Daniel Loeb, the well-known activist investor from Third Point LLC, believes there is $1 trillion of untapped value in Amazon, reports The Wall Street Journal. Loeb shared the opinion on a private call with Third Point’s investors, which counts Amazon as one of its biggest holdings. He pointed to its e-commerce operation and the Amazon Web Services cloud unit as the two businesses whose full value is going unrecognized.
There’s no indication that Loeb is devising an activist campaign at Amazon, but on the call he said that Amazon Web Services (AWS) has an “enterprise value” of over $1.5 trillion—nearly as much as Amazon’s $1.6 trillion current market value, while its retail value is worth about $1 trillion. Many on Wall Street have analyzed Amazon’s value as a sum-of-its-parts in recent years, particularly with antitrust regulators targeting large tech companies. Third Point is not alone in speculating what Amazon’s next moves might be, positing that a spinoff of AWS makes sense as it would ease concerns about the mega-company’s monopoly.
But AWS is “Amazon’s cash cow,” the article contends; though it accounts for under 13% of its revenue, it’s the world’s largest cloud provider. Even if it broke away from its parent company, AWS would still rank among the largest tech companies globally. Though Amazon has disparaged calls for it to break up its businesses, the company has been the focus on a Congressional investigation on the monopoly of tech platforms that ended with the proposal of a bill that would either split Amazon and other large conglomerates in two, or separate out their private brands.
Amazon’s stock price skyrocketed 76% in 2020 as more people turned to online shopping. But as its growth slowed in 2021, AWS’s revenues climbed almost 39%. Meanwhile, according to the article, Third Point’s stake in Amazon was valued at $784 million at the end of last year.