Facebook plans to file for its initial public offering as soon as Wednesday next week according to multiple reports from Dow Jones Newswires. Morgan Stanley is expected to win the deal to lead the highly anticipated IPO, and Goldman Sachs is also reportedly expected to play a role. According to Dow Jones Newswires, Facebook is currently looking at a valuation between $75 billion and $100 billion. Following next week’s anticipated filing, it will still be several months until the company goes public. The initial offering is expected to raise as much as $10 billion, which would make it the biggest U.S. Internet IPO in history. The record currently stands at $1.9 billion, achieved by Google when it went public in 2004. At $10 billion, Facebook would also best the largest global technology IPO — Infineon’s $5.9 billion offer — by more than 40%. More →
Apple’s next-generation iPhone will be slimmer than its current iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S models according to a new report, and it may feature a quad-mode chipset that will work across all 3G and 4G LTE networks. In a note to clients on Friday, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty wrote that Apple’s business will continue to grow despite slowing demand high-end smartphone market. Mirroring a small piece of countless reports, Huberty says Apple’s next-generation “iPhone 5” will feature a new slimmer case. The iPhone 5 will also feature a new quad-mode chip from Qualcomm that could allow it to operate on all 3G and 4G LTE networks, Huberty wrote. Finally, the analyst says Apple will launch the next-generation iPad 3 tablet some time in the first half, at which time it will lower its price on the current iPad 2 tablet to attract a broader range of customers. BGR exclusively reported last month that Apple is preparing to launch a completely redesigned iPhone this fall with an aluminum case and a rubber or plastic bezel that will cover a new wrap-around antenna.
Apple could sell as many as 190 million iPhones next year according to a survey conducted by AlphaWise for Morgan Stanley. The survey results also suggested Apple will sell 31-36 million iPhone handsets this quarter, almost 30% more than estimates from other Wall Street analysts. That figure is also more than the 30 million iPhones Morgan Stanley’s chief Apple analyst Katy Huberty expects the company to sell during the fourth quarter. “Surprisingly, US consumers expect to buy more iPhones in C1Q12 than C4Q11,” Huberty wrote in an email to clients on Wednesday, noting that the survey results suggest consumers could buy as many as 41 million iPhones during the first quarter next year. Huberty also suggested that Apple could sell 15 million more iPads should it decide to drop the price by $100, making the entry-level iPad 2 just $399. Morgan Stanley estimates Apple will sell 52 million iPads during 2012 but the results of the AlphaWise survey suggested consumers are ready to purchase as many as 81 million units, far above the Street’s consensus of 54 million units. More →
Amazon launched its Kindle Fire on November 14th, and reviews seem to be split evenly into two camps. One group says Amazon’s debut tablet falls short of Apple’s iPad in almost every way, so much so that it may end up driving more business to Apple as customers look for a more fluid experience. The second set of reviewers sees the tablet as providing a solid user experience at an extremely attractive price point, thus opening the tablet market up to a whole new range of buyers. We fell into the second group when we reviewed the Amazon Kindle Fire last month. A number of analysts see huge potential in the Kindle Fire as well, and fourth-quarter shipments could reach as high as 5 million units. Morgan Stanley analyst Scott Devitt is among the analysts who sees huge potential in the Kindle Fire, and he believes this new portal into Amazon’s vast catalog of content could be a huge boost for the company’s bottom line. Read on for more. More →
Zynga, the popular gaming company behind hits such as Farmville — and the owner of other smash titles such as Words with Friends on Android and iPhone — has filed for an initial public offering (IPO), The New York Times reported on Friday. It currently has a $20 billion valuation and has plans to offer 10% of its shares; Morgan Stanley will work on the deal. Mark Pincus, the company’s CEO, expects that Zynga can earn $1 billion through the IPO. Unlike some other recent tech IPOs, which have caused many to claim the industry is in the midst of a “tech bubble,” Zynga has had solid earnings through its business model, which typically relies on in-app purchases for in-game currency. The firm reportedly recorded a profit of $90.6 million in 2011 on revenues of nearly $600 million. Zynga currently remains the top-dog when it comes to gaming on Facebook — it has 272.5 million active users across its biggest titles such as Cityville and Farmville. More →
A new report suggests Apple’s manufacturing partners are preparing to begin assembling the next-generation iPhone some time between the middle and end of August. This time frame suggests that a launch might not occur until the second half of September at the earliest. Following a series of meetings in Taiwan, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty issued the new production timeline in a note to investors on Sunday. “Apple’s next iPhone will begin production in mid to late August and ramp aggressively,” the analyst wrote. Her meetings yielded no information about a new prepaid iPhone that might launch as a complimentary model in September, however. Huberty also reaffirmed reports that Apple is working on a branded television product that could open the door to a massive new revenue stream. “We also believe Apple is in the early design stages for a TV, which could add $19 billion and $4.50 of annual revenue and EPS longer-term,” she wrote in the same note on Sunday. Huberty sees Apple stock as a great purchase for investors in spite of its recent downward trend, and most analysts seem to agree, though the stock continues to drop despite countless favorable ratings from analysts. More →
Hulu announced on Thursday that its Hulu Plus application is now available on select Android smartphones. The service costs $7.99 per month and allows users to browse and play Hulu Plus content directly on their smartphones. It’s currently only available for the Motorola Atrix, Motorola DROID X, Motorola DROID 2, HTC Inspire 4G, Nexus S, and Nexus One, but Hulu says it will add more devices throughout the year. New users can sign up for a free 1-week trial to give the service a whirl, and the app is available in the Android Market now. In other news, Hulu is also reportedly up for sale. The company has hired Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim Partners to assist with possible deals, and Yahoo is said to have already expressed interest in bidding on the streaming video firm. More →
Following a meeting with high-ranking executives at Apple, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty came away with a very positive outlook on Apple’s near term future. In a note to investors on Thursday, Huberty stated her “increasing confidence” in the company and said Apple stock could soon reach $540. Huberty isn’t quite as enthusiastic as Formula Capital’s James Altucher, but her recent positions on Apple are a marked change from her stances a few years ago when she repeatedly lowered her price targets on Apple stock and consistently missed the mark ahead of Apple’s earnings reports. Fast forward to today, and Huberty is very bullish on Apple along with just about every other analyst on Wall Street. Outside of the numbers game, however, Huberty noted that Apple would be making some major software announcements at Worldwide Developer Conference next month. Apple sees its product cycles as being software driven as opposed to hardware driven, the analyst noted, writing that major iOS and Mac OS updates would drive sales even if Apple doesn’t introduce a new iPhone this summer. Huberty also noted that Apple may release an iPhone at a lower price point in the next two years, though many analysts believe the monthly cost of data plans required with Apple’s iPhone could be more prohibitive than the cost of the device itself.
Apple may be expanding its portfolio beyond just Apple TV to an actual “Smart TV,” according to Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty. “Checks in Asia suggest Apple is working on a Smart TV prototype,” Huberty said in a note to investors on Friday. She also suggested that such a TV could help create a whole new Smart TV category. While there are already connected TVs that some manufacturer’s advertise as being “smart,” Huberty thinks Apple’s could include “TV/Video content, gaming, DVR as well as other features like apps and FaceTime.” By 2013, such a device could earn Apple roughly $4 billion for every 1% of the TV market it grabs, Huberty said. We think a cooler option might be for Apple to take the ATRIX 4G path and create a TV dock that would allow your phone to power services — and render them properly — on your home TV. It would certainly be a cheaper option. Either way, Infinity Blade rendered on the big screen? Count us in.