Skillz Ups 2021 Revenue Guidance, Hits Back at Short Reports on Earnings Call

Posted on: May 4, 2021, 09:31h. 

Last updated on: May 5, 2021, 12:08h.

Skillz Inc. (NYSE:SKLZ) raised its 2021 revenue forecast Tuesday, announced a new chief financial officer (CFO), and finally hit back at recent bearish reports against the gaming company. But the shares fell in after-hours trading.

Skillz stock
Mobile games developer Skillz upped 2021 sales guidance. Investors may want more. (Image: The Street)

The mobile games developer said it now expects full-year sales of $375 million, representing 63 percent year-over-year growth, and up from a prior forecast of around $369 million. Investors weren’t impressed, as Skillz stock gave back 1.53 percent in after-hours trading after climbing 2.66 percent during normal trading hours.

“Our performance and strong growth trajectory gave us the confidence to increase investment in Q1 and raise full-year revenue guidance to $375 million,” said CEO Andrew Paradise in a statement.

Skillz stock is in a slide, slumping almost 15 percent over the past week and 41.23 percent during the 90 days ending May 5. The San Francisco-based company also said it’s filing an amendment to its annual report, because financial statements for 2020 shouldn’t be relied upon due to changes related to reclassification of equity warrants as liabilities.

Skillz Fights Back Against Shorts…Sort Of

Since March, at least three bearish research reports emerged attacking Skillz, sparking significant downside in the stock.

While two of those reports were posted to Twitter by users that didn’t reveal their identities, the company’s response was mostly muted. That changed a bit today, as executives highlighted that its developers deal with the the NFL is operational, and that its accounting methods are kosher. Both are points of contention with those betting against the stock.

“Our revenue recognition policy is based on the same GAAP principles as other publicly traded platform marketplace companies that exhibit similar characteristics to Skillz. That accounting is driven by a company’s business model, as I think we all know,” said CFO Scott Henry on a conference call with analysts.

Chief Revenue Officer Casey Chafkin claims bearish researchers made errors in their calculations regarding how Skillz tabulates revenue on the basis of generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

The short reports calculated our net deposits minus developer profit share as between 19 percent and 47 percent of our GAAP revenue in 2019 and 2020,” said Chafkin. “This is simply not true. The actual number is 1.5x to three times higher than the claims number. And you can see this in our SEC filings. You can calculate it. The actual number is 60 percent. And this is just an obvious error in the calculation in those reports, whether that error is intentional or not, well, it’s anyone’s guess.”

Some well-known investors have come to the defense of the firm, saying that the short reports are off base, and that the company’s growth opportunities are misunderstood by those wagering against Skillz stock.

Executive Change

Skillz said Henry is retiring and that he will be replaced by Ian Lee on June 21. Lee joins the gaming company from Airbnb (NASDAQ:ABNB), which he helped take public.

Lee previously helped two other tech companies — Altassian and Trulia — go public as well. He joins Skillz as the company has $613 million in cash on hand and no liabilities as of the end of the first quarter.

A potential surprise for Skillz investors could come in the form of a new Tetris game, which could launch later this year. Paradise said that’s currently not modeled into the aforementioned 2021 sales forecast.