At first, the gutsy decision looked quite wise, as SNAP finished off its first day of trading with a market cap of $33 bln. Enthusiasm for its IPO was at a fever pitch, particularly among younger investors who were avid users of the photo and video messaging app. That excitement was very short-lived, however. To put it simply, since its IPO, the company and its investors have experienced one headache after another as rising competition, declining user growth, and a rash of executive departures have raised serious doubts about SNAP's future.
Consequently, the stock has been slammed lower with little reprieve since its debut as its market cap has been slashed to $7.5 bln -- or 75% less than GOOG's allegedly proposed purchase price.
These concerns were only heightened this morning after the company announced that its CFO, Tim Stone, will be resigning in order to pursue other opportunities. Not surprisingly, the Street reacted negatively to the news, with RBC Capital downgrading the stock to Sector Perform and Aegis Capital cutting its price target to $7 from $10.
Stone's resignation comes after only eight months on the job -- serving to only magnify concerns regarding employee morale-- and it also comes on the heels of a spate of other executive departures. Namely, the Head of HR, the VP of Content, the Chief Strategy Office, the VP of Hardware, and the Head of Global Strategic Partnerships have all left the company in recent months. To put it mildly, the revolving door at these key positions is creating a tumultuous environment while casting a huge cloud over the company -- and its stock.
In addition to the CFO resignation news, SNAP reported that it expects Q4 revenue and Adj. EBITDA to be "slightly favorable" to the high end of its previously reported guidance ranges. Specifically, the company had guided for revenue of $355-$380 mln and Adj. EBITDA of ($100)-($75) mln. Hypothetically, assuming "slightly favorable" indicates about a $5 mln improvement to its guidance, that would equate to year/year growth of about 35%, continuing its deceleration on the top line. To put that into context, its top-line growth has slid from 72% in 4Q17 to 54% in 1Q18, 44% in 2Q18, and finally 43% last quarter.
Going hand in hand with the company’s slowdown in revenue growth has been its waning daily average user (DAU) growth. Last quarter, DAUs came in at 186 mln, down 1% sequentially. During the earnings call, SNAP commented that while it will not provide specific Q4 DAU guidance, it expects another sequential decline.
The primary issue facing SNAP is a competitive one as Facebook's (FB) Instagram continues to chip away at SNAP's user base, taking market share. Last Friday, Cascend Research issued a report stating that its data suggests that Instagram picked up substantial share over the past nine months as Instagram downloads grew an average 20% quarter/quarter rate. Compounding the frustration for SNAP's investors have been ongoing delays regarding a new Android roll-out for the app. While the company noted that it continues working on a rebuilt version of its Android application and that it is making progress testing the app in select markets, there is no confirmed timeline for its launch, leaving investors in limbo.