Fitbit's (FIT) stock may not be totally short-circuited.
Fitbit has justifiably been crushed over the last two years as markets gradually realized that the addressable market for its fitness trackers and smartwatches is much smaller than expected. Analysts on average forecast that sales will drop 25% this year to $1.62 billion, and that a $0.35 a share loss will be recorded along the way.
But Fitbit now has an enterprise value (market cap minus net cash) equal to a paltry 0.3 times its consensus 2017 sales estimate, after accounting for over $700 million in cash. And after backing out all that cash, shares only trade for 3 times what Fitbit earned in 2015, a year in which its sales ($1.86 billion) were only moderately higher than what it's expected to produce this year. The current lack of profits have much to do with the spending increases (gradually being undone) that have happened since the start of 2015.
Moreover, while a substantial number of those who bought Fitbits over the last few years grew tired of the devices, the company's hardware, apps and value-added services have yielded a loyal core base of fitness enthusiasts; 36% of first quarter sales came from repeat buyers, and active users grew 37% in 2016 to 23.2 million. Fears that the Apple (AAPL) Watch and Android Wear watches would decimate the fitness tracker market haven't panned out, and with Fitbit still able to deliver a 40%-plus gross margin and a $90-plus average selling price, the same goes for fears that sub-$50 rival trackers would cause severe price pressure.
At such a depressed valuation, it's also possible that Fitbit could find a suitor. Or that an activist could jump in, seeking additional cost cuts, buybacks (courtesy of that huge cash balance) and a "strategic review."
Fitbit certainly isn't for the risk-averse, given the possibility that sales to new buyers could tumble further still, but this is still a business with some value.
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Editor's Pick: Originally published May 31.