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小米、Airbnb的假想估值何时成真?

Adam Lashinsky 2015年12月07日

真相总会浮出水面,而且通常是在公开市场上。不然的话,它就会在法庭上显露真容。

“谁会是下一个接盘侠?”

这话似乎正盘旋在中国手机神话小米的头上。这家从上一轮融资后估值100亿美元蹿升到450亿美元的新秀公司,正在遭受估值过高的质疑。

无独有偶,这种困惑也在美国科技界。这不禁让人想起2000年的互联网泡沫。当时,新兴企业向老牌公司发起冲击,并且享有比对方更高的估值。当然,它们的估值水平最终得到了验证——物有所值的生存了下来,价格虚高的则消失殆尽。而现在,类似情况再次出现,一系列资本交易为非上市和上市公司赋予了“真实”价值。

彭博社援引分析称,“小米的估值似乎并不是基于任何已知或已被接受的估值方法,大肆宣传和希望似乎是小米估值的两大主要推动力。”该报道显示,小米2014年的营收为120亿美元,450亿美元估值对应的市销率为3.75倍,已超过了苹果的2.9倍。

更多的估值案例是,在线旅游公司Expedia近期同意收购从事短租业务的HomeAway,收购价格接近40亿美元,这比2月份我采访HomeAway首席执行官布赖恩·沙普尔斯时该公司的估值高了10亿美元。当时,沙普尔斯的全部注意力都在竞争对手Airbnb身上;如今,后者在私募市场上的估值已经翻了一番,达到200亿美元。

人们普遍认为Airbnb的业务非常棒,我对此毫不怀疑。但说到HomeAway和Airbnb的估值,我确信前者的价值实实在在,而后者的价值纯属假想。HomeAway的价值点在于,它不断地让自己的经营模式向Airbnb靠拢,这对Expedia来说显然有吸引力。投资银行Jefferies的分析师布赖恩·皮茨猜测,Expedia或许还会收购类似的非旅游类公司,比如点评网站Yelp、外卖订餐网站GrubHub和团购网站Groupon。如果Expedia及其竞争对手Priceline等公司开始收购那些运气不佳的非上市企业,情况就会变得更有意思。

就像Salesforce.com首席执行官马克·贝尼奥夫在《财富》全球论坛上所说,公开市场正在多个方面逐步加强约束并提高清晰度。动视暴雪(Activision Blizzard ACTI)游戏公司收购《糖果传奇》制作公司King Digital Entertainment的价格低于后者的首发价,对于以热门产品为动力的公司来说,热门降温后的情形就是如此。

同样的,移动支付公司Square聘请的投行人士大概预先调查了Square股票的需求情况,他们设定的首发价低于上一轮私募的定价水平。这将触发一项补偿机制,为上一轮接受了Square 60亿美元高估值(目前这个数字约为40亿美元)的投资者配发更多股份,而是他们当时接受这种估值时约定的前提条件。这实际上表明此前的估值有误,也是为什么我称之为“假想估值”(Hypothetical Valuation)。

另一个假想估值事例出现在《福布斯》传媒去年的一桩私募交易中。《福布斯》传媒是《财富》杂志的竞争对手,它目前正在起诉这次交易的投资者。事情似乎是这样,福布斯传媒为收购方提供了一些资金,但那些“粗鲁的家伙”没有还贷,他们现在觉得双方当初约定的收购价不合理。

真相总会浮出水面,而且通常是在公开市场上。不然的话,它就会在法庭上显露真容。(财富中文网)

译者:Charlie

校对:詹妮

"Who will be the next one?"

There is a ton of confusion these days about valuations of technology companies. It is all very reminiscent of the dot-com bubble of 2000, when upstarts commanded bigger valuations than the incumbents they were attacking. The valuations worked themselves out, of course: The worthy survived, and the unworthy didn’t.

A similar process is playing out now, with a bevy of transactions that are putting “real” valuations on private and public companies. Recently Expedia agreed to buy HomeAway, the vacation-home listings company. Expedia will pay almost $4 billion, which is a billion more than HomeAway was worth when I interviewed its CEO, Brian Sharples, in February. Sharples was preoccupied at the time with Airbnb, whose private-market valuation has since doubled to $20 billion.

The conventional wisdom is that Airbnb has a marvelous business, and I have no reason to doubt it. Here’s what I know for sure about HomeAway’s valuation compared with Airbnb’s: The former company’s value is real, the latter’s is merely hypothetical. For what it’s worth, HomeAway has been tweaking its business model to be more like Airbnb, which is clearly attractive to Expedia. Brian Pitz, an analyst with Jefferies, speculates that Expedia also might snap up similar non-specifically-travel companies including Yelp, GrubHub, and Groupon. It will be even more interesting if companies like Expedia and its rival Priceline begin buying down-on-their-luck private companies.

As Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, noted at the Fortune Global Forum, the public markets instill discipline and clarity in many ways. Activision Blizzard ACTI is buying Candy Crush maker King Digital Entertainment for less than its IPO price, which is what happens to a hit-driven business when its hit slows.

As well, Square’s investment bankers, presumably having surveyed demand for its shares, plan to price the payment company’s IPO below its last private-market funding round. That would trigger a “ratchet” that would distribute additional shares to those investors, who agreed to Square’s last, lofty valuation of $6 billion (versus about $4 billion now) only on those terms. That effectively puts the lie to the former valuation, which is why I’ve called these hypothetical.

Yet another example of a theoretical valuation is what Fortune competitor Forbes Media got last year (in a private deal) from investors it is now suing. Forbes, it seems, lent its buyers some of the money for the deal, and the rude fellows haven’t made good on the loan, calling into question the value they agreed to in the first place.

The truth will out. And they typically will out in the public markets—and if not there, in court.

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