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Can GoPro make a comeback?

Nick Woodman, founder and chief executive officer of GoPro Inc., holds the GoPro HERO4 Session camera.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Nick Woodman, founder and chief executive officer of GoPro Inc., holds the GoPro HERO4 Session camera.

It's make-or-break for GoPro.

That's how financial analysts covering the company now talk about its prospects after a nosedive in the stock price. Ahead of its earnings report Thursday, GoPro has plunged more than 35 percent this year; more than 75 percent over the past 12 months.

Analysts aren't expecting much from the video camera maker when it reports first-quarter results: They predict an EPS loss of 60 cents on revenue of $169 million, which would be a 53 percent drop on the topline, according to Thomson Reuters.



Last year, GoPro mishandled the release of its HERO Session camera, which was billed as its smallest, lightest and most convenient product. The camera didn't sell well, and GoPro ultimately had to slash the price by $200.

It also has broader challenges. Critics complain that it's still too tough to edit and share content. In trying to rectify the problem, GoPro earlier this year bought two mobile video editing software companies.

At this point, GoPro doesn't have many allies left: 30 percent of the company's stock is currently sold short. Only 28 percent of analysts have a buy rating on the company, according to FactSet.

Michael Pachter of Webush is a bull on GoPro, though a cautious one, with a $13 price target. Given the company's history of innovation, Pachter says he is willing to give GoPro the benefit of the doubt.

The stock was trading at $11.16 a share on Thursday, down about 2 percent.

Specifically, he is optimistic about GoPro's upcoming drone, where he estimates sales of up to 200,000 each quarter, making the company's full year guidance achievable.

"The drone market is crowded but, if you own a GoPro camera, then you probably prefer a drone built for that camera," Pachter tells CNBC.

He's also looking forward to the release of the company's next generation camera, expected this year. Research firm NPD says GoPro commands around 95 percent of the action-camera market in the U.S., but that's meaningless if the company's sales are declining.

Most analysts aren't buyers of GoPro, however.

Piper Jaffray's Erinn Murphy remains negative on the camera category, noting in a research note that her recent survey of teenagers showed a slip in camera ownership.

As for the drone, Murphy thinks bullish expectation could be overstated given pressure in pricing in the consumer segment of that market.

Beyond GoPro's fundamentals, one question for investors is whether the company could be an acquisition target. Pachter says it could be, with Apple, Amazon and Google all potential suitors.

There are reasons to see why a tech giant could be interested in CEO Nick Woodman's company. It's now trading at just about one times sales, which is down from four times one year ago . That's less than other consumer electronics companies such as FitBit and Garmin.

GoPro has no debt on its balance sheet, and its market cap is just $1.5 billion.

Still, any decision to sell would have to go through Woodman: He owns 26 percent of GoPro and a majority of voting rights. He's able to control all matters submitted to stockholders, including any corporate transaction.