Penn National Scores Price Target Hike, Analyst Gushes Over Barstool, iGaming

Posted on: May 29, 2020, 12:12h. 

Last updated on: May 29, 2020, 01:18h.

On a mostly lethargic day for gaming equities, shares of Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) are standing out, thanks to a sell-side analyst boosting his price target on the stock in dramatic fashion, citing catalysts including Barstool Sports and online casinos.

Penn National Stock Strong
David Portnoy’s Barstool Sports is going to be a positive driver for Penn National stock, says one analyst. (Image: Variety)

In a note to clients released earlier today, Nomura Instinet analyst Harry Curtis reiterated a “buy” rating on Penn National, while boosting his price target on the Ameristar operator to $39. That’s around the stock’s 52-week high, a level that hasn’t been touched since late February.

Our $39 target price for PENN assumes a target multiple of 9.6x our 2022 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, and restructuring or rent costs (EBITDAR) estimate, a slight premium to the stock’s historical average forward multiple given growth optionality from i-casino/sports betting through Barstool,” said Curtis.

That’s at least the third price forecast hike by an analyst covering Penn over the past 10 days. On May 20, JPMorgan lifted its target on the Hollywood operator to $28 from $21. Earlier this week, Morgan Stanley increased its projection on Penn to $32 from $21.

Impressive Resurgence

This month, Penn stock nearly doubled, and its more than eight-fold surge off its March lows is one of the most impressive rebounds among all domestic gaming equities.

Much of Wall Street’s and investors’ enthusiasm for the name is attributable to the integration of Barstool Sports, in which the operator acquired a 36 percent stake in January, and the company’s positioning in the booming iGaming market.

Penn executives previously said iGaming is going to be a “material” driver of earnings and revenue in 2021 and beyond. Analysts and investors like the asset-light, high margin model that accompanies online casinos, and are valuing companies with exposure to this niche on par with technology firms, not traditional gaming entities.

Curtis, the Instinet analyst, added that his revised estimates on Penn allot for what he calls a “normal” recession and upside to be derived from Barstool. His $39 price target far exceeds the sell-side average of $25.31.

Regional Recovery

Analysts are bullish on regional operators, including Penn, based on the premise that smaller gaming markets will bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic more rapidly than Las Vegas.

There’s something to that, as some of the recent fuel for Penn stock comes by way of the company reopening venues in some of its most important regional markets, such as Louisiana and Mississippi.

In Las Vegas, the company operates the Tropicana and M Resort, the latter slated to participate in the June 4 reopening of Nevada gaming properties.

“While the amenities our customers have come to know and love may be somewhat limited for the time being, the ability to safely welcome back our team members and guests remains our top priority,” M Resort general manager Hussain Mahrous said in a statement.

The Tropicana isn’t yet featured on lists pertaining to the June 4 Silver State restart date.