Microsoft is rocking.
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) - Get Report has built a strong case for long-term growth acceleration beyond what's obvious, Canaccord Genuity analysts said Thursday, Oct. 5, upgrading the stock to "buy" from "hold."
"While the [Office 365] upgrade cycle is obvious and well-known, investors are missing the explosive potential of eSports, if Microsoft makes a decisive move in that direction, as well as an emerging marketing effort that we believe will increasingly look like, and compete with, Salesforce (CRM) - Get Report ," analysts wrote.
Microsoft is poised to capitalize on eSports with its Xbox business, as a great deal of the eSports craze is centered on video game tournaments. Microsoft is releasing its newest generation Xbox, called Xbox One X, in November.
"At present, Microsoft only tangentially monetizes eSports, but in our view, this is both an area of future internal development and prospective M&A," analysts added. Microsoft could go as far as becoming the equivalent to Live Nation Entertainment-owned (LYV) - Get Report TicketMaster or even run its own leagues, analysts noted.
At the same time, Microsoft is on track to grow revenue in its Azure cloud computing and office productivity platforms. "As the firm's technology moves decisively towards the cloud, Azure is set to grow revenues and more importantly achieve scale on what is a relatively high fixed cost IaaS (infrastructure as a service)/PaaS (platform as a service) business," analysts added.
"Accelerating growth should at least preserve MSFT's current valuation and perhaps even drive a bit of multiple expansion, which will continue to drive the stock higher," analysts wrote.
Though analysts said Microsoft shares could reach $115 to $120 by the end of 2020, they placed a short-term price target of $86 on Microsoft stock, up from $76.
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