What: Welcome to the public markets, Lending Club (NYSE:LC)! Shares of the peer-to-peer lending marketplace fell as much as 18% on Wednesday after the company announced its first set of quarterly results as a public company.

So what: The fourth-quarter performance and the company's outlook for the current quarter were a bit of mixed bag relative to Wall Street's expectations (notably, the full-year outlook was light on anticipated profit):


Fiscal first-quarter results

Consensus estimate (pre-announcement)


$69.6 million

$66.3 million

Adjusted EPS






Q1 Revenue

$74 million-$76 million

$70 million

Q1 Adjusted EBITDA*

$6 million-$9 million

$7.6 million

2015 Revenue

$370 million-$380 million

$369 million

2015 Adjusted EBITDA*

$33 million-$42 million

$44.2 million

*EBITDA -- Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization – is a measure of cash flow.
Sources: Thomson Financial Network, FactSet, YCharts, Lending Club.

Lending Club CEO Renaud Laplanche told Barron's today that "we've been very clear that we are planning to continue to invest aggressively in future growth in product and technology; we are not looking to expand margins at this time." Perhaps, but the stock market's reaction to the company's outlook suggests management was not clear enough for Wall Street.

Now what: The lending market is ripe for disruption, and Lending Club seems committed to shaking things up. Furthermore, the company appears to be taking a long-term view to building the franchise. Nevertheless, the stock isn't cheap by any standard metrics and represents a bet on highly uncertain outcomes. If you enjoy hunting for the next big thing, Lending Club might be the stock for you; for this value investor, it looks suspiciously like speculation.