Penn National Stock Sell-Off Overdone, Says Analyst

Posted on: May 26, 2021, 09:41h. 

Last updated on: May 26, 2021, 11:11h.

Once beloved among gaming equities, Penn National Gaming (NASDAQ:PENN) stock is off 41.53 percent from its March highs. At least one analyst believes that sell-off is unjustified.

Penn National stock
Penn National’s Ameristar Casino in Colorado. An analyst likes the company’s regional portfolio. (Image: Helen Richardson/Denver Post)

Following investor meetings with Penn CEO Jay Snowden, Stifel analyst Steven Wieczynski issued a new report on the gaming company, reiterating a “buy” rating and a $108 price target. That implies upside of about 35 percent from the May 25 close.

After last year’s coronavirus market tumble, Penn notched one of the sharpest rallies among all gaming equities, as investors bid the name higher due to iGaming and sports betting operations. However, strength in the company’s expansive portfolio of regional casinos should not be overlooked, particularly against the backdrop of pent-up demand and increasing COVID-19 vaccination levels.

Coming out of these meetings, we feel incrementally positive about regional gaming trends across the majority of the country, as we believe trends have remained strong thru May, with customer length of stay and spend per visit continuing to be elevated,” said Wieczynski.

The analyst is increasing his 2021 through 2023 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) estimates on Penn, though he notes more of the “lift” will come in the further out years. Penn is the largest regional casino operator in the US, with roughly 40 casinos across 20 states.

Penn Stock Got Ahead Itself, Now Ready to Rebound

Coming into this year, Penn stock was already on a torrid pace following its bounce from its March 2020 nadir. That strength continued as the gaming name doubled from early January into mid-March, a run culminating in its inclusion in the S&P 500.

From there, the stock joined another online casino/sportsbook operator in swooning, as investors fretted about market access and valuations, indicating some of the names ran too far, too fast. Following a tumble that likely shook some weak hands from the name, Penn could be offering investors an attractive place to get involved, according to Wieczynski.

“While we would argue shares were probably ahead of themselves back in March/April as the sports betting/iGaming euphoria was at its peak, at this point, when we analyze the value of the different business segments of PENN, we feel much more comfortable than the market isn’t now baking in some ridiculous value for their sports betting/iGaming businesses,” said the analyst.

Unlike pure-play internet casino and sportsbook operators, Penn has an avenue for augmenting potential weakness in those businesses via its thriving land-based casino operations.

Penn Undervalued?

It wasn’t that long ago that Penn and many of its peers were viewed as richly valued. But following the aforementioned weakness, a case can be made the regional casino name is now looking attractive on valuation.

“We believe PENN’s core business remains undervalued relative to peers. What we think gets overlooked is their geographical diversification, which has been a huge advantage relative to peers over the last 15 months,” said Wieczynski.

No state where Penn operates accounts for more than 15% of its revenue. The analyst’s $108 price target on Penn stock assumes $68 for traditional businesses and $40 for iGaming/sports wagering.