Head-To-Head Review: Applied Optoelectronics (NASDAQ:AAOI) versus ViaSat (VSAT)

ViaSat (NASDAQ: VSAT) and Applied Optoelectronics (NASDAQ:AAOI) are both computer and technology companies, but which is the better investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their institutional ownership, risk, profitability, earnings, dividends, analyst recommendations and valuation.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current ratings for ViaSat and Applied Optoelectronics, as reported by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
ViaSat 1 5 4 0 2.30
Applied Optoelectronics 3 4 3 2 2.33

ViaSat currently has a consensus price target of $74.11, suggesting a potential upside of 4.48%. Applied Optoelectronics has a consensus price target of $46.60, suggesting a potential upside of 34.88%. Given Applied Optoelectronics’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Applied Optoelectronics is more favorable than ViaSat.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares ViaSat and Applied Optoelectronics’ revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio Net Income Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
ViaSat $1.56 billion 2.68 $23.76 million ($0.71) -99.90
Applied Optoelectronics $260.71 million 2.57 $31.23 million $4.15 8.33

Applied Optoelectronics has lower revenue, but higher earnings than ViaSat. ViaSat is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Applied Optoelectronics, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

99.4% of ViaSat shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 71.7% of Applied Optoelectronics shares are held by institutional investors. 7.7% of ViaSat shares are held by insiders. Comparatively, 8.2% of Applied Optoelectronics shares are held by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, large money managers and hedge funds believe a company is poised for long-term growth.


This table compares ViaSat and Applied Optoelectronics’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
ViaSat -2.59% -1.13% -0.65%
Applied Optoelectronics 21.29% 32.35% 23.92%

Risk & Volatility

ViaSat has a beta of 0.8, suggesting that its stock price is 20% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Applied Optoelectronics has a beta of 2.51, suggesting that its stock price is 151% more volatile than the S&P 500.


Applied Optoelectronics beats ViaSat on 10 of the 14 factors compared between the two stocks.

About ViaSat

ViaSat, Inc. is engaged in broadband technologies and services. The Company operates through three segments: satellite services, commercial networks and government systems. The satellite services segment provides satellite-based broadband services to consumers, enterprises, commercial airlines and mobile broadband customers primarily in the United States. The commercial networks segment develops and produces a range of end-to-end satellite and wireless communication systems, ground networking equipment and space-to-earth connectivity systems. The government systems segment develops and produces network-centric Internet Protocol (IP)-based fixed and mobile secure government communications systems, products, services and solutions, which are designed to enable the collection and dissemination of real-time digital information between command centers, communications nodes and air defense systems.

About Applied Optoelectronics

Applied Optoelectronics, Inc. is a vertically integrated provider of fiber-optic networking products, primarily for networking end markets, such as Internet data center, cable television (CATV), fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and telecommunications (telecom). The Company designs and manufactures a range of optical communications products at varying levels of integration, from components, subassemblies and modules to turnkey equipment. To Internet-based data center operators, it supplies optical transceivers that plug into switches and servers within the data center and allow these network devices to send and receive data over fiber optic cables. The Company supplies a range of products, including lasers, transmitters and transceivers, and turnkey equipment, to the CATV market. The Company designs, manufactures and integrates its own analog and digital lasers using a combination of Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) and its Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) fabrication process.

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