“Never invest in a business
you can’t understand.”
Warren Buffet

Since 2008, Rene Marius Köhler has invested a large share of his available liquid assets in international internet companies. This strategy has paid off to date, and there is no end in sight for the positive performance shown by these investments.

Amazon

Amazon Logo

Business model: Amazon has set itself the goal of becoming the most customer-oriented company in the world. To this end, the Group operates one of the world’s most successful platform economies, which is monetised via multidimensional business models. Amazon’s businesses focus on the retail of consumer products and an array of subscription models. The Group uses its online platforms and physical stores to sell its own merchandise, merchandise from retailers and digital content from third-party producers. This also includes its own electronic devices, such as the Kindle Reader, the Fire Tablet, Fire TVs or Echo devices (Alexa). In addition, there are programmes that enable partners to distribute their content via Amazon’s platforms. Finally, Amazon Web Services (AWS) makes the company the largest cloud computing provider in the world at the present time.

Product mix: Amazon divides its activities into three segments: North America, International and AWS. The Group continues to generate the lion’s share of its sales in North America (60.0%), with International responsible for about 29.8% of revenues. Although Amazon Web Services only contributed 10.1% to sales, it is considered the company’s most important growth market with its latest growth rate being 43.6% (North America 40.4%; International 57.3%).

Selected key facts:

  • AWS is the market leader in the global cloud business (with a market share of around 17.5%)
  • A tenfold increase in TAM is expected in the cloud business; CAGR for AWS 13’18’: 50.1%
  • World’s number 1 in e-commerce, global market share: 13.7%
  • TAM in e-commerce: USD 2,928 billion; expected CAGR through 19’23’: 17.4%
  • More than 2.5 million retailers on Amazon Marketplace
  • 2.1 billion visits per month
  • Performance 04/2020 – 03/2021, currency-adjusted in EUR: +51,50%
Amazon valuation 2021e 2022e 2023e 2024e 2025e
EBIT margin % 9.5 10.1 10.8 11.3 11.8
ROIC (EBIT) % 70.9 76.3 135.5 336.5 500.0
EV/EBITDA (core) x 32.9 27.7 23.4 19.4 11.7
P/E (diluted) x 56.5 43.1 33.5 26.9 22.0
Equity FCF yield % 3.1 4.1 5 6.1 7.3
Amazon - Key operating information 2021e 2022e 2023e 2024e 2025e
Revenues (Mio. USD) 462,825 552,838 655,098 769,906 897,329
EBIT (Mio. USD) 43,804 55,907 70,617 87,211 106,192
Net earnings (Mio. USD) 30,815 40,665 52,630 66,126 81,663
EPS (diluted) (USD) 59.82 78.44 100.8 125.67 153.92
Net (debt) / cash (Mio. USD) 96,288 158,984 240,642 344,340 471,341

Source: UBS Global Research, 02.02.2021, Estimations based on a share price of USD 3.380,00

Alibaba

Alibaba Group Logo

Business model: Alibaba Holding uses its investments to operate online and mobile e-commerce platforms. Its core assets consist of Taobao (digital marketplace) and Tmall (retail platform for third-party providers), but the Group also includes various other e-commerce platforms, such as Alibaba Health (pharmaceuticals and healthcare), Alibaba.com (wholesale platform for retailers) and Lazada and Aliexpress (other retail platforms). In addition to retail, the company also operates platforms in the logistics (Cainao Network), delivery services (Ele.me), restaurant and tourism (Koubei) and online travel sectors (Fliggy). Similar to Amazon, Alibaba links video content and music streaming services to its offering. Alibaba also uses ad and marketing strategies to monetise the platforms, with computing, data analytics and cloud solutions adding the finishing touches to what the Group has to offer.

Product mix: Alibaba divides its operations into four business segments: Core Commerce (88.5%), Cloud Computing (7.3%), Digital Media and Entertainment (3.7%) and Innovation Initiatives and Others (0.6%). The Group has enjoyed strong growth rates in all these segments (Group: 35.3% yoy).

Selected key facts:

  • Number 1 in Chinese e-commerce (eMarketer market share: 60%)
  • The proportion of global retail e-commerce transactions originating from China increased by 41.4 percentage points to 42.4% from 2005 to 2016
  • Alibaba has monopoly-like access to 755 million MAUs
  • Gross merchandise value (GMV) recently grew by 50.0%
  • Global number 3 in the cloud business and number 1 in Asia
  • On “Singles Day” 2019, 554,000 orders per second were placed on Tmall alone, and sales totalled around USD 38.4 billion over the 24 hours of “Singles Day” 2019
  • Performance 04/2020 – 03/2021, currency-adjusted in EUR: +13,41%
Alibaba valuation 2021e 2022e 2023e 2024e 2025e
EBIT margin % 25.2 21.6 22.3 22.4 22.5
ROIC (EBIT) % 59 61.7 69.6 74.3 79.4
EV/EBITDA (core) x 13 11.3 9 7.7 4.9
P/E (diluted) x 25.3 23 18.3 15.3 12.7
Equity FCF yield % 4 3.2 3.8 6.8 8.5
Alibaba - Key operating information 2021e 2022e 2023e 2024e 2025e
Revenues (Mio. USD) 106,547 142,188 173,236 206,916 243,284
EBIT (Mio. USD) 26,858 30,672 38,647 46,250 54,622
Net earnings (Mio. USD) 28,273 32,009 42,143 50,364 61,841
EPS (diluted) (USD) 10.28 11.43 14.75 17.61 21.17
Net (debt) / cash (Mio. USD) 53,265 77,023 105,013 154,148 212,107

Source: UBS Global Research, 02.02.2021, Estimations based on a share price of USD 256,46

Tencent

Tencent Logo

Business model: Tencent Holding has various equity investments in digital platforms and operates its products on a global basis. The Group is primarily active in the areas of online gaming, social media, messaging services, mobile payment, online advertising, music and video streaming and information technology. One of the core assets is Tencent’s “super app” WeChat, which has more than 1 billion users and combines the functions of an array of well-known apps (Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, news feeds, payment) into a single app.

Product mix: Tencent divides its operations into the segments of Value Added Services (VAS), Online Advertising and Others (as of Q1/20, this is further subdivided into Fintech and Others). The VAS segment, where Tencent bundles together its operations related to online gaming and social network services, is responsible for the lion’s share of the Group’s sales and gross profits (52.5% and 51.5%, respectively). However, the Group’s online advertising business (ads and online marketing), as well as its fintech business (especially mobile payments), are considered the drivers of the company’s growth. Tencent is currently using these segments to monetise its platform and its near-monopoly on access to customers.

Selected key facts:

  • World’s number 1 in online gaming
  • 10% of worldwide gaming revenues can be attributed to Tencent products
  • WeChat is a prime example of a successful platform economy (with the platform leveraged in various ways, including via browser, online advertising, payment, messaging and social media functions)
  • Near-monopoly on access to around 1.2 billion MAUs (83% of the Chinese population)
  • China’s number 1 for mobile payments
  • The transaction volume of mobile payments in China is USD 790 billion (11 times higher than in the USA)
  • Performance 04/2020 – 03/2021, currency-adjusted in EUR: +59,34%
Tencent valuation 2021e 2022e 2023e 2024e
EBIT margin % 25.7 26.1 27.5 28.2
ROIC (EBIT) % 67.6 100 153.3 227.1
EV/EBITDA (core) x 26.3 21.4 16.5 13.7
P/E (diluted) x 37.1 29.4 22.9 18.5
Equity FCF yield % 4 3.2 3.8 6.8
Tencent - Key operating information 2021e 2022e 2023e 2024e
Revenues (Mio. USD) 90,095 110,850 135,069 162,119
EBIT (Mio. USD) 23,146 28,902 37,143 45,779
Net earnings (Mio. USD) 24,368 30,936 39,834 49,473
EPS (diluted) (USD) 2.51 3.17 4.06 5.01
DPS (USD) 0.29 0.37 0.48 0.60
Net (debt) / cash (Mio. USD) 53,000 87,929 130,922 182,555

Source: UBS Global Research, 22.01.2021, Estimations based on a share price of HKD 691,00

Facebook

Facebook Logo

Business model: Facebook runs a platform economy consisting of various products for networking and displaying digital content on smartphones, computers and other end devices. Its product portfolio includes the social media platform “Facebook”, the digital community “Instagram” and the “Messenger” and “WhatsApp” messenger services. The Group also markets a hardware, software and development ecosystem that connects people virtually via “Oculus” virtual reality glasses.

Product mix: Facebook generates the majority of its sales revenue through advertising income (98.9%). To date, a marginal amount of sales revenue has come from payment services and other revenue streams (0.9%). These other revenue streams also include Oculus sales. Geographically, Facebook’s home market, the USA, accounts for the majority of its sales, with the remainder divided between the regions of Europe, Asia-Pacific and the rest of the world.

Selected key facts:

  • Facebook (#1), Messenger (#4), Instagram (#6) are some of the world’s leading social media solutions (based on number of users)
  • WhatsApp is the world’s leading messaging service with 1.5 billion MAU
  • The entire Group has 2.5 billion MAU (Q3/19); Instagram has around 1.0 billion MAU (Q3/19)
  • Globally, 65 billion WhatsApp messages are sent every day
  • CAGR for operating cash flow 14’18’: 41.4%
  • Forecast for sales from digital advertising with Instagram: CAGR 18′ 21′ : 36.3%; USD 15.65 billion (source: eMarketer)
  • Average revenue per user (ARPU) worldwide: USD 24.96; CAGR 09’18’: 26.2%
  • Performance 04/2020 – 03/2021, currency-adjusted in EUR: +72,28%
Facebook valuation 2021e 2022e 2023e 2024e 2025e
EBIT margin % 37.2 37 37.3 37.5 37.7
ROIC (EBIT) % 56.1 58.4 62.4 66.6 69.7
EV/EBITDA (core) x 22.3 18.6 16 12.1 8.7
P/E (diluted) x 23.6 20 17.3 15.2 13.9
Equity FCF yield % 3.3 4.6 5.6 6.4 7.3
Facebook - Key operating information 2021e 2022e 2023e 2024e 2025e
Revenues (Mio. USD) 109,009 129,583 149,797 170,103 187,199
EBIT (Mio. USD) 40,514 48,001 55,815 63,760 70,589
Net earnings (Mio. USD) 33,323 39,465 45,902 52,461 58,113
EPS (diluted) (USD) 11.53 13.63 15.76 17.86 19.61
Net (debt) / cash (Mio. USD) 77,263 101,891 140,441 185,212 236,436

Source: UBS Global Research, 27.01.2021, Estimations based on a share price of USD 272,14