Pandora (NYSE:P) shares plunged over 9 percent on Thursday from its Wednesday debut closing. It’s now trading below $16, the initial price of the Pandora IPO.
Of course, for retail investors, $16 isn’t the relevant price because they can’t actually buy the IPO itself (that’s reserved for institutional players). They probably paid higher prices and many of them are therefore probably holding sizable losses.
So is Pandora another tech dud? You know, one of those overhyped and overpriced tech companies with no clear path to churning out big profits in the long-term.
Pandora, at the time of its IPO, is unprofitable. The key reason is that they pay record labels for the service they provide to many users for free. Contrastingly, Google and Facebook don’t have to pay third-parties for the content they freely provide.
Moreover, Pandora is in the inherently difficult businesses of making money from music content.
Even as music artists themselves have moved to merchandising and tours to make money, can Pandora really squeeze profits from this dry market?
The already-profitable LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD), which IPOed on May 19, is currently down 25 percent from its debut session’s closing price.
Similarly, Youkou.com (NYSE:YOKU) and Dangdang (NYSE:DANG), two recent tech IPO by Chinese companies, have flopped in US trading.
So is Pandora just another IPO dud?
The jury is still out this early in the stage for Pandora (although it doesn’t look too promising). It’s also still out for LinkedIn, Youkou.com, and Dangdang.
In the long-term, not surprisingly, it all depends on earning big profits. Baidu.com (NASDAQ:BIDU) shares, for example, fell for nearly one year after its IPO in late 2005. However, as the company earned strong profits, shares eventually soared several fold.
Meanwhile, many junk tech companies that debuted in the 1990s tech bubble have gone bankrupted.