The stock of MoviePass’ parent company, Helios & Matheson Analytics, has plunged for a third consecutive session in the wake of a warning about a possible cash shortage.
Shares slid 17 cents on Thursday to 61 cents, a 22% decline, after falling 66 cents on both Wednesday and Tuesday. It’s the second-lowest close for the stock since the company went public in 1997. Helios & Matheson’s stock closed at 53 cents on Dec. 19, 2008. The stock hit a 52-week high of $38.86 a share in October, two months after it lowered its monthly subscription fee from $50 to $9.95.
The sell-off has come following a Securities and Exchange Commission filing this week by Helios & Matheson, which disclosed it had $15.5 million in available cash at the end of April, plus $27.9 million on deposit with merchants while current monthly expenses are about $21.7 million. The filing said if adequate funding doesn’t materialize, “We may be required to reduce the scope of our planned growth or otherwise alter our business model, objectives, and operations, which could harm our business, financial condition, and operating results.”
Investors were apparently unimpressed by a bullish statement Wednesday from Helios & Matheson chairman and CEO Ted Farnsworth, who insisted that the cash burn rate has been slashed by 35-40% by abuse prevention measures put in place over the last few weeks and that the company has access to over $300 million from capital markets.
“We have always known, from when MoviePass took off in August, that it was going to be a high cash burn business model,” he said. “We are not changing our guidance on 5 million subscribers by the end of this year, which should make us profitable/cash flow-positive according to our business model.”
The company is losing money because it pays movie theaters full price for the tickets its customers buy. MoviePass claims that it will eventually be able to monetize its more than two million subscribers by running ads, partnering with theater chains, or figuring out a way to make a profit on the data it collects on its users.
MoviePass announced on May 2 that it would again allow customers to sign up for its popular movie-a-day monthly subscription package after briefly taking the offering off of its website. An independent auditor publicly raised questions last month about the service’s ability to continue operating.
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