幫助Beyond Meat上市后，摩根大通于6月11日將其評級從“超配”下調至“中性”，并將目標價定為121美元。摩根大通分析師肯·戈德曼在研究報告中對客戶表示，Beyond Meat的股價已經超過“我們的目標價”。
在今年5月上市后，Beyond Meat一直呈直線上升態勢，目前股價已經比25美元的首日開盤價上漲600%。戈德曼指出：“下調評級純粹是從估值角度考慮。我們上周就已經指出，‘在某個時候，Beyond Meat在收入和盈利方面蘊含的出眾潛力……將得到體現’——我們認為這一天已經到來。”
咨詢機構OC&C Strategy Consultants專門研究零售和消費行業的合伙人庫瓦·諾克斯說：“我覺得那股興奮情緒當然有可能稍超前于現在這家公司所處的位置。但我能理解這次的評級下調，它更多的是回歸中性，就像是在說：‘好的，現在它的股價已經很高了，稍微冷靜一下也不是不行。’這當然不是說他們不相信[這家公司的]未來，但現在的估值有些超前，用現在的價格和實現預期所需的時間相比，它的價格可能偏高。”
投資銀行Alantra的董事總經理、全球消費食品部門負責人杰夫·羅巴茲說：“就收入而言，這些產品顯然有市場。我認為從消費者的角度來看，推動需求的實際上是環境和可持續性因素。Beyond Meat和Impossible Foods用非常好的辦法解決了這些問題，所以顯然有很大的益處。”
他說：“泰森食品和雀巢打算進入這個市場并投入大量資金，也就是說，Beyond Meat一定會有市場，但也將面臨競爭。我確實覺得人們看好Beyond Meat和Impossible Foods是因為它們有一些先發優勢，而且它們推出的產品看來確實很好，也引起了消費者的興趣。但這樣的市場機遇還會引來很多東西，所以保持執行力對它們來說真的很重要。”
與Lyft很相似，Beyond Meat正在成為做空熱門，最近它成了股價較高的融券對象之一。實際上，分析機構S3 Partners的數據顯示，6月10日，Beyond Meat現有空頭倉位的融券手續費超過了134%。
S3 Partners的董事總經理伊霍爾·達薩尼斯基在6月10日發表的報告中寫道：“Beyond Meat在很短時間內軋空的可能性非常大。由于空方不可能采取更多或有影響的行動，Beyond Meat的股價應繼續上行，而且阻力非常小。”
Underwriter J.P. Morgan’s new downgrade of Beyond Meat may be hard for giddy investors to swallow.
After taking the alternative meat company public, J.P. Morgan downgraded the stock to “overweight” from a “neutral” rating early on June 11, setting its target price at $121 per share. The plant-based meat company’s stock is “beyond our price target,” J.P. Morgan analyst Ken Goldman told clients in a note.
The stock has seen a meteoric rise since its initial public offering in May, soaring some 600% from its debut price at $25. “This downgrade is purely a valuation call,” Goldman said. “As we wrote last week, ‘At some point, the extraordinary revenue and profit potential embedded in BYND… will be priced in’ – we think this day has arrived.”
But despite the selloff—the stock was down 21% in intraday trading on June 11—some experts believe the dip is more of a reaction to the overexcitement around the stock rather than it’s value.
“I think it’s certainly possible that that excitement has gotten a little ahead of where the business is at the moment,” Coye Nokes of OC&C Strategy Consultants, who specializes in the retail and consumer space, said. “But I can understand the downgrade – it’s more a move to neutral that kind of says, ‘okay, it’s pretty pricey at the moment and a little bit of a calming down is not unreasonable.’ It’s certainly not saying they don’t believe in the future of [this company], but the valuation has gotten a little bit ahead of where they are and could be overpriced in terms of what you pay if you bought now versus how long that might take for that to play out.”
Nokes maintains that the plant-based food space is “one of the interesting growth areas in food right now,” and that investors appear bullish on Beyond Meat’s more mainstream appeal compared to other niche companies in the space.
While some investors may have been spooked on June 11, analyst ratings remain fairly neutral.
According to Bloomberg data, Beyond Meat currently has two “neutral” ratings, two “hold” ratings and now an “overweight” rating from the company’s underwriter J.P. Morgan.
And for many experts in the food space, Beyond Meat is still appetizing if they are able to continue to execute.
“From the topline perspective, clearly there’s a market for these products,” Jeff Robards, MD and head of the global consumer foods group at investment bank Alantra, said. “I think the thing that’s driving the demand from a consumer perspective is really the environmental and sustainability element. Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are solving for that in a really good way, so clearly there’s a lot of mileage.”
Competition heating up
But Robards maintains that disruptors in the food space like Beyond Meat will need to ensure they are able to keep up with production and sales growth in order to justify a higher valuation – especially with competition on the way.
“You have Tysons and Nestle who are going to be getting into this market with huge amounts of capital, so there’s definitely a market for it but there’s going to be competition,” Robards said. “I do think people like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have a bit of a first-mover advantage and seem to have created products that are really good and interesting for the consumer, but there’s a lot that’s going to have to shake out in this overall market opportunity, so it’s going to be really important for them to continue to execute.”
Although the company’s stock plunged with the news, the dip may be a potential opening for investors, as Robards says it may be “the one opportunity to get in on this market trend.”
Still, the trend of potentially overvalued IPOs isn’t anything new. Perhaps infamously, ridesharing company Lyft had a bumpy ride in its first few weeks as a publicly traded company. Debuting at what many analysts considered an overvalued price-point, the stock proceeded to plummet some 20% in only its second week after going public.
But much like Lyft, Beyond Meat is becoming a hot stock to short – recently becoming one of the more expensive stocks to borrow for. In fact, according to analytics firm S3 Partners, the company’s stock-borrow fees for existing shorts topped 134% as of June 10.
And for some, Beyond Meat is a candidate for a squeeze.
“There is a very good chance that there will be a Beyond Meat short squeeze in the very near future,” Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director at S3, wrote in a report on June 10. “With no additional or impactful short side activity possible, Beyond Meat’s stock price should continue its upward trajectory with very little opposition.”
The short squeeze, which occurs when a stock moves higher and forces short sellers to close their positions, could indicate a vote of confidence in Beyond Meat from investors.
And analysts aren’t exactly souring to the stock just yet, with the highest target estimate at $125 from Credit Suisse. For those like Nokes, the stock may still have some blips to ride out. “I wouldn’t be surprised if there continues to be some volatility,” Nokes said. “There’s a lot of short selling going on and a lot of people playing differently in this stock, and I think that is just going to be a bit volatile for a little while anyway.”
Still, whether or not the company will continue to sizzle for investors is yet to be determined.