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Why Oppenheimer Sees Turtle Beach Rising as Much as 200%

Turtle Beach Corp. (NASDAQ: HEAR) is a low-volume stock, and one that so far has not worked out too well for investors. There were two bits of news out on Thursday, one of which is product news, and one is a key analyst call that implies as much as 200% upside, if the analyst report proves accurate.

The company announced on Thursday that it is launching the Ear Force Recon 50 series headsets for PC and console gamers. Keep in mind that a Turtle Beach press release from September 15 said that it was launching the Ear Force Stealth 450 as a 100% fully wireless PC gaming headset featuring a DTS headphone with surround sound and “superhuman” hearing.

So, what about that analyst call with 200% upside? Oppenheimer started coverage with a report called “Coming In Loud and Clear.” The firm’s Sean McGowan initiated Turtle Beach with an Outperform rating and a $6.00 price target. Does a $6.00 target sound right for a $2.03 closing price? Because of such an aggressive small-cap stock analyst call here, 24/7 Wall St. has listed much other outside data.

Sean McGowan’s report from Oppenheimer said:

We view Turtle Beach as an attractive way to play two investment ideas — the resurgence in console video games and accompanying rise in sales of multiplayer online games, and the emergence of HyperSound, a “directed audio” technology that is on the cusp of commercialization. We see strong growth in 2016 and beyond as the transition from the prior generation of video games to the “next” generation of PlayStation and Xbox games gains momentum, and as the first consumer products employing HyperSound are shipped.

While 24/7 Wall St. is eager to convey the report’s details here, a couple words of caution should be offered. This is a small-cap stock with less than a $100 million market cap. The company also had only $3.02 million in cash at the end of the June quarter, and Yahoo! Finance showed that its net tangible assets were at -$6.02 million, versus a total equity value of $114.5 million. Revenues were $186 million in 2014 and $178 million in 2013, but the net income applicable to shareholders was -$15.5 million in 2014 and -$6.1 million in 2013.

McGowan’s report had three key bullet points. One was that the video-game cycle transition should turn positive. Another was that the HyperSound is hitting the market. And the last point was that it expects rapid growth. A combined quote from the report was as follows:

For the past several years, Turtle Beach has been the leading headset among hardcore video game players looking for superior audio when playing multiplayer online games. We believe the “crossover point” between last-gen and next-gen consoles has been passed and that headset sales will show net growth for the next several years.

HyperSound is a technology that has been “in the lab” for many years that allows audio signals to be precisely directed in a narrow beam. The first consumer products using the technology should hit the market in the coming weeks. The product, called Clear, will initially be sold through audiologists’ offices and hearing aid retailers.

We expect Turtle Beach to show revenue growth in 2016 of over 30%, the combination of strong headset growth and the first full year of HyperSound revenue. We expect 2016 EPS of about $0.15, surging to $0.60 by 2018.

As for how the firm came up with a $6.00 price target by late in 2016, it said it reflects a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 13.5 times estimated forward 12 months earnings per share and an enterprise-value-to-EBITDA multiple of just 5.5 times.

If investors want any additional risks, Oppenheimer listed them as follows:

  • Continued growth in console video games
  • Consumer acceptance of new products and hearing benefits of HyperSound
  • The exploitation of HyperSound in other markets

This analyst report garnered little attention on Thursday, considering that a 200% upside call compares to traditional Buy and Outperform ratings coming with price targets that are 8% to 15% higher than a current share price. Turtle Beach’s stock was up only 2% at $2.07, and the 52-week range is $1.75 to $7.65. Just before 2:00 p.m. Eastern, its trading volume was less than 53,000 shares, compared to a daily average of about 165,000 shares.

Because this call has such a massive upside price target, 24/7 Wall St. wanted to include what other analysts have said about Turtle Beach over the past year or so:

  • B. Riley started it as Buy with a $5.50 target (versus $2.80 share price) on June 25.
  • Wunderlich Securities started it as Hold with a $2.50 price target (versus a $1.99 share price) on March 31.
  • Northland Securities had a Market Perform rating and lowered its share price to $2.50 from $3.00 on March 17.
  • Needham had a strong Buy rating back on March 9, but it cut its target to $8 from $12.

Turtle Beach may have a 52-week range of $1.75 to $7.65, but this was a $14 and $15 stock earlier in 2014 and briefly hit $20 in 2013. The company was formerly known as Parametric Sound and changed its name to Turtle Beach back in May of 2014.

Turtle Beach’s website indicates that it is the only gaming headset brand that makes officially licensed headsets for all three major console platforms (Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation and Nintendo Wii). The company’s website also showed the following statements regarding the Xbox and PlayStation gaming headsets:

In a partnership with Microsoft, Turtle Beach is developing audio solutions for the next-generation Xbox One, including the officially licensed XO FOUR and XO SEVEN headsets that launched in March 2014.

In a partnership with Sony Consumer Electronics, Turtle Beach is developing officially licensed headsets for the new PlayStation 4 entertainment console. The new headsets will be unveiled this summer and in stores in late 2014.

By Jon C. Ogg