Netflix Shares Could Surge 40%: Analyst
As cable companies begin to see the value of using Netflix to push consumers into higher priced broadband packages, the stock could surge, says one analyst.
"Comments that you're hearing out of John Malone and other people in the multi-channel ISP industry—which is that Netflix is now an asset and we can use Netflix to drive higher speed, higher priced broadband—that's a very different tone than you heard out of this industry just 12 or 18 months ago," BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" on Monday.
Malone, chairman of Liberty Media, told CNBC last week that he could see Netflix coming to the cable industry and proposing a wholesale-retail relationship as opposed to being adversaries. That could mean cable companies would offer Netflix as part of a bundle with either video or broadband services, Malone said.
Greenfield said cable companies can use Netflix as a way to entice consumers to buy higher-priced broadband services that deliver speeds optimized for video streaming services like Netflix and is a key reason for his "buy" rating.
Greenfield has a $250 price target which implies 40 percent upside from current levels.
Netflix has also recovered from public relations missteps a year and a half ago when it announced a new pricing scheme that raised prices on its DVD-by-mail service and made online streaming a separate package, angering customers.
(Read More: Netflix Lowers Earnings Outlook on Angry Customers)
"They've notably improved the value of a Netflix subscription," Greenfield said. "Look at the content they've added, not to mention original programming for the first time. So the price-value of Netflix has never been better."
But not all analysts share Greenfield's bullishness. Last week, Evercore Partners started coverage on Netflix at "underperform," warning that there will be more than one Internet TV provider, which will cap the prices Netflix can charge consumers and lead to higher programming costs.
The Evercore analysts noted that the key driver to the company's business model and stock price is long-term subscriber growth.
"Internet TV is growing rapidly and Netflix is the clear leader in the market; however, we are highly skeptical of Netflix reaching even the low end of the 60-90 million subscribers that management has projected," the analysts wrote in a note.
Evercore or an affiliate expects to receive or intends to seek compensation for investment banking services from Netflix within the next three months