Peloton Plunges in Another Tough Unicorn Debut

″Investors are taking recent losses in IPOs — and investors are fleeing for safety in larger caps and Treasurys,” a market expert says.
Matthew HellerSeptember 26, 2019
Peloton Plunges in Another Tough Unicorn Debut

In another tough market debut for a unicorn startup, Peloton’s cult-like following among exercise equipment users did not spread to investors.

Peloton shares fell 14.2% to $24.86 in the opening day of trading Thursday, giving it a market value of $7.1 billion. The initial public offering, which was priced at $29 per share, raised $1.16 billion and initially valued the digital fitness company at $8.1 billion.

If Peloton remains below $27, it would displace Uber as the second worst debut of a unicorn this year. The worst debut of 2019 is that of online dentistry company SmileDirectClub, which slid 28% on its debut earlier this month.

Peloton’s weak debut is “a sign that [IPO] investors may have a waning appetite for money-losing companies,” Fox Business said.

Other unprofitable companies to have gone public this year include Lyft, social media platform Pinterest and the online pet food retailer Chewy.com.″Investors are taking recent losses in IPOs — and investors are fleeing for safety in larger caps and Treasurys,” Kathleen Smith, principal at Renaissance Capital, which manages IPO-focused exchange-traded funds, told CNBC.

Peloton makes cycles and treadmills equipped with a flat-screen tablet to access live and recorded fitness classes remotely. In its fiscal year ended June 30, revenue more than doubled to $915 million, but its losses widened to $195.6 million from $47.9 million the previous year, amid growing sales and marketing costs.

User numbers have doubled in the past year to 511,000 at the end of June, amounting to almost $20 million a month in revenue from streaming subscribers alone.

“Given Peloton’s high price tag, investors may be wary to bet on the company as recession fears grow,” CNBC said.

CBS MoneyWatch noted that about half of Peloton’s sales come through a “generous financing arrangement that allows customers to buy its stationary bike for just $58 a month or its treadmill for $179 a month.”

“If Peloton’s churn rate were to rise, the company would likely see more customers ditching its bikes and its monthly streaming service long before the three-plus years it takes to pay back the purchase price of the bike,” CBS warned.