Fellow InvestorPlace contributor Muslim Farooque’s take on Matterport (NASDAQ:MTTR) stock had me in stitches.
I usually don’t bust out laughing when I read my fellow InvestorPlace colleagues’ assessments on publicly traded companies. This is serious business after all, but his observations on the 3D spatial data platform provider got to me. The metaverse argument for MTTR stock, Farooque noted, was ill-advised. I’ll say.
When I bought my first (and probably last) Jaguar, I knew the brand had a bit of a reputational issue with its reliability situation. Within a week of ownership, the rearview mirror fell clean off the windshield (thankfully while I wasn’t driving).
Upon initial repair, the mechanic discovered that the mirror also took off bits of glass from the windshield, extending my time Jag-less.
Reputational issue? Mark my word, buying a Jaguar without a warranty is like swimming with great white sharks outside the cage. Sooner or later, this cat will bite you.
And so it is with MTTR stock, which is starting to appear more of a play on the hype of the metaverse rather than its substance.
Like the Jaguar, Matterport oozes (or at least oozed) sex appeal. Primarily known for its 3D camera technology and 360-degree immersion, Matterport can take otherwise boring two-dimensional images of a piece of real estate and turn them into a holistic experience.
Fortuitously, the coronavirus pandemic and the booming housing market presented a red-carpet opportunity for MTTR stock.
Now, would-be homebuyers didn’t have to leave their living room to get a solid idea of the property they were interested in. As well, developments in virtual and augmented reality platforms could significantly enhance the user experience.
Finally, a lofty tech idea had real-world applications. And that’s when the wheels started falling off the narrative.
The Fundamentals and MTTR Stock
When my colleague uttered the words he said — with a deadpan expression, no doubt — MTTR stock had hemorrhaged nearly 43% on a year-to-date basis.
One day later, shares took a sharp drop, bringing the total YTD loss to greater than 47%. Just for good measure, I suppose.
But the bad news didn’t end there. On a trailing-month basis, MTTR stock utterly collapsed to the tune of a 57% loss.
As I write this, shares trade for just about 40 cents above the typical initial offering price of $10 for a special purpose acquisition company. That’s right — before we forget, MTTR arrived on the scene via a reverse merger with a SPAC.
While you should always view each investment on its own merits (or lack thereof), post-business-combination SPACs have underperformed benchmark indices during the trailing year.
Plus, Harvard Law School warned about their dilutive nature. Sadly, MTTR stock is not the one proving the critics wrong.
In this case, the fundamentals are just not fueling the narrative. As Farooque mentioned, top-line growth year-over-year in the most recent third quarter was at 10% unimpressive.
Matterport’s “financial flexibility” as he put it is discouraging, with liabilities dwarfing its cash account. Finally, the steep net loss of $168 million and a cash outflow of $18.5 million don’t provide much confidence.
To be fair, InvestorPlace’s Ashley Cassell mentioned the immense potential of Matterport’s imaging technologies. On the business end of the spectrum, Matterport’s enterprise-level clients can provide a virtual tour of their own facilities to prospective customers or investors.
On the personal end, people can travel to exotic lands without ever leaving the comfort of their home.
I agree that the potential is there, but Matterport risks becoming an expensive hobby without substantive demand.
The Word We’re All Afraid to Use
For me, the term metaverse is on the same level as what I’ve been calling magic blockchain words. Suddenly, people out of nowhere have been throwing out words like decentralization and distribution, much like they’re spitting out jargon like metaverse and Web 3.0.
Seemingly everyone appears convinced that the metaverse is the future, like electric vehicles and cryptocurrencies. Few seem to ask the obvious question: what if it’s all, you know, that special word?
While I can’t repeat it on this platform, I’m grateful to Wes Fenlon of PCgamer.com, who published an article under a title that left nothing to the imagination.
Indeed, even his meta tag summarized his piece quite nicely: the metaverse is [special but in a bad way] because it already exists, and it’s called the internet.
In one fell swoop, the metaverse (as it’s presented now) can fail because users at large might not find it very interesting.
Certainly, MTTR stakeholders aren’t waiting around to find out.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.