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Citi Analyst Mark Mahaney’s 3 Fixes for Netflix

Three things need to happen for Netflix to recover from a precipitous drop in share value, a top Internet analyst said Thursday on “Fast Money.”

Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney, who maintained a neutral rating on Netflix stock, said that the streaming-and-DVD company had to:

  • Regain momentum in streaming U.S. subscriptions.
  • Increase margins, “even if modestly,” despite the rising cost of acquiring content.
  • Grow internaitionally. “This company’s saying they’re going to use up to $120 million a quarter in 2012 in international markets,” he said. “People are going to want to see really strong subscriber growth in international markets in order to justify that.”

Mahaney initiated a price target of $84 per share.

“We’re on the sidelines on this stock,” he said, acknowledging that Citi had made “a bad call” on a Netflix stock upgrade several months ago.

Netflix, which was down 58 percent year to date, closed at $73.84, up 4 percent.

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Mahaney also weighed in on a couple of other stocks.

Akamai Action

Akamai stock prices spiked on news it had purchased rival Cotendo for $268 million, a result Mahaney didn’t think was entirely justified.

“This is where my skepticism rises,” he said.

Mahaney called the deal short on details and lacking “bottom-line projections.”

The stock was trading at 18 times earnings, which he said should be closer to a 15-times multiple.

No Love for Yahoo

Yahoo shares jumped on word that the Internet company was looking to reduce its stake in Alibaba.

“A 50 percent solution strikes me as neither fishing nor cutting bait,” Mahaney said. “It’s not a great solution for shareholders.

“What it’s going to do is remove the private equity or the strategic play off the table. I don’t think sale of the Asia assets is going to act as a dramatic catalyst for the stock from here.”

Mahaney also criticized Yahoo’s management team and board had as having a “checkered history.”


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Trader disclosure: On Dec. 22, 2011, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders: eymour is long BAC; Seymour is long POT; Seymour’s firm is long BBD; ami owns C; Adami owns GS; Adami owns NUE; Adami owns MSFT; Adami owns AGL; Adami owns BTU; Adami owns INTC; Najarian is long AAPL; Najarian is long C; Najarian is long Long JPM calls; Najarian is long YHOO; Najarian is long TEVA; Najarian is long PFE; Najarian is long MRK; Najarian is long long LLY calls; Najarian is long COP; Weiss owns QCOM; Weiss owns WLP; Weiss owns NIHD; Weiss owns JPM; Weiss owns KO; Weiss owns DE; Weiss owns EUO; Weiss owns MDRX; Dicker owns oil; Dicker has positions in CVH; Dicker has positions in ATPG; Dicker has positions in PXP; McCullough owns TLT;

For Mark Mahaney
Citigroup Global Markets Inc. or its affiliates beneficially owns 1% or more of any class of common equity securities of Akamai Technologies Inc, Netflix Inc, Yahoo! Inc. This position reflects information available as of the prior business day.

Within the past 12 months, Citigroup Global Markets Inc. or its affiliates has acted as manager or co-manager of an offering of securities of Google Inc

Citigroup Global Markets Inc. or its affiliates has received compensation for investment banking services provided within the past 12 months from Google Inc

Citigroup Global Markets Inc. or its affiliates expects to receive or intends to seek, within the next three months, compensation for investment banking services from Yahoo! Inc

Citigroup Global Markets Inc. or an affiliate received compensation for products and services other than investment banking services from Akamai Technologies Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Google Inc, Yahoo! Inc in the past 12 months

Citigroup Global Markets Inc. currently has, or had within the past 12 months, the following as investment banking client(s): Google Inc, Yahoo! Inc

Citigroup Global Markets Inc. currently has, or had within the past 12 months, the following as clients, and the services provided were non-investment-banking, securities-related: Akamai Technologies Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Google Inc, Yahoo! Inc

Citigroup Global Markets Inc. currently has, or had within the past 12 months, the following as clients, and the services provided were non-investment-banking, non-securities-related: Amazon.com Inc, Google Inc, Yahoo! Inc

Analysts' compensation is determined based upon activities and services intended to benefit the investor clients of Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and its affiliates ("the Firm"). Like all Firm employees, analysts receive compensation that is impacted by overall firm profitability which includes investment banking revenues

The Firm is a market maker in the publicly traded equity securities of Akamai Technologies Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Google Inc, Netflix Inc, Yahoo! Inc.

For Alex Panagiotidis
No disclosures

For Greg Zuckerman
No disclosures

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