The Trade Desk Stock: 3 Impressive Facts Investors Should Know

Data-driven ad platform provider The Trade Desk (TTD -4.35%) has likely turned the heads of many investors recently. The stock is up more than 70% over the past month as shares rebound from their sharp drawdown earlier this year and as strong second-quarter results encourage investors.

But is the underlying business worthy of all of this hype? After all, the stock’s move over the past month has added $15 billion to The Trade Desk’s market capitalization. That’s no small sum. As investors try to decide whether the stock deserves this valuation or not, here are three interesting facts about the company that show why it’s at least worth a spot on your watchlist.

1. The Trade Desk has no debt

Unlike many of its growth stock peers, the digital ad-buying company has avoided debt for years. In times when the cost of capital is higher, this is critical. A good balance sheet gives a company more optionality and ultimately enables it to have more control over its destiny.

As of the end of The Trade Desk’s second quarter, the company not only remained debt free but it had a war chest of cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments — $1.2 billion to be exact. 

2. Management views the Microsoft-Netflix partnership as a positive

Ever since Netflix (NFLX -2.74%) announced it was planning on launching an ad-supported tier of its streaming service, The Trade Desk shareholders have been hoping they can get a piece of the inevitably large pie of advertiser budgets the streaming giant will attract. But some investors were spooked when Netflix announced a partnership to sell its ads exclusively through Microsoft (MSFT -0.24%). Investors likely wondered, “Does this mean The Trade Desk won’t get access to Netflix’s ad inventory?”

Not to worry, says The Trade Desk. Xandr, Microsoft’s sell-side adtech platform, “has been a great partner of ours for years,” said The Trade Desk CEO Jeff Green in the company’s second-quarter earnings call. He then went on to explain that after Netflix and Xandr create an integration that lets Xandr sell Netflix ads, “driving as much demand as possible toward those ad impressions will come next.” That’s where The Trade Desk, a demand-side advertising platform, shines. “As a result of our work with the world’s leading [connected TV (CTV)] pioneers, The Trade Desk is now the largest demand source for decisioned, premium CTV advertising,” said Green. 

Later in the call, Green said he thinks it’s “extremely likely” The Trade Desk becomes a demand-side partner for Netflix’s advertising inventory.

3. The Trade Desk is a cash cow

A quick glance at The Trade Desk’s trailing-12-month earnings of just $34 million could leave some investors scratching their heads. But investors should note that recent earnings have been negatively impacted by stock-based compensation expenses due to a substantial long-term performance award for founder and CEO Jeff Green. Therefore, a better way to judge the company’s ability to turn a profit for shareholders is its cash flow. The Trade Desk’s trailing-12-month free cash flow is $482 million.

So a close look at The Trade Desk does reveal a number of reasons to be optimistic. That said, the stock’s price-to-free cash flow ratio of about 75 is a steep price to pay. So the Street certainly seems to be on board with the bet that this company will likely grow rapidly over the long haul. But is it possible that the market is still underestimating the company’s long-term growth potential? This is a question worth exploring.

Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. His clients may own shares of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Netflix and The Trade Desk. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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