Analyst Report Leaves New Lyft Shareholders Stranded on the Street With Busted IPO

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Shares of Lyft Inc. (NASDAQ: LYFT) showed a monumental move in the market for initial public offerings on Friday. The ride-sharing rival of Uber has so far not found much love since its opening price, despite the 71 million shares that traded on its opening day. Lyft already has managed to trade below its IPO price, classifying the stock as a busted IPO.

Lyft priced 30.77 million shares at $72, compared with an expected range of $70 to $72. The range being shopped during Lyft’s IPO roadshow was $62 to $68 per share.

The main issue hurting Lyft shares on Monday was that the stock was started with a mere Neutral rating at Guggenheim. While no price target was assigned, the firm worries that the company’s outlook may be too difficult to digest as having to look out too far into the future with too many assumptions.

Lyft shares received a premium price for its IPO, and it was an oversubscribed deal long before its formal pricing. After opening at $87.24 on Friday’s first print, Lyft shares traded as high as $88.60, for a 20% gain, before drifting lower to a closing price of $78.29, an 8.7% gain — only marginally higher than the first trading day’s low of $78.02.

There are concerns about whether Lyft can sustain its revenue growth ahead and about its investments in newer and evolving market trends such as electric scooters and self-driving vehicles.

Guggenheim’s Jake Fuller, the analyst behind the call, said:

We simply have to look too far out with too many big assumptions in order to make a case for the stock… Our rating is primarily a function of a lack of visibility on the path to profitability. Lyft did provide healthy margin objectives, but it did not really talk about how it might get there.

Lyft already had received two somewhat cautionary analyst ratings ahead of its formal IPO. Northland Securities and Wedbush Securities had each launched Lyft with Neutral ratings, and Wedbush’s target of $80 did not exactly offer the greatest upside after the price target was raised and after the IPO’s opening bell price was already above that target.

Remember that Lyft has warned that the company’s large financial losses may continue well into the future and that it might not ever reach true profitability. Lyft’s net losses have grown even as its revenues and bookings have risen. The company’s IPO filing showed its growth and losses as follows:

Our revenue was $343.3 million, $1.1 billion and $2.2 billion in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively, representing year-over-year growth of 209% from 2016 to 2017 and 103% from 2017 to 2018. We generated Bookings of $1.9 billion, $4.6 billion and $8.1 billion in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively, representing year-over-year growth of 141% from 2016 to 2017 and 76% from 2017 to 2018. Our net loss was $682.8 million, $688.3 million and $911.3 million in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively, and our Contribution was $82.0 million, $400.9 million and $920.8 million in 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Shares of Lyft were last seen trading down 8.8% at $71.44, on more than 18 million shares in less than an hour of trading. Its shares briefly traded as low as $69.12 on Monday morning. That’s almost $20 per share lower than its highs on Friday.

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