Why Bears are Circling Around Matterport Stock

Matterport (NASDAQ:MTTR) is one of the most fascinating new tech companies to emerge from the recent special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) boom. The firm is pioneering a new business model that involves offering geospatial services to landlords and retail business operators. As is often the case for names with emerging, new technologies, MTTR stock has been a roller coaster this year.

An image of the Matterport, Inc. (MTTR) logo

Source: Matterport

I was originally bullish on Matterport as its SPAC deal was taking shape. My optimism proved to be on target as MTTR stock launched from $10 to $33. Last month, however, I was cautious on the shares at their new, higher valuation, suggesting that investors should wait for 2022 before buying the company’s stock.

Well, 2022 has arrived. So is it time to pull the trigger on MTTR stock? There are still a few worrisome signs for Matterport that investors should consider before purchasing its shares.

The Revenue Miss

As I highlighted in my previous article, Matterport has been making some adjustments to its business model. In particular, it is moving from one-time licensing fees to recurring subscription fees.

This sort of transition tends to be bumpy. Companies typically report lower-than-expected earnings for a few quarters while waiting for their subscription revenue to catch up to what they used to receive from their fatter, one-time license payments.

Indeed, this phenomenon impacted Matterport’s most recent earnings report. For the third quarter, the company reported just $27.7 million of revenues. That was way below analysts’ average estimate of more than $29 million.

Making matters much worse, the company slashed its full-year guidance, implying that bad Q4 results are coming as well. The midpoint of Matterport’s 2021 revenue guidance range is now just $108.5 million. That’s way down from its previous midpoint of $123 million.

It was natural for the company’s transition to a subscription model to create some issues for it. However, the fact that it cut its full-year revenue guidance by more than 10% is a pretty big red flag, especially since it merged with a SPAC.

Firms that have merged with SPACs have inherent credibility issues now, given the flood of poor performances that they have produced over the past six months.

Bears Latch Onto an Inconsistency

Matterport blamed its Q3 revenue miss partly on supply-chain problems. A big chunk of Matterport’s revenues comes from selling cameras to clients so that they can film their facilities and create 3D digital model of them using Matterport’s software. The cameras are not very profitable, but they are vital for driving users to the company’s subscription and service offerings.

Given the shortage of semiconductors and other components of the cameras, Matterport’s inability to manufacture enough cameras to meet demand made sense. So the fact that its hardware sales came up a little short of the average estimate is no big deal, right?

However, one astute analyst noticed that Matterport is significantly discounting its cameras . Many are wondering  why Matterport is choosing to offer sizable discounts on its hardware if it isn’t able to manufacture enough of it to keep up with demand. Consequently, short sellers are speculating that there is not a great deal of demand for Matterport’s  cameras.

The Verdict on MTTR Stock

The next two months could be treacherous for Matterport’s shares. Later this month, there will be a lockup expiration on a massive number of its shares owned by insiders.

Given the carnage among speculative growth stocks in recent months, it’s rare to see a firm that has merged with a SPAC like Matterport trading north of $20. As a consequence, don’t be surprised if insiders unload Matterport’s shares as soon as they are permitted to do so.

And then, in February, Matterport is due to release its Q4 earnings. As I explained above, these earnings could very well disappoint the Street.  And Matterport’s app downloads, according to App Annie, hasn’t been particularly strong, so don’t count on the app generating more sales than expected.

Additionally, the restrictions on the sales of shares owned by the company’s employees unlock and can be sold after the company reports its earnings in February.

In short, Matterport’s current operating trajectory is fairly weak, plus several big opportunities are coming up for its stockholders to unload a high number of shares.

Matterport definitely has a great, long-term outlook. Don’t rush into taking a bullish position in it, though; given the company’s near-term obstacles, a patient buyer is likely to be rewarded with a better entry point.

On the date of publication, Ian Bezek 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.

Ian Bezek has written more than 1,000 articles for InvestorPlace.com and Seeking Alpha. He also worked as a Junior Analyst for Kerrisdale Capital, a sizable New York City-based hedge fund. You can reach him on Twitter at @irbezek.

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