The Internet may be a hole that can never be filled.
But that doesn’t stop a legion of content providers from working around the clock to create, design and post the text and images that attempt to fill that hole every day – and that keep us glued to our screens.
And there’s one software company that produces the tools those writers, editors and designers need to create all that content.
This Silicon Valley legend’s share price really took off after it successfully moved away from its old-school method of selling individual products – and instead tied itself to the highly profitable cloud subscription model… where it sells an “ecosystem.”
Now, thanks to a recent “stealth” acquisition, this firm has the opportunity to rope all those content providers into that “ecosystem” almost entirely.
Today, I’ll show you how my longtime readers have already more than doubled their money on this stock.
Then, I’ll show you how this new acquisition will coax even more users to sign up for the company’s cloud subscriptions.
Even better, all those new subscribers means the firm’s stock price will double again in just a couple of years…
Wall Street felt the big software firm behind PDF files, Illustrator and Photoshop was out of touch with cloud computing.
But I told you to keep an eye on Adobe because it had recently unveiled its new subscription model, called Creative Cloud.
Since our original 2013 chat, Adobe has signed up millions of subscribers – and shares are up 101.3%, more than 10 times the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s return.
And now Wall Street is missing the story again.
Adobe’s $800 million purchase of the Fotolia “stock” photography service last December may have gone unnoticed on Wall Street. After all, it’s hard to get excited about such an old-school service.
But the acquisition of Fotolia – which updated the stock photo tradition by putting its database of images online – underscores how Adobe has become a cloud computing profit machine.
For a subscription licensing fee, stock photo services such as Fotolia – you might recognize the names Corbis or Getty Images – provide photos and other images to fill up content like corporate reports, travel brochures and online articles.
And it’s a $3 billion market, according to Heidelberg University.
The company launched Adobe Stock in June, based on Fotolia’s platform, with more than 40 million high-resolution images and thoroughly integrated into its Creative Cloud suite of products. And the new service isn’t just a nice new addition that simplifies buying stock photos.
Because the San Jose, Calif.-based company estimates that 85% of creative professionals who buy stock images already use Adobe tools, it’s also a great new tool for selling monthly subscriptions – and then encouraging those new users to stick around.
After all, why would Adobe users take the time to shift to a competitor, like Shutterstock Inc. (NYSE: SSTK) or Getty’s iStockphoto, if there’s a one-click pathway from Photoshop or Illustrator to Stock?
From a financial standpoint, Adobe Stock looks like a winner.
If Adobe picks up just a 20% market share of the $3 billion stock photo market, that would be $600 million in new sales a year.
The Creative Cloud is certainly yielding huge financial gains for Adobe.
Consider the company’s third-quarter earnings report. During the period ended Aug. 28, Adobe had record sales of $1.22 billion, a 21% increase from the year-ago period.
Some 64.1% of sales came from the Creative Cloud, with 17.5% coming from the Marketing Cloud, which includes online marketing and Web analytics.
And profits were just off the charts. During the quarter, diluted net income per share rose 278% to 34 cents.
The company added 684,000 Creative Cloud subscriptions in the period, a 14.7% increase over the prior quarter. At this point, the odds look good that Adobe will reach its goal of 5.9 million cloud subscribers by the end of fiscal 2015.
No wonder the stock has made staggering gains since our first conversation about Adobe.
Now then, I don’t expect Adobe to keep increasing profits by 278%. No company can do that.
But I do think the company can grow at 10% that rate, or 27% per year. In that case profits – and share price – would double in just 2.6 years.
In other words, my prediction from our original chat – “Adobe’s cloud strategy is set to make the firm into a crown jewel of the software industry” – was correct.
And as long as we continue to “fill” the Internet, Adobe will remain a stock you want to hold onto.
- Strategic Tech Investor: We’re “Going Stealth” for Windfall Tech Profits.