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Why Berkeley Lights Stock Is Plummeting Today

By Eric Volkman – Sep 15, 2021 at 4:02PM

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A scathing set of tweets from a short-seller leads to an investor exodus.

What happened

Cell biology specialist Berkeley Lights (BLI 2.94%) was getting slammed by investors on Wednesday, following a scathing tweet from an institutional short-seller. In late afternoon trading, the company's shares were down by over 22%. 

So what

A firm called Scorpion Capital, which describes itself as focused on "activist short selling" of businesses it considers dubious, thrashed Berkeley Lights in a tweet thread published Wednesday morning. 

In the thread, Scorpion Capital forcefully accused the company of "Fleecing Customers And IPO Bagholders With A $2 [million] Black Box That's A Clunker."

A researcher studying a sample in a petri dish.

Image source: Getty Images.

The short-seller is referring to Berkelely Lights' Beacon, a device that the company describes as "a better, more advanced way to process and analyze cells."

Scorpion said that its discussions with Berkeley Lights customers and employees indicate the Beacon has sold very poorly. It added that some clients allege they were deceived into purchasing a "lemon" of a product.

Meanwhile, wrote Scorpion, "Red flags signal the end game is near: growth has evaporated; the CFO and Chief Accounting Officer just fled; accounts receivable are spiking despite flattening sales; its machines appear to be barely used by customers."

Scorpion added that "all it takes is a casual glance at the financials to recognize that [Berkeley Lights] is a raging dumpster fire and... has no ability to survive as a going concern."

While Scorpion divulged that it is short in Berkeley Lights stock, it did not detail the size of its position.

Now what

Troublingly, Berkeley Lights has not yet publicly responded to these damaging allegations, and it needs to if it's to bring the bulls back to its stock.

Investor confidence in the biotech hasn't been high lately, even without Scorpion's sting. Last month, it posted Q2 results that showed nearly 100% revenue growth, but that top-line figure ($19.25 million) missed analyst expectations. Additionally, the over $18 million net loss was deeper than prognosticators expected.

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Stocks Mentioned

Berkeley Lights, Inc. Stock Quote
Berkeley Lights, Inc.
$3.15 (2.94%) $0.09

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