LeEco can't seem to catch a break. Last month, its CEO Jia Yueting sent out a memo days after the company's US launch claiming it was over-extended and suffering from "big company disease," which seemed a clear euphemism for incoming job cuts. A month later, and things aren't any better.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the publicly-traded arm of LeEco, known as Leshi, had seen its stock tank earlier this week. Reports from Chinese media claim that an 8% drop on Tuesday triggered margin calls by Jia's lenders, meaning he will either be forced to sell some of his Leshi company stock or provide his margin accounts fresh funds. Before the Shenzen exchange opened on Wednesday, LeEco opted for the drastic measure of halting trading of the company's shares. The Journal doesn't recite the exact figures Jia must provide - LeEco claims they are inaccurate - but LeEco is apparently not in dispute of the basic facts of the situation.
As the Journal points out, LeEco's share price has done nothing but suffer in the last year-and-half, having been worth well over twice what it is today just 18 months ago - around 36 yuan today versus 80 yuan in May 2015.
The story paints a picture of a company in the throes of deep financial and structural uncertainty. LeEco acknowledged in its statement to the Journal that it is currently undergoing "major matters, which are expected to involve integration of industry resources." This meaningless puddle of corporate word-vomit doesn't really tell us anything, but is likely meant to assure investors and lenders that, yes, LeEco is aware its house is on fire.
What LeEco's continued struggles mean for its Vizio acquisition, not yet completed, are unclear, though as of a month ago the company said it was on track. Given today's news, though, I wouldn't be surprised to hear anything in regard to LeEco at this point - things clearly aren't going well for them, and if there's one thing the market abhors, it's chronic uncertainty.
- Wall Street Journal