Deliveroo shares slump on stock market debut

Shares in Deliveroo slumped by more than 30% on the takeaway food firm’s stock market debut, as the eagerly-anticipated float turned sour for an army of retail investors.

The company, which has been urging customers to buy shares via its app, had already set its float price at the lowest end of a range initially set between £3.90 and £4.60, the difference between a valuation of £7.6bn and £8.8bn.

It blamed “volatile” market conditions for the decision to curb its ambitions for a float that has also been tainted by concern among City investors about the pay and conditions faced by Deliveroo’s couriers, despite a charm offensive by the company.

As shares began trading conditionally – the actual settlement of the trades is deferred until Deliveroo is fully listed next week – the share price fell by as much as 30% before recovering slightly to a 23% deficit by mid-morning, at around 300p.

The disappointing start to life on the stock market means an estimated 70,000 retail investors, thought to have spent around £50m on Deliveroo shares, have already seen the value of their investment cut by about a quarter.

“Deliveroo has gone from hero to zero as the much-hyped stock market debut falls flat on its face. It had better get used to the nickname ‘Flopperoo’,” said Russ Mould, investment director at investment platform AJ Bell.

He pointed out that the fact Deliveroo priced its shares cheaply indicated that large City institutions were sceptical about the company’s target valuation from the off, with small investors alarmed by ethical concerns.

“Initially there was a lot of fanfare about the Amazon-backed company making its shares available to the public, including the ability for customers to buy stock []," Egli ha detto.

“Sadly, the narrative took a turn for the worse when multiple fund managers came out and said they wouldn’t back the business due to concerns about working practices.

“This is likely to have spooked a lot of people who applied for shares in the IPO offer, meaning they are racing to dump them.”

Deliveroo sold shares worth around £1.5bn in the offering, with £1bn going to the company and £500m to existing investors. Trading in Deliveroo shares is conditional at the moment, meaning trades taking place at the moment can still be unwound, or the company could even cancel the float altogether.

The float will be unconditional from Wednesday 7 aprile, meaning investors can actually buy and sell shares immediately.

Stockbroker IG said investors were looking for fundamentally solid companies whose shares are set to rise as they return to full fitness after the pandemic, whereas the takeaway firm has yet to make any money, racking up £875m in losses over the past four years

“Deliveroo firmly falls into the pandemic winners category, but at a time when traders are looking for value recovery plays, this doesn’t look like the most attractive proposition,” said senior market analyst Joshua Mahony.

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