Lyft Stock Tumbles Two Days After its IPO

April 1, 2019, 8:14 PM UTC

Lyft’s high-flying stock has taken a dive just a day after debuting on the Nasdaq. And the shockwave could rock other big tech companies readying for their own initial public offerings this year.

“This is a pivotal few weeks of trading ahead to gauge street demand for the name as valuation and profitability continue to be the wild cards for tech investors,” said Dan Ives, managing director of equity research for Wedbush Securities. “This is a major gut check time for Lyft and the tech IPO world to see how this stock trades given it was the first one out of the box.”

On Monday, Lyft’s price per share dropped below $72, the price set for the company’s initial public offering on March 28. Lyft was valued at $24.3 billion during its IPO and $26.6 billion after its first day of trading on March 29.

The valuation tumbled to $19.8 billion by Monday. Lyft’s stock closed at around $69.

Analysts at Guggenheim, which initiated a neutral rating for the company on Monday, are concerned with Lyft’s path to profitability and slowing revenue growth. They also point out Lyft’s big, long-term bets on bikes, scooters, and self-driving cars.

Lyft reported that in 2018 it lost $911 million, 32% more than the previous year. And though it doubled its revenue during the same time to $2.2 billion, Guggenheim analysts expect revenue growth to slow this year.

That’s because a large portion of Lyft’s previous revenue growth has come from monies collected on each ride. Raising fees or cutting driver pay to increase those revenues could be hard in a competitive category, Guggenheim says. And Lyft is increasingly focusing its attention on further penetrating existing cities and expanding into smaller ones versus expanding into new large markets.

Meanwhile, it’s continuing to invest heavily in costly ventures like self-driving cars, bikes, and scooters.

“We simply have to look too far out with too many big assumptions in order to make a case for the stock,” states a note from Guggenheim analysts, who initiated a neutral rating for Lyft stock.

This could spell trouble for money-losing companies like Pinterest, which lost $63 million in 2018; Slack; and Lyft rival Uber, which has yet to publicly release its financials. Uber confidentially filed for an initial public offering in December.

Meanwhile, Airbnb and Zoom could steal more investors’ attention given their profitability.

But Tom White, an analyst at D.A. Davidson, says the second-day drop in Lyft’s stock isn’t a shock.

“Not everybody who got shares in the IPO wants to hold them forever,” he said. “We had hoped it would’ve held at the $72 level it came out at, but I don’t view this pullback in Lyft’s intrinsic value or outlook.”

White agreed that Lyft’s timeline to reach profitability is unclear. However, he thinks once Uber goes public, both companies could rev up their efforts to become profitable faster. Of particular note will be whether the companies cut back on incentives they offer drivers and riders—a growth plan that focuses more on driving revenue versus the bottom line.

“Operating under the watchful eye of public investors, both companies will still try to prioritize growth but will do so by balancing profitability more,” he said. “The Uber IPO could be an important catalyst in both companies, demonstrating that they can at least head in the right direction.“

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