the stock, which is valued at just 8.1 times forward earnings, even after it rose nearly 10% over the past three months.
The stock has underperformed on year-to-date, one-year and five-year bases, the analyst said. It has sharply lagged rival Adobe (ADBE) on a five year basis, he said.
Salesforce shares at last check were up 0.9% at $188.53.
"We believe we saw a meaningful acceleration in M&A in 2019, and CRM needs to take a breather to digest the Tableau deal, the biggest one so far," Thill said.
Last August Salesforce closed the purchase of the Seattle analytics platform for a reported $15.7 billion.
"CRM needs to make sure the integration between the various clouds is seamless before embarking on more M&A," Thill said.
Salesforce could do more to deliver profitability given its scale, as it continues to spend more than its peers do to support go-to-market projects, the analyst wrote.
Jefferies estimates that Salesforce spends about 40% of sales on sales and marketing efforts, compared with 26.6% as the median expense.
"We continue to be positive on CRM and believe there is ample value to unlock," he said. "[The long-term] pipeline is robust. We also believe covid-19 has been accelerator driving more businesses to the cloud, which should benefit CRM."