Business

Casper's IPO is officially a disaster

Posted February 5, 2020 8:04 a.m. EST

— Casper's attempt at a public debut is becoming downright embarrassing.

The mattress-in-a-box company dramatically slashed its initial public offering price, cutting its valuation and dimming hopes of a positive reception by investors.

The company said in a regulatory filing Wednesday that it has cut its IPO target share price to $12 to $13 from $17 to $19. That values the company at around $500 million, down from the $705 million it valued itself at last week. At one point, Casper was valued at more than $1 billion.

The New York-based startup filed to go public earlier in January. It plans to trade under the ticker symbol "CSPR" on the New York Stock Exchange.

Casper's long-term prospects for profitability are questionable at best. Casper reported its preliminary 2019 financial results last week, and although sales soared 23% to about $439 million, it lost about $94 million in the past year. Its loss was about 2% more than its losses during 2018.

Casper blamed the losses on expenses and marketing to bolster its growth in retail stores. It also said it was spending a lot of money on developing new products to move beyond the saturated mattress-in-a-box market. Sales and marketing expenses continue to be a heavy burden on Casper. It spent roughly $155 million in 2018 — an increase of 23% compared to the year prior.

The company got its start in April 2014 after raising almost $2 million from venture capital firms and angel investors. Casper captured consumers' attention first with its mattress that fit into a cardboard box the size of a mini fridge and has since expanded to a portfolio of products including dog beds. It attracted several high-profile investors including rapper Nas and actor Ashton Kutcher.

But the market has grown increasingly saturated, with dozens of competitors entering the mattress shipping space. That's why Casper is trying to rebrand itself as a sleep and wellness company. So far, investors aren't buying it.

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