Peloton falls below IPO price in Wall Street debut

Posted at 9:17 PM, Oct 07, 2019

Yet another unprofitable company is struggling to win over investors on Wall Street.

Peloton, the indoor fitness brand, ended its first day of trading down 11% from its IPO price. The lackluster debut calls to mind Uber, which also fell in its first day of trading as investors scrutinized its history of steep losses.

Late Wednesday, Peloton priced its shares at $29, the high-end of its previously proposed pricing range. At its IPO price, Peloton was valued at about $8 billion, or roughly double its private market valuation one year ago.

It is trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the ticker “PTON.”

Peloton is best known for its internet-connected indoor bikes and subscription cycling classes that can be streamed live or on-demand into homes. In addition to its indoor bikes, which cost $2,245, the company also sells a $4,295 treadmill with an HD touchscreen for viewing classes. Customers pay subscription fees of $39 per month associated with its bike and treadmill to participate in classes.

The company was founded in 2012 by a group of five people — John Foley, Tom Cortese, Hisao Kushi, Yony Feng, and Graham Stanton. Foley, the CEO, previously served as president of Barnes & Noble’s e-commerce division.

In an interview Thursday with CNN’s chief business correspondent Christine Romans, Foley admitted to “some slight disappointment” with the stock’s initial performance.

“But obviously the waters are extremely choppy and we’re following like everybody else,” he said. “We’re trying not to take it personally.”

Just getting to the point where it could begin trading on Wall Street is an accomplishment for unicorns, the term for private-held startups valued at $1 billion or more. WeWork’s parent company, a fellow unicorn,unceremoniously failed to do so this month.

Peloton generated $915 million in revenue in its most recent fiscal year, ending June 30, according to its IPO prospectus. That’s more than double the revenue it posted in the year prior. It lost $195.6 million in the most recent year, up sharply from $47.9 million in the year prior.

Its growing losses run counter to a claim from Foley in a 2018 interview with CNBC that the company is “weirdly profitable.”

In its prospectus, the company reported that it has 511,000 ”connected fitness” subscribers, which is double the year prior. Additionally, Peloton sells a “digital membership” for those with or without a bike or treadmill for $19.49 per month who can access its digital classes, which range from running to yoga to bootcamp. There’s also the option to participate in a live class at one of Peloton’s studios, but the company said that revenue generated from this has “been immaterial to date.”

The company has more than 1.4 million members, which includes anyone with a Peloton account.

While Peloton is trying its luck at becoming a public company, competitor SoulCycle abandoned its plans to go public in May 2018 citing “market conditions.”

Founded in 2006, SoulCycle is the industry veteran and its IPO was expected to value the company at around $900 million. While also focused on spinning, SoulCycle has amassed a cult-like following for its 45-minute indoor cycling workout set to party music in a darkened studio. Since 2011, it has been majority-owned by Equinox, a luxury gym chain.

In August, SoulCycle and Equinox announced a Peloton competitor but also drew criticism the same month over its ties to billionaire Stephen Rosswho hosted a fundraiser for President Donald Trump. Ross, majority owner of Related Companies which bought Equinox in 2005, is an investor in the fitness business.