MoviePass Parent’s Stock Plummets 44% After Reverse Split Takes Effect


A day after MoviePass parent Helios & Matheson expressed confidence that a shareholder rescue plan would enable the subscription ticketing service to continue its disruptive ways, Wall Street weighed in otherwise.

One of the new measures — a 1-to-250 reverse stock split, which dramatically reduced the number of shares outstanding — took effect today. That artificially propped up the price to the highest level it has been since November 2017, just as envisioned by management. They had been eager to avoid a devastating de-listing by Nasdaq, which it warned could have happened had the stock continued to trade below $1.

The bears still pounced, however, delivering a clear verdict on the state of the cash-burning ticketing firm, which has been on one of the wildest rides in modern entertainment history. Shares fell $9.37 to close at $11.88.

That’s a big improvement from Tuesday’s close of 9 cents, certainly, but the plunge reflects investor angst as the company’s story gets progressively harder to follow.

A reverse stock split is implemented by companies looking to boost their share price any way possible. It is generally not taken to be a bullish sign, and while management is sanguine about the prospects of the company breaking even by year-end, skeptics are lined up 10 deep at the sale window. Today’s drop was followed by a series of ominous updates on the state of the company’s finances. Executives disclosed several weeks ago that they would need to raise up to $1.2 billion in new funding in order to survive. Even as it issued these disclaimers, the company made moves like launching its own production shingle; continuing to talk up financing arm MoviePass Ventures; and even opening an online store for MoviePass-branded merchandise.

The company’s $10-a-month, fixed-price model locks it into losses due to the need to purchase a vast number of tickets to fulfill orders. (Helios chairman Ted Farnsworth predicts by year-end they will control 50% of all tickets bought in the U.S.) That means the pressure is on for new revenue sources. While the data collected by customers is thought to be the ultimate answer, Farnsworth admitted at a business conference yesterday that revenue from the data is negligible so far and that meaningful non-subscription revenue still lies down the road.

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