Breaking Down TiVo’s Valuation

Since last month, shares of TiVo (TIVO) have dropped from over $7 to under $5 each. This 32% selloff got my attention. Based on the company’s 3.6 million subscribers, each customer is being valued at $114 given the stock’s current price of $4.94 per share.

Since TiVo’s large distribution deal with Comcast (CMCSA) won’t take shape until mid-to-late 2006, the company has chosen to invest heavily in marketing (and show operating losses) until such deals kick in. Fortunately, the company has a large net cash position of $104 million, which can fund the company’s projected quarterly loss projection of $20-$25 million.

There is no doubt that TiVo faces extreme competitive pressures in the DVR marketplace. Nonetheless, the current value per subscriber of $114 seems low to me, given the scope of TiVo’s service and brand. Why somebody would not want to consider buying this company at this valuation escapes me. TiVo looks like an attractive speculative play at current levels.