- "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer takes a closer look at Spotify after the music streaming giant's direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
- Considering its growth possibilities, Cramer puts Spotify in a league with the likes of Netflix.
Spotify's direct listing differed from a standard initial public offering in that the company only sold existing shares instead of issuing new ones and had minimal contact with investment banks, which typically underwrite IPOs.
As co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek said in an online post the night before the listing, "what's ... important to me is that tomorrow does NOT become the most important day for Spotify."
"He wasn't desperately trying to raise capital, he was trying to do right by his employees," Cramer said. "In every respect that matters, this was the anti-IPO."
The largest music streaming service in the world, Spotify has 159 million monthly active users, 71 million of whom are paid subscribers — nearly double Apple's 40 million paid subscribers. Users can listen to Spotify's millions of songs for free, but with occasional advertisements, or pay $9.99 a month for unlimited, ad-free streaming.
Spotify's user numbers have also been growing rapidly: in 2017, monthly users increased by 29 percent versus 2016, and the number of premium subscribers rose by 46 percent.
Cramer's excitement about Spotify ties back to its disruptive business model. Before Spotify was created, online piracy had all but eroded the recorded music business, which had been in decline for 15 years.
"After Spotify's subscription-based business model started gaining traction, the industry started growing again, and that's not a coincidence," the "Mad Money" host said. "People who aren't going to shell out $10 for an album on iTunes will gladly pay $10 a month for access to tens of millions of songs."
Spotify has now captured approximately 42 percent of global market share. Even so, Cramer sees a huge potential growth runway — 3.6 billion people worldwide have internet access.
"The essence of this story is that Spotify's going to keep expanding in the markets where it's already operating while also moving aggressively into new regions," Cramer said. "They are gradually taking over the world, people, and if even Apple can't catch up to them, it's hard to imagine anyone else getting in their way."
As for the numbers, Spotify is growing its revenue and its margins, inching closer to profitability. Its free cash flow is positive and its balance sheet is tight, with $1.5 billion in cash and no debt.
"Beyond the stellar numbers, what really intrigues me is the fact that Spotify is one of the few services that people don't mind paying for — in fact, they tend not to even think about paying for it, just like Netflix or Amazon Prime or Sirius XM or Apple Storage," Cramer said. "That's a great position to be in."
And even though shares of Spotify seemed to have a rocky first day of trading, Cramer wasn't bothered by the declines, noting that it was the kind of stock that gets cheaper as it sinks.
A $143.99 stock as of Thursday's closing bell, Spotify trades at 4.2 times this year's revenue estimates, much cheaper than Netflix, which has a similar growth forecast and trades at 8.1 times sales.
"Here's the bottom line: Spotify belongs to an elite club of companies where you don't even think about paying the bill every month, its growth is phenomenal and I bet growth-oriented money managers would be willing to pay a lot more for its stock," the "Mad Money" host said. "I think you can pick at it here, then buy a lot more into additional weakness."