Etsy (ETSY)

ETSY debuted on Wall Street on April 16th at an offering price of $16 a share.

The initial trade was at $31.  The stock fluctuated between $28.22 and $35.74 before closing at $30.

Since then, the stock has been steadily drifting back toward the IPO price.

The stock dropped by 18%, to $17.20 on Wednesday, after the company reported a disappointing March 2015 quarter.  The consensus estimate of (three) Wall Street analysts was that the company would report non-GAAP earnings of $.03 a share.  The actual was a loss of $.12.

Revenue for the quarter rose by 44.4%, year on year.  Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation/amortization), which is arguably the most flattering possible way of presenting profits, rose by 9.3%.  Also, in ETSY’s case, the adjusting removed both a $20.9 million foreign exchange loss and a $10.5 million yoy increase in income taxes.  On a GAAP basis, ETSY had a loss of $0.5 million in 1Q14 and $36.6 million in 1Q15.

Media comment about the sharp drop in the stock price after the earnings report puts the blame for the decline on the narrow slate of IPO underwriters and on ETSY’s “authentic” counterculture philosophy/image.

I don’t think that’s the case, at least not directly.

To my mind, the central fact is that ETSY’s March quarter ended more than two weeks before the IPO priced.

The stock’s price action since then says to me that on the first day of trading investors weren’t aware of how weak 1Q15 results would be.  The steady decline in following sessions suggests that the bad news was gradually making its way into the market.  The 18% drop on announcement implies the actuals were worse than the rumor mill had been whispering.

Where was ETSY management while all this was happening?

I can only see two possibilities:  either the company has terrible financial controls and was unaware during and after the quarter how weak the quarterly results would be; or it did know and decided–presumably at the urging of the underwriters–not to disclose this plainly to potential investors during the road show.  Neither one makes me want to run out and buy the stock.

Note:  I haven’t studied ETSY carefully and I didn’t see the roadshow.  My picture of what’s happened is based on reading the earnings report and observing the stock’s trading history.




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