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Is Peloton overvalued?

February 4, 2021, 11:46 AM UTC

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Good morning.

I threw in the towel and joined the Peloton pack this week. Well, that’s not quite right. I actually threw in the towel in November, ordering and paying for my bike then. But it didn’t arrive until this week.

That long wait is indicative of the wild ride this stationary bicycle company has been on since it went public in September 2019. The pandemic caused orders and revenues to soar, hitting $758 million in last year’s third quarter and turning the company to profit.

But the share price is where the real action has been. The stock’s IPO debuted at $27 a share, then once the pandemic hit, started a climb that looks like a ride up Mount Ventoux, today trading at almost $150 a share. That gives the company a market cap of a stunning $43 billion dollars—making it as valuable as the Ford Motor Company.

Now, to be clear, I like my new bike. And with the house buried in two feet of snow, it’s nice to have an exercise option that doesn’t involve going outside. But $43 billion? For a stationary bicycle and an app?

That’s the issue Fortune’s Robert Hackett explores in a story out this morning. One issue, he says, is whether Peloton can hold its lead over competitors, which are multiplying daily—including Apple, which introduced Fitness + in December, and Lululemon, which paid a half-billion dollars to buy Mirror. A second is what happens when the pandemic passes and the gyms reopen. And a third is just basic human laziness. How many people really want to pay this much to sweat? You can read Hackett’s excellent story here.

Ultimately, I take Peloton’s valuation as just more evidence that the stock market has lost its moorings. There is too much money chasing too few investments. And as long as that remains true, investors will continue to take companies like Peloton, Tesla, GameStock or whatever else captures the zeitgeist of the moment for wild rides.

News below.

Alan Murray


Nvidia and ARM

Nvidia's $40 billion acquisition of chip-design behemoth ARM is going to be probed in the U.K. and the EU, following concerns by rivals that ARM won't maintain its open licensing policy. How important is that policy? Well, pretty much every phone and tablet out there, plus Apple's newest computers, use ARM's architecture. Financial Times

Apple car

Apple is reportedly close to signing a deal with Hyundai-Kia for the production of the long-awaited Apple self-driving car. The vehicle would apparently be built at the Kia plant in West Point, Georgia, with production tentatively scheduled to commence in 2024. CNBC

McKinsey and opioids

McKinsey may not be the first name that springs to mind in the context of the U.S.'s opioid crisis, but the consultancy giant is reportedly settling for more than $550 million over claims it helped fuel the epidemic by providing marketing advice to drugmakers such as Perdue and Johnson & Johnson. More than 45 states have apparently signed off on the settlement, which will see 80% of the cash go to treatment programs and police budgets. Fortune

Mix 'n Match

The U.K. has started testing what happens if people receive one dose of Pfizer/BioNTech's vaccine and one dose of AstraZeneca's. Both are two-dose vaccinations, but if they can be mixed with good results, then that would make their rollouts a lot more flexible. Expect initial data in June. Reuters


Vaccine resistance

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told Fortune it is "likely" that the coronavirus will mutate in a way that makes it resistant to current vaccines. However, he reckons this is a good reason for using the mRNA technology that Pfizer/BioNtech (and others such as Moderna) are employing in their vaccines, "because now you can very quickly develop a new version of the vaccine that either adds to the current immunogenicity or creates a very different one that can cover the new mutations as well." Fortune

GameStop winner

You know how the GameStop frenzy was supposed to stick it to the hedge funds? Well, funny story: one of the biggest winners was Senvest Management, which is, you guessed it, a hedge fund. Senvest made a profit of nearly $700 million in the moment of madness, having bought up 5% of GameStop last year. Wall Street Journal

Bad leaders

Leadership has become both ubiquitous and scarce, writes Stanford psychiatry professor Elias Aboujaoude in a piece for Fortune: "Not everyone can be a leader. Too many people are feeling compelled to seek leadership positions to prove their value; too many vague executive roles and titles are being created; and a large industry is mediating the curious supply and demand." Fortune

Men's share

Most men say they want to participate in the unpaid caregiving work that has long fallen on women's shoulders. However, according to a new report, most don't actually assume an equal share of that work unless they already have experience doing so. So, how to solve this chicken-and-egg dilemma? Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.