Slack's (WORK) direct public listing in late June was all the rage on the day of the offering, so how are things actually shaping up for the messaging platform?
Slack is up 40% to $36.43 a share from its offer price of $36.
What This Shows
Investors still have some appetite for risk. Lyft (LYFT) soared 20% from its offer price in March on its first trade (before falling hard). Pinterest (PINS) is up 43% from its offer price. Zoom (ZM) is up 152% from its offer price.
When Uber (UBER) fell to $42 a share on its first trade, below its offer price of $45, some on Wall Street thought the craze for hot, newly public tech stocks was over. It may not be over, as seen by Slack's movement in its first week of trading. Even as the tech-heavy Nasdaq has risen 20% year-to-date, investors are still buying up shares of currently unprofitable growth tech stocks like Slack. The market seems relentless.
Key Distinction For Slack
Limited visibility into when, if ever, Uber and Lyft may turn profitable, has held those stocks at bay. Most analysts don't see profitability until at least 2022 or 2023. Pinterest isn't expected to turn free cash flow positive until some time during 2021.
Meanwhile, Slack is expected to turn free cash flow positive by the third quarter of 2020, according to FactSet. Analysts are looking for free cash flow of $7.6 million in that quarter, and to rise steadily to $205 million for all of 2022.
How? D.A. Davidson & Company analyst Rishi Jaluria wrote in a recent note only 15% of Slack customers currently pay for the service, suggesting huge upside for paying customers, assuming the product is value-added. Slack competes with Microsoft products. As revenues rise, Slack will have to get its expenses and investments as a percent of sales down as well.
But be careful, investors. Slack does have a huge valuation, at 40 times last year's sales and 30 times expected 2020 sales. Pinterest, Zoom and Lyft also have similarly huge valuations.
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