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Blackstone gets stuck with IPO duds this year including Bumble and Oatly




Blackstone gets stuck with IPO duds this year including Bumble and Oatly

It has been a record-breaking year for IPOs, but it has also been a mixed bag — and billionaire Stephen Schwarzman’s Blackstone Group is among those investors who are picking through their duds.

The private-equity giant has held a significant ownership stake in 10 companies that went public on the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq this year, including one business that got sold to a so-called SPAC, or special-purpose acquisition company.

Half of those companies — including the Bumble dating app and the Oatly oat drink brand — are now trading well below their offering prices. Indeed, four of them have fallen more than 30 percent over the past 90 days, including Oatly whose stock has plunged 50 percent, to $8.14 from $16.30, while Bumble has dropped 35 percent during that same period, to $34.87 from $53.50.

That’s in sharp contrast to the S&P 500, which is up 24 percent on the year, and the Nasdaq, which rose 19 percent.

To be sure, the IPO aftermarket has been a disappointment this year across the board. While nearly 1,000 companies went public in 2021 — an unprecedented crop of deals that raised a record $300 billion in proceeds — their stocks were down 20 percent this year versus the S&P 500, according to University of Florida Professor Jay Ritter, who is known as “Mr. IPO” for his work on initial public offerings. 

Bumble, founded by Whitney Wolfe, traded as high as $84.80 a share shortly after its February IPO.
Getty Images for Bumble

Many newly listed companies, especially in tech and health care, have not grown quickly enough to justify their lofty trailing revenue trading multiples, some of which exceeded 20 times earnings, Ritter said. The Renaissance IPO exchange-traded fund, which tracks recent IPOs, is off 9 percent this year.

“Investors were buying IPOs on a lot of optimistic assumptions,” Ritter told The Post. 

Still, Blackstone has left itself open to criticism, especially when listing companies it has invested in through its growth fund.

A line graph shows drop in Bumble stock price over the last 90 days to $34.87 from $53.50.
Bumble stock has dropped 35 percent over the last 90 days, to $34.87 from $53.50.
Google Finance

Oatly, which listed its shares in May, missed earnings forecasts in its most recent quarter. Last month, Oatly revealed in a securities filing that it was forced to conduct a limited recall related to “loose metal items” found in its milk-processing equipment.

Meanwhile, Bumble — founded by tech entrepreneur Whitney Wolfe — posted a decline in overall user growth in its third quarter, with analysts fretting that its pandemic-driven user growth isn’t sustainable. Total paying users dropping to 2.87 million in the three months through September, down from 2.93 million in the prior quarter.

Shortly after its February IPO, Bumble traded as high as $84.80 a share. On Thursday, the dating app closed at $34.87.

Cartons of Oatly milk with a plate of cookies and a glass of chocolate milk beside them in this photo illustration
Oatly hit a valuation above $10 billion on its trading debut, but has struggled since.
Getty Images

Sema4 Holdings, a genetic-testing business spun out of Mount Sinai Health Systems, merged with a blank-check company and started trading in July.  Sema4 lost $89 million in operating profit last quarter on $43 million of revenue and also loses money at the gross margin level. Some investors fret that the company may not be able to renew big contracts it won during the pandemic.

“The interesting thing is the root cause of the poor stock price performance in all of these appears to be operational execution, missteps and poor business models, and not market changes,” one IPO investor remarked. “Why are some of these companies public? ” 

Sema4 shares in the last 90 days have fallen by more than 40 percent to $4.67.

A line graph shows drop in Oatly stock price over the last 90 days to $8.14 from $16.30.
Oatly stock has plunged 50 percent, to $8.14 from $16.30, over the last 90 days.
Google Finance

Blackstone told The Post its 2021 IPOs have delivered “exceptional absolute and relative performance” — calculating that they are up 32 percent on average from when they went public.

That stat, however, includes auto technology company Sona Comstar which listed its shares on the National Stock Exchange of India.

Elsewhere, Blackstone’s biggest winners include Texas-based business process outsourcing company TaskUs, which since its June IPO is up 115 percent. Health company Apria is up 53 percent year to date, and Imago Biosciences is up 45 percent on the year and is still rising.

Stephen Schwarzman
Blackstone Group, led by Stephen Schwarzman, says it believes the companies it’s backed are well positioned for long-term success.
Getty Images

“Many of these IPOs are high-growth, technology, and life-sciences businesses — with those sectors and many other IPOs seeing similar retracement in the fourth quarter nearly across the board,” a Blackstone spokesman said.

“We also believe these companies are well positioned for long-term success and continue to be substantial stockholders in alignment with their public shareholders.”

More broadly, Blackstone pointed to its “strong track record of helping build many highly successful public companies for the long-term,” citing Hilton, whose IPO investors it said have tripled their money. Blackstone-backed Tradeweb is trading at nearly 4 times its IPO price and Invitation Homes has more than doubled, according to the Blackstone spokesman.


Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death




Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence




Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers




Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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