As Carl Icahn Sells, Will Netflix Stock Split Mirror Apple's Success?

Updated from 10:29 a.m. to include additional information regarding Carl Icahn selling his stake in the ninth paragraph.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Netflix  (NFLX) has been the top performer on the S&P 500 for more than seven months despite having a stock price that retail investors might find intimidating.

Yet as the world's largest Internet-TV service executes a 7-for-1 stock split, investors are left to wonder whether Netflix shares can continue their meteoric rise, and in the process mirror the success that Apple (AAPL) has had since it engineered a similar disbursement a year ago.

Shares of Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix were rising 2.5% to $698.50 on Wednesday, extending the advance of a stock that has gained 89% since November.

A year ago, Apple took a similar turn when the world's largest company by market capitalization also engineered a seven-for-one split. Since then, Apple shares have jumped 38%, with only a small part of that jump occurring in the days after the split. In both cases, the companies are betting that lowering the price of its shares can attract many of the same consumers who buy its products and binge-watch their shows. The stock split will take effect on July 2.

But does that mean Netflix can count on a comparable advance? Media analyst Richard Greenfield of BTIG Research, who has a 12-month price target for Netflix of $950, argues that the stock will move higher because its subscription "direct-to-consumer" model is far better suited to modern viewing habits than advertising-dependent TV networks -- not because it's splitting its stock. 

If you liked this article you might like

'The Handmaid's Tale' Emmy Win Is Really Big for Netflix

Stocks Dad Would Have Loved, And Why He Was Right

'Free' iPhone Deals From Wireless Carriers Not as Good as They Were Last Year

Fox Attempts to Win Asia's Crowded Streaming Market With Original Content

Disney Gets Bullish Report Aimed at Drowning Out Naysayers