Shopify Seeks To Defend Against Short-Seller After Earnings Beat

Shares of Shopify (SHOP) dropped in morning trading despite the company posting quarterly results that beat analysts’ expectations. The company continued to defend itself against criticism of short-seller Andrew Left, who has accused the company of being the “hottest new get rich quick scheme on the internet” and “a business dirtier than Herbalife (HLF).”

EARNINGS BEAT: Shopify, a Canadian retail software company, this morning reported third quarter adjusted earnings per share of 5c on revenue of $171.5M, exceeding analysts’ estimates calling for a loss per share of (1c) on revenue of $165.6M. Subscription Solutions revenue was up 65% to $82.4M, Shopify said. Shopify raised its fiscal year 2017 revenue view to $656M-$658M from $642M-$648M, above analysts’ estimates of $648.3M, and forecast fourth quarter revenue to be $206M-$208M, also above the $203.7M consensus.

SHOPIFY AND ANDREW LEFT: Andrew Left, a short-seller who founded Citron Research, published a report on Shopify earlier this month claiming shares “should be down 45% immediately….and that is before the company is caught by the FTC.” According to Left’s report, Shopify “hides under the shroud of a cloud based e-commerce solution for Small and Medium sized Business,” but is actually the “promoter of the hottest new get rich quick scheme on the internet,” and he believes the FTC “will take notice.” Additionally, Citron called Shopify “a business dirtier than HLF [Herbalife],” which has been the target of FTC scrutiny and a well-publicized short held by Bill Ackman. Left told Reuters a week later that he will “most likely” issue a follow-up report and that he is “looking at many parts” of Shopify’s business. On its quarterly earnings conference call this morning, Shopify defended itself against Left’s claims, with CEO Tobias Lutke, who has previously called Left a “short-selling troll,” denying his “preposterous,” “unsubstantiated” claims. “We don’t sell business opportunities — we sell a commerce platform,” Lutke told analysts and investors, adding that Shopify fully complies with FTC rules. Lutke also said the company has not been contacted by the FTC regarding Left’s criticisms.

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Author: Travis Esquivel

Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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