CHICAGO--William Blair & Company initiated research coverage of Amazon.com, Inc. (Nasdaq:AMZN) ($80.72), the worldâ€™s largest pure-play Internet retailer by sales, with a Market Perform rating and an Aggressive Growth company profile. Analyst Jack Murphy estimated the company would earn $1.50 per share in 2008 and $2.05 per share in 2009. â€œAmazon.com is a leviathan in e-commerce retailing with a multifaceted long-term growth opportunity,â€ Murphy said. â€œAmazonâ€™s increasingly powerful brand benefits from favorable selection, convenience, and pricing. We believe that Amazon can achieve 20% long-term sales growth and 25% EPS growth, although we expect volatile operating margin trends as a result of managementâ€™s focus on profit growth over profit margins and a propensity to make choppy investments in long-term growth prospects. Having said that, we believe that its highly capital-efficient business model has vast long-term free cash flow growth potential.â€ Murphy added, â€œIn our opinion, the companyâ€™s valuation is reasonable but not compelling. While we view Amazon as an attractive multiyear investment, we believe the stockâ€™s current valuation leaves little room for near-term upside.â€ William Blair & Company, L.L.C. has received compensation for investment banking services from the company within the past 12 months, or expects to receive or intends to seek compensation for investment banking services in the next 3 months. William Blair & Company, L.L.C. is a market maker in the security of this company and may have a long or short position. William Blair & Company, L.L.C. (www.williamblair.com) is a Chicago-based investment firm offering investment banking, asset management, equity research, institutional and private brokerage, and private capital to individual, institutional, and issuing clients. Since 1935, we have been committed to helping clients achieve their financial objectives. As an independent, employee-owned firm, our philosophy is to serve our clients' interests first and foremost. We place a high value on the enduring nature of our client relationships, the quality of our products and services, and the continuity and integrity of our people.