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A volatile IPO. An uncertain business model. No profits in sight.

Shorting Lyft sounds like a no-brainer, right? Plenty of investors think so: As of last Thursday roughly 41% of Lyft shares, worth some $937 million, were being shorted according to S3 Partners Managing Director Ihor Dusaniwsky. In contrast, that figure is closer to 23% for Tesla—another company that has divided investors.

There is often “more interest on being short in a popular IPO” than in a lesser known one, said IHS Markit’s Samuel Pierson. As IPOs are priced to pop on the first day, short sellers may buy in the hopes of catching a short term sell off in the coming days and weeks. Or, they may truly believe the company is overvalued and be placing a long term bet that the stock will correct. Either way the widespread interest has made shorting Lyft a costly proposition: In the days following its IPO a week ago, the cost to borrow a share of Lyft rose above 100% of the price of a share itself—making it the most expensive U.S. company to short (among any stock with over $5 million worth of shares being lent out), according to Pierson. More recently, that figure has dipped as more investors have made their shares available for lending.

In the meantime Lyft short sellers are certainly looking ahead to two upcoming important events: one that may give the stock a boost, and one that may depress it. Roughly 25 days after an IPO, the so-called “quiet period” comes to an end. That will allow some of a newly public company’s greatest cheerleaders, their underwriters, to put out new ratings on the stock. And (surprise, surprise) analysts at the underwriting banks (in Lyft’s case, that includes Jefferies, Credit Suisse, and J.P. Morgan) tend to see upside in the firms their companies underwrite. (Remember Snapchat maker, Snap’s 2017 IPO? Early analysts that didn’t take part in the offering tended to promote “hold” or “sell” ratings on the stock. But when the quiet period came to end, it was a sea of “buys” and “holds,” boosting Snap’s stock 5%.)

Then comes the so-called “lock-up period” expiration. Executives and major shareholders at Lyft are barred from selling stock in the company 180 days immediately following the IPO due to this clause. But if these owners sell shares en masse when the period ends, flooding the market and depressing the stock price, it could be a boon to short sellers.

But not all the smart money is betting against Lyft. One prominent short seller, Citron Research’s Andrew Left, is buying Lyft shares. On last Friday, Left authored a research report dubbing Lyft the “Amateur Short,” noting Lyft’s rising number of quarterly active riders, as well as how much larger the market could grow. Ride sharing, he noted, currently accounts for only 1% of miles travelled. As he wrote to clients, “Shorting disruptive companies that dominate a megatrend simply because they lose money is a sure way to go broke.”

Either way, “We can expect Lyft to be a significant short in the market for long time,” said S3 Partners Managing Director Ihor Dusaniwsky. And while and long vs. short debate rages on, one thing’s for sure: Carl Icahn, who reportedly sold his 2.7% stake of Lyft ahead of the IPO for about $550 million, according to the Wall Street Journal, may have had the best timing of all.


这三个元素凑到一起,让做空Lyft似乎成了一件再正常不过的事情,对吧?很多投资者也是这样想的。据S3 Partners公司的执行董事伊霍尔·达萨尼斯基称,截止到上周四,Lyft公司已经有41%的股票被做空,价值约合9.37亿美元。相比之下,特斯拉的投资者虽然也是高度分裂的,但特斯拉的股票只有23%被做空。

IHS Markit公司的塞缪尔·皮尔森指出,相比那些默默无闻的公司,人们往往“更有兴趣做空一家知名公司的IPO。”由于IPO新股上市当日价格就会暴涨,很多卖空者购买IPO的新股,都是为了在几天或几周内变现赚一笔差价。当然也不排除一些投资者确实认为这家公司的估值被高估了,并且押注于长期股价必然会回调。不管怎样,由于大家做空Lyft的兴趣高涨,在IPO后的几天里,Lyft每股借贷成本的上涨幅度达到了股价的100%,Lyft成了美国做空成本最高的一只股票(确切地说,是在所有有500万美元以上股票被借贷出去的上市股中做空成本最高的一只股票)。不过最近,随着越来越多的投资者将股票用于借贷,这一数字略微有所下降。



当然,也并非所有投机资金都在做空Lyft。Citron Research公司的安德鲁·莱夫特是一位知名的卖空者,他就在买进Lyft的股票。上周五,莱夫特写了一篇研究报告,称做空Lyft的人很“业余”。他表示,Lyft的季度活跃用户在不断增长,市场本身有巨大增长空间。他还表示,目前网约车只占了乘用车行驶总里程数的1%。他对客户写道:“仅仅因为亏钱,就做空主宰了大趋势的颠覆性创新公司,这样做肯定会破产的。”

S3 Partners公司的执行董事伊霍尔·达萨尼斯基指出,不管怎样,“可以预见,在很长一段时间里,Lyft都是市场中一个重要的做空对象。”虽然对于投资者而言,应该做空还是做多尚无定论,但有一件事是肯定的——据《华尔街日报》(Wall Street Journal)报道,卡尔·伊坎在IPO前已经售出了他持有的2.7%的Lyft股份,从出手时机看,他才是所有人中的大赢家。(财富中文网)




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