Shares in MoviePass parent Helios & Matheson Analytics fell another 15% to close at a new all-time low of 24.62 cents as Wall Street continued to digest unsettling disclosures about its finances.
After starting the year at $7.23 (down from a peak of around $32 last fall), shares have plunged into dangerous territory. They have fallen more than 25% since Thursday and have spent most of the past two months below $1 a share, putting the company at risk of being delisted by the Nasdaq.
Last Thursday, the company announced a series of moves aimed at countering the fixed-price subscription plan introduced by top exhibitor AMC. Among them were the sale of $164 million in bonds and the introduction of surge pricing as a potential way to enhance the revenue potential of the $10-a-month MoviePass service. While MoviePass recently hit 3 million U.S. subscribers and predicts it will have 5 million by year-end, it is losing money at an alarming clip.
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The SEC filing about the bond issue included some passages that gave investors even more indigestion, adding to an already spicy 2018. Many financial and movie business vets have groused in recent months that if the company fails, it could damage the already delicate theatrical exhibition sector.
“MoviePass continues to be a hypergrowth company,” the filing humblebragged. In order to fuel the growth of the MoviePass subscription service as well as financing and production arms, the company said it could require more than $1.2 billion in capital, a higher total than it has ever previously conceded. The company has had an average monthly cash deficit since September of $25 million, and it swelled to $45 million this month due to strong box office for studio summer titles. The MoviePass model requires the company to shell out for tickets even as subscription revenue remains capped, though the SEC filing said both usage and expenses
“We expect to continue raising debt or equity capital to achieve our objectives, as and when available,” the company said. “If we maintain our access to capital, we expect the rapid growth of MoviePass to continue for the foreseeable future.” The company said it could become cash-flow positive by early 2019, “assuming we are able to maintain our access to capital, of which there is no assurance.”
Further thickening the plot today was a deep dive by Business Insider into Helios & Matheson’s extensive ties to an Indian company that had been forced to liquidate after fraud allegations.
A rep from Helios & Matheson did not respond to a request for comment from Deadline about the Business Insider article or the movement of the stock.
If the cash crunch is causing any internal anxiety at the company, it is difficult to discern. As the stock was cratering, an email blast went out from the Media and Entertainment Services Alliance. Promoting a July 24 conference in New York, the trade group said Helios chairman and CEO Ted Farnsworth is scheduled to deliver a keynote. The topic: “Disruption in the Entertainment Industry; Monetizing the MoviePass Effect.”
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