As the old adage goes, what goes up must come down.
GoPro (GPRO) was one of 2014’s success stories. The San Mateo, Calif. company’s June IPO was warmly received by the investor community, which traded the company’s shares up more than 50%, to almost $49, in its first week on the market. By September the company’s shares were trading at almost $94. (It ended the year at a more sober $65.)
But this year? It’s been a rough ride. GoPro shares tumbled in the first quarter and approached its $31 IPO price before rebounding to $65 through August. Since then, investors have been hammering the company. In late September, the company’s shares dropped below its IPO price for the first time.
Today, the company’s shares dropped below $20 for the first time. Ouch.
My Fortune colleague John Kell explained two months ago why the company’s shares might tumble. There have always been fears that GoPro, whose cameras were fiercely adopted by adventure-seekers and extreme sports fanatics around the world, was a one-hit wonder. There are concerns about the potency of its intellectual property relative to that of larger companies like Apple (AAPL). And as with any consumer hardware manufacturer, there are concerns that someone can do it better and more cheaply. (Like, well, Apple.)
But all of those are long-term concerns that were adequately addressed in the company’s IPO documents. So what’s with the latest dive? One word: outlook.
The company’s last earnings report was weaker than expected. With more than $400 million in revenue, it missed Wall Street’s consensus estimate of $433 million. (Adjusted earnings per share was $0.25, versus estimates of $0.29.) Why? Weak demand for its Hero4 Session waterproof camera, which debuted in mid-summer.
The company also does not appear to have new products in the pipeline for this year’s holiday season, a major reason that Piper Jaffray analyst Erinn Murphy recently downgraded GoPro to “underperform.”
The company also continues to make risky bets when the stability of its existing business is in question. Last year it expressed a desire to be a media company and monetize the extraordinary footage (and community) it has attracted to its products. More recently it considered expanding into the drone market, an area of the tech industry that is fast growing (for now) and complementary to its current business but ultimately much different (with very different competitors).
And, of course, there has been weakness in both the global economic outlook as well as in the technology industry, particularly around mature startups.
GoPro CEO Nick Woodman said at a private event last month that he had no regrets about going public, which many people warned would be a distraction. “I think going on TV and that of stuff is kind of fun,” he said. “The extra work is really for the CFO and the finance and legal departments.” Suit up.
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