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Beyond Meat spooks investors with discounted stock

Beyond Meat is selling stock below its market price, and investors are spooked.

The company announced Thursday it would sell 3.25 million shares at $160 each. At market close on Wednesday, the stock was selling at about $196.50 — significantly higher than Beyond’s new sticker price.

Selling at such a discount could be a sign that the company is overvalued. Beyond fell about 10% before the market opened Thursday.

The plant-based protein company, which makes alternatives to various types of meat, first announced the secondary offering Monday. Three million of those shares come from existing stockholders, and Beyond is selling another 250,0000 itself. It plans to use money from the sale to boost its production and supply capabilities and pay for marketing, among other things.

It could use the funding. Beyond’s sales has been soaring as consumers turn to meat substitutes for health and environmental reasons. But it’s losing money.

Revenues reached $67.3 million in the second quarter, up from $17.4 million during the same period last year, a 287% spike. This year, the company anticipates revenues of more than $240 million, up more than 170% from last year.

Yet the company reported a loss of $9.4 million during the last quarter, more than the $7.4 million loss a year earlier.

At the current stock price, Beyond is worth about three times as much as it was after its first day on the market. That runaway success has given some analysts pause.

In June, JPMorgan’s Ken Goldman downgraded Beyond Meat to a “neutral” rating. “Any hiccup in performance — real or perceived — could lead to a meaningful correction in the share price,” Goldman wrote at the time.

In a more recent note, Goldman reiterated the neutral rating because of Beyond’s opportunity for growth, its management team and ability to beat Wall Street’s expectations in the near term.

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