Net Stock Picks for the Millennium: Part I
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I decided to post this article a few days before the new year (who knows, there could be some type of Y2K glitch). These are my top 10 picks for the New Year. This column is Part One; tomorrow, I will post the final installment.
Let's get started:
CMGI (CMGI): Sure, the stock price has had a great run. But expect much more of the same for the new year. The company is a Net powerhouse and has investments in a myriad of hot Net companies that will hit NASDAQ. Companies include bizbuyer.com, AuctionWatch, Furniture.com, FindLaw, Visto and on and on.
The founder and CEO David Wetherell is a pioneer of the Net space and has yet to slow down. For example, he has been using CMGI stock as an effective tool to build assets, buying such companies as Flycast Communications for $690 million and AdForce for $500 million. CMGI also has interests in Engage Technologies and AdSmart. In short order, Wetherell has built an online advertising powerhouse that rivals DoubleClick.
MP3.com (MPPP): The music industry -- which has been resistant to change for decades -- is finally coming under much pressure, led primarily from MP3.com. The company is becoming the platform for online music, a true music service provider (MSP).
The MP3.com model is a direct attack on the music industry. MP3.com allows artists to post their music and then split gross revenues 50-50. The traditional model is to give the artist a measly 8 percent to 10 percent.
So, it is no surprise that MP3.com has more than 250,000 tracks (from 40,000 artists). Moreover, a variety of major artists have signed on, such as TLC, Alanis Morissette and the Goo Goo Dolls.
MP3.com has been leveraging its base. For example, the company recently added greeting cards. Or, there was the acquisition yesterday of SeeUThere.com, which will allow event planning and ticketing.
In the new year, MP3.com should continue to have strong growth numbers, as well as many new artists that sign-on.
The IPO was priced at $28 and surged beyond $100 per share. However, the stock is now at $35. Actually, I think the company represents the best Net value play.
Homestore.com (HOMS): Needless to say, the real estate industry is huge (one of the biggest in the US). What's more, purchasing a house is one of the most important decisions for families. Of course, HomeStore.com has the tools to make the decision much easier and smarter.
What makes the company so compelling is that it has an exclusive arrangement with the National Association of Realtors, which controls most of the housing listings in the US. And the key to any real estate site is listings.
But the site is also useful for real estate professionals, such as agents and brokers. There is also a site for commercial builders.
So far, Ashford.com has been the trailblazer of this new industry. On the site, you can buy a wide assortment of luxury items, such as sun glasses, diamonds, necklaces, pens and so on.
Interestingly enough, Ashford.com got a strategic investment from Amazon.com (a 16.6 percent stake). The deal will allow Ashford.com to market its items to Am