The indigestion is real for Blue Apron (NYSE: APRN) investors. Shares of the fast-growing meal-kit start-up have hit fresh intraday lows in each of its first six trading days as a public company. Blue Apron stock plunged 18.8% last week, as investors continue to cool on the Wall Street debutante.
It's been a rough go for Blue Apron since it was initially trying to price its offering between $15 and $17 a share. Underwriters had to settle for $10, and that was still apparently too high. The stock has surrendered nearly 23% of its value in its brief tenure as a public company, trading at less than half of the midpoint of its initial expected range.
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Things look dreadful for Blue Apron and its freshly minted shareholders, but it doesn't have to stay that way. Let's take a look at a few of the reasons why now may be a good time to start nibbling on the broken IPO.
1. Timing goes both ways
It's hard to think of a more poorly timed IPO than Blue Apron. Underwriters were hoping to take Blue Apron public in the mid-teens last month, giving it a market valuation of roughly $3 billion. There may have been some general market skittishness leading into the eventual pricing, but then came the dagger. Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) agreeing to buy Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFM) in a $13.7 billion deal hit too close to home.
Blue Apron's strength is the convenience of high-end ingredients delivered with step-by-step recipes. Blue Apron is disrupting both the restaurant and prepared-meals markets. Amazon's disruptive nature armed with hundreds of high-end grocery stores once it has digested Whole Foods will make it easy for Amazon to disrupt the disruptor.
It was crummy timing, but let's assess the timing of a purchase of Blue Apron now. The stock is commanding half the value that the market was bracing for a month ago, and the healthy fundamentals that made it an attractive IPO candidate are still there. Buying into Blue Apron now should prove opportunistic no matter what Amazon does with Whole Foods.
2. The market ultimately rewards growth
Let's not forget the dazzling numbers that made Blue Apron a high-profile debutante. Blue Apron generated $795.4 million in revenue last year, 133% over the $340.8 million it rang up in 2015. This isn't too shabby for a company that just got started five years ago.
Blue Apron isn't perfect. It's still in the red. Growth is also slowing, with a year-over-year gain of 42% on the top line in this year's first quarter. We'll get a snapshot of Blue Apron's growth when it reports its second-quarter results in a few weeks, giving Blue Apron another chance to show off its healthy growth.
3. IPOs tend to help consumer-facing brands
A welcome by-product of going public is that it increases brand awareness. Blue Apron's name is in the news, and that's going to drum up interest in the product. Blue Apron is doing fine without the extra publicity. It has fulfilled 25 million paid orders since its inception, covering 159 million meals. There's no denying that Blue Apron making financial headlines will find new customers kicking its tires.
We won't see the impact of the IPO until the third quarter, but it does give another thing for investors to look forward to later this year.
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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and Whole Foods Market. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.