Eargo stock plummets to record low as the former hot IPO is now a target of a DOJ criminal probe

3 weeks ago 10
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Shares of Eargo Inc. mislaid much than two-thirds of their worth connected Thursday, aft the proceeding immunodeficiency shaper disclosed that it was the people of a authorities probe for security fraud.

The quality led J.P. Morgan, which was 1 of the pb underwriters of Eargo’s archetypal nationalist offering past year, to reverse people and urge investors sell.

The banal EAR, -68.34% plummeted 67.3% successful progressive day trading, capable to easy marque it the biggest decliner connected large U.S. exchanges, and putting it connected way for a grounds debased close. Trading measurement spiked to 46.5 cardinal shares, which compares with the full-day mean implicit the past 30 days of astir 762,000 shares, according to FactSet.

Eargo said successful an 8-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission precocious Wednesday that connected Sept. 21, the institution was informed of a transgression probe launched by the U.S. Department of Justice, related to security reimbursement claims the institution submitted connected behalf of its customers covered by national worker wellness plans.

“The institution is cooperating with the investigation,” Eargo said successful the 8-K. “In addition, the institution intends to enactment with the authorities with the nonsubjective of validating the process to enactment immoderate aboriginal claims that the institution whitethorn taxable for reimbursement.”

In the company’s 10-Q filed past month, the institution had disclosed that it has been the taxable of a “claims audit” by its largest third-party payer, which accounted for 80% of gross accounts receivable arsenic the extremity of June. Due to the audit, the institution had not been paid connected claims submitted since March 31.

J.P. Morgan’s Robert Marcus treble downgraded Eargo to underweight, aft being astatine overweight since initiating sum successful November 2020, astir a period aft the institution went public. Marcus slashed his banal terms people to $11 from $44.

“While we were already alert of the continuing claims audit being conducted by the company’s largest third-party payer, the engagement of the national authorities adds an further constituent of uncertainty that makes it precise hard to confidently forecast the company’s security revenues,” Marcus wrote successful a enactment to clients.

He noted for context, that national security gross represented astir 50% of sales, and was a greater percent of incremental maturation going forward.

What a quality 11 months makes for Eargo. The institution went nationalist connected Oct. 16, 2020, aft it’s upsized IPO priced astatine $18 a share, good supra the expected scope of betwixt $14 and $16 a share. The institution sold 7.85 cardinal shares successful the IPO to rise $141.3 million, much than the antecedently expected offering of 6.67 cardinal shares.

FactSet, MarketWatch

And with 35.14 cardinal shares outstanding aft the IPO, the pricing valued the institution astatine astir $614.6 million. J.P. Morgan and BofA Securities acted arsenic the pb book-running managers.

The banal closed its archetypal time of trading astatine $33.68, oregon 87.1% supra its IPO price. Four months later, it had closed arsenic precocious arsenic $75.37 connected Feb. 10, oregon much than 4 times its IPO price. At that price, the institution was valued astatine astir $2.9 billion.

Since then, arsenic institution had revealed wider-than-expected losses successful 2 of its 3 quarterly reports, the banal had plunged 71.2% done Wednesday. Over the aforesaid time, the Renaissance IPO exchange-traded money IPO, +1.32% had mislaid 8.8% and the S&P 500 scale SPX, +1.21% had gained 12.4%.

Add successful Thursday’s losses, and the banal was down 90.6% from its grounds close, and is trading 60.7% beneath its IPO price. The marketplace headdress has sunk to astir $277.3 million.

And present J.P. Morgan’s Marcus sees hazard of adjacent further losses, fixed that specified a ample information of aboriginal gross is tied to a “highly unpredictable and hart to diligence binary event.”

He said the institution has capable currency connected manus to prolong concern for 2 to 3 years. However, “we judge a solution successful the abbreviated to midterm is improbable and volition apt unit the institution to restructure and amended appropriately size spending.”

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