帮助Beyond Meat上市后，摩根大通于6月11日将其评级从“超配”下调至“中性”，并将目标价定为121美元。摩根大通分析师肯·戈德曼在研究报告中对客户表示，Beyond Meat的股价已经超过“我们的目标价”。
在今年5月上市后，Beyond Meat一直呈直线上升态势，目前股价已经比25美元的首日开盘价上涨600%。戈德曼指出：“下调评级纯粹是从估值角度考虑。我们上周就已经指出，‘在某个时候，Beyond Meat在收入和盈利方面蕴含的出众潜力……将得到体现’——我们认为这一天已经到来。”
咨询机构OC&C Strategy Consultants专门研究零售和消费行业的合伙人库瓦·诺克斯说：“我觉得那股兴奋情绪当然有可能稍超前于现在这家公司所处的位置。但我能理解这次的评级下调，它更多的是回归中性，就像是在说：‘好的，现在它的股价已经很高了，稍微冷静一下也不是不行。’这当然不是说他们不相信[这家公司的]未来，但现在的估值有些超前，用现在的价格和实现预期所需的时间相比，它的价格可能偏高。”
投资银行Alantra的董事总经理、全球消费食品部门负责人杰夫·罗巴兹说：“就收入而言，这些产品显然有市场。我认为从消费者的角度来看，推动需求的实际上是环境和可持续性因素。Beyond Meat和Impossible Foods用非常好的办法解决了这些问题，所以显然有很大的益处。”
他说：“泰森食品和雀巢打算进入这个市场并投入大量资金，也就是说，Beyond Meat一定会有市场，但也将面临竞争。我确实觉得人们看好Beyond Meat和Impossible Foods是因为它们有一些先发优势，而且它们推出的产品看来确实很好，也引起了消费者的兴趣。但这样的市场机遇还会引来很多东西，所以保持执行力对它们来说真的很重要。”
与Lyft很相似，Beyond Meat正在成为做空热门，最近它成了股价较高的融券对象之一。实际上，分析机构S3 Partners的数据显示，6月10日，Beyond Meat现有空头仓位的融券手续费超过了134%。
S3 Partners的董事总经理伊霍尔·达萨尼斯基在6月10日发表的报告中写道：“Beyond Meat在很短时间内轧空的可能性非常大。由于空方不可能采取更多或有影响的行动，Beyond Meat的股价应继续上行，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.