Short sellers — who essentially place bets that the price of a stock will fall in the future — now own as much as 28% of the shares available to be publicly traded, Bloomberg reported Thursday, citing data from Markit Group.
UPDATE, 4:05 p.m. ET: Snap shares closed at $18.85 per share, down 3.6% for the day, and well off its high closing price of $27.09 the day after its IPO.
The drop comes after Snap shares slid 3.9% Wednesday, following a report by Nomura Instinet analysts finding that Snapchat app downloads declined 22% during April and May of this year compared with the same period in 2016. And on Monday, JP Morgan analysts cut their price target on the stock from $20 to $18.
The high level of short-selling activity in Snap’s stock reflects the expectation among some investors that the company’s shares will drop after Snap insiders, including CEO Evan Spiegel and CTO Bobby Murphy, become free to sell their shares once the post-IPO restriction on their stakes expire July 30.
Spiegel and Murphy, who co-founded Snapchat, both each own about 211 million shares; in addition, Spiegel received an additional 37 million shares as a bonus for taking the Snap public. Together, they own the majority control of voting rights in Snap.
In its first post-IPO earnings report, Snap missed Wall Street’s first-quarter expectations and posted a massive $2.2 billion loss.
Snap went public on March 2, closing at $24.48 per share — up 44% over the IPO pricing. Shares soared even higher after NBCUniversal disclosed a $500 million stake in the company, but the stock price has dropped off the