There's a big buying opportunity in DigitalBridge , an under-the-radar digital infrastructure company, according to Deutsche Bank. Analyst Matthew Niknam initiated the stock with a buy rating and a price target of $18 per share, implying upside of 26.3% from Tuesday's close. Niknam said the company's high-growth model and sector resilience make it a promising buy even ahead of a potential economic downturn. DigitalBridge owns, operates and invests in cell towers, data centers and other infrastructure-related businesses. "DigitalBridge's high-growth, and increasingly asset-light business model represent a unique approach to investing in digital infrastructure," the analyst wrote in a Tuesday note. "Given the highly durable secular and thematic tailwinds tied to 5G, cloud, edge computing, and more data-intensive AI/ML workloads ... we see digital infrastructure as a defensive asset class with significant runway for incremental fund flows, even against a tougher macro backdrop." The analyst added that he believes Wall Street is underestimating the company's growth potential. "We believe DigitalBridge's growth screens favorably relative to peers, though valuation has yet to reflect this," said Niknam. "For context, we model fee-related earnings growth at a nearly 45% CAGR between 2022E and 2025E (roughly double that of larger Alternative Asset Manager peers), with similar outperformance when looking at forward distributable earnings growth." To be sure, Niknam says the company's relatively complex business and recent structural changes can explain why the stock is seemingly undervalued compared to its competitors. "We believe DBRG's business has additional room for simplification, which could help it close the gap with peers over time. For example, the company currently consolidates Data Center assets despite holding just over 10% ownership (Digital OpCo segment), which inflates its leverage profile," Niknam wrote. "Additionally, given the transition from a legacy REIT structure towards more of an alternative asset manager, the shares have lacked a true "home", likely explaining the discount vs. its more seasoned (and larger) alternative asset manager peers." He added that DigitalBridge is not entirely immune to a substantial slowdown in fundraising, either due to tougher macroeconomic conditions or greater competition from larger scale asset managers introducing funds. DigitalBridge shares have gained 35.3% in 2023. —CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed to this report.
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