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Rivian’s IPO Lockup Ends Monday. Here’s What That Means for the Stock.

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Door panels for the R1T, Rivian’s electric pickup truck, are ready for installation on the trim line.

Courtesy Rivian


Rivian Automotive

investors have been dealing with a lot lately. Something else is coming down the pike. The initial public offering lockup ends in soon, potentially putting millions of shares on the market. That sounds scary, but it might turn out better than investors expect.

Rivian sold shares to the public in its initial public offering at a price of $78 a share on Nov. 9. An IPO lockup, which bars some early investors from selling stock for a period, ends on May 9.

That’s 180 days after the IPO, the typical period in which early investors and corporate insiders are prohibited from selling stock following the deal.

Roughly 800 million shares are affected by the lockup expiration. Lockups, and their expiration, are a normal part of IPOs, and not all that stock will be sold or traded. But investors will be paying particular attention to


Amazon.com

(ticker: AZMN) and


Ford Motor

(F)—two early investors in Rivian.

Ford owns about 100 million Rivian shares, while Amazon owns almost 160 million. Ford declined to comment on their plans. Amazon responded in an email saying: “Rivian is an important partner for Amazon, and we are excited about the future. Putting 100,000 electric delivery vehicles on the road by 2030 is no small feat, and we remain committed to working with Rivian to make it a reality.”

The fear, for shareholders, is that large blocks of stock can drive down the price. An IPO lockup expiration, however, isn’t always that bad for a stock. Rivian stock closed Friday at $28.79, down more than 60% from the IPO price.


Meta Platforms

(FB) had a large IPO in 2012. Its stock was also trading below its IPO price when the lockup expiration arrived. Meta, then known as Facebook, sold shares in its IPO at $38 a piece. They were about $20 a piece when the lockup expired. Shares dropped about 6% the week coming into lockup expiration, but Meta stock was about 40% higher a month after expiration.


Uber Technologies

(UBER) is an example of a large transportation-related IPO. Uber sold shares for $45 apiece in 2019. The stock was about $28 when the lockup expired. Shares dropped about 14% the week coming into the lockup expiration, but Uber stock was up about 2% a month after expiration.

A Meta-like reaction is the hope for Rivian shareholders. Rivian stock is down more than 80% from its November 52-week high of almost $180 a share. Rivian shares dropped 4.2% in a week of volatile trading ahead of the lockup expiration. The S&P 500 fell about 0.2%.

Investors have sold speculative growth stocks amid rising interest rates. Rivian has also run into some speed bumps. The company plans to delivery roughly 25,000 vehicles in 2022. At the start of the year, Wall Street was looking for closer to 40,000.

Rivian’s lockup expiration could turn into a positive catalyst. The stock market is forward-looking, so the lockup expiration could already be priced in.

Some short-sellers cover their bets against a stock after an event like a lockup expiration. About 6% of Rivian’s total shares outstanding have been borrowed and sold by short-sellers betting on price declines. The average short-selling ratio for an

S&P 500
company is closer to 2%. If some of the Rivian short-sellers buy shares to cover their positions, that could boost the stock in the short-run.

Write to Al Root at allen.root@dowjones.com

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