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Short sellers circling Beyond Meat after IPO

Short sellers are increasing bets against Beyond Meat Inc. as the company's stock price is up more than 500% since its May IPO, according to an analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Short bets against Beyond Meat grew to 9.7% of the company's outstanding shares, according to an Aug. 9 Nasdaq report containing short interest positions as of the end of July. Investors have shorted 5,858,245 Beyond Meat shares worth $962.9 million following the company's IPO.

The maker of plant-based burgers, which priced its IPO on May 1 at $25 a share, saw the value of its shares more than double on its first trading day. Since then, the company's stock price has shown increased volatility, with the shares up 557% from the IPO date through Aug. 9. The shorting activity has risen in tandem following the company's IPO.

Beyond Meat did not respond to Market Intelligence's request for comment on an increase in shorting activity.

Short sellers, who borrow shares and sell them, typically bet against a company's stock, hoping its price will fall. This allows them to buy back the shares at a lower price and profit from the difference.

Beyond Meat has the highest borrow fee among other U.S. stocks so far in 2019, according to an Aug. 13 research statement by S3 Partners, a financial analytics firm. Stock lenders earned almost $1.8 million per day in stock loan fees from Beyond Meat short sellers, according to S3.

California-based Beyond Meat recorded a 287% increase in second-quarter net revenue to $67.3 million. It has a market capitalization of $9.85 billion, according to Aug. 14 data from Market Intelligence.

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Beyond Meat is not the only newly public company that has seen short interest grow since its IPO.

Short interest in vaping products supplier Greenlane Holdings Inc., which started trading April 18, grew to 25.6% of the company’s outstanding shares Aug. 9. However, the company's shares dropped 49.6% from its IPO through Aug. 9.

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