Why GoPro’s Stock Run-Up Is a Trap

April 15, 2018 by Douglas A. McIntyre

GoPro Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPO) shares ran up almost 7% last week to $5.26. The rise was based on a rumor that China consumer electronics firm Xiaomi might buy it. There are two problems. The U.S. has been blocking M&A activity by Chinese companies. The other is that GoPro is already overvalued.

Xiaomi management wants to sell smartphones in the U.S. Wireless carriers have already indicated a reluctance to carry them. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) particularly dropped a potential partnership. It may be the government played a role. There are concerns that Chinese consumer electronics devices could spy on Americans, although the theory seems far-fetched. It has played a role in Xiaomi’s American problems, nevertheless. Xiaomi will almost certainly shy away from a GoPro deal because of concern it would be blocked.

Additionally, GoPro has proven that its stock is barely worth its current price. It reached a 52-week high of $11.89 last September and has crashed since then. Its video camera products are seen as part of a crowded market, which even includes Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone video capture.

GoPro’s financials have also been in a nosedive. Revenue in the final quarter of 2017 fell 38% to $335 million compared to the same quarter last year. The company had a net loss of $55 million compared to $116 million in the year-ago period. GoPro has cash and marketable securities of $250 million. Solvency is not the issue. Product relevance is.

GoPro has launched several products recently. The most carefully watched is a low priced version of its flagship product. The new HERO camera has a price tag of $199. The company’s main product is the GoPro HERO6 Black with a price tag of $399. The new camera may bring in additional customers, but the lower price point won’t help GoPro’s top line

GoPro has a potential buyer that may not be allowed to buy it, and products which do not sell well and have too much competition.