Netflix Lost $50 Billion in Value Overnight

Wall Street is freaking out about the streaming giant’s growth prospects

Co-CEOs of Netflix Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos
Co-CEOs of Netflix Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

How poorly did Wall Street react to Netflix’s earnings on Thursday, in which the streaming giant fell just shy of its own subscriber goals but forecast slower growth going forward? Well, Netflix’s market cap lost $50 billion virtually overnight.

Netflix on Thursday said it nearly reached its self-ascribed goal of 222 million subscribers by the end of 2021. But nearly doesn’t cut it for investors, who panicked so hard that Netflix’s stock price lost more than $100 in value overnight. Market cap refers to the total value of all outstanding shares.

For Netflix, this was the worst 24-hour period on the stock market since July 2012, as its stock price plummeted 21.8% from the close of business on Thursday to Friday’s close.

Most of that drop came in after-hours trading following Netflix’s fourth-quarter earnings, which came in slightly below expectations. In pure numerical terms, Netflix’s stock price lost more than $100 overnight, going from $508 a share at the close of business on Thursday, to $400 per share when trading opened on Friday, where it fell below $400 to $397.50 by the end of the day (it’s continued to fall in after-hours trading).

Investors were not just spooked by the lower-than-expected results. Netflix is providing lower guidance for the first quarter of 2022, forecasting 2.5 million new subscribers compared to 4 million in the same timeframe last year. That would be its worst first quarter in a decade.

Netflix also came the closest its ever come to admitting that the increased competition from the likes of Disney and WarnerMedia could be having an impact on its growth.

In its letter to shareholders, Netflix noted that most of its subscriber growth comes from outside the U.S. and Canada, which has hit a saturation point in recent years. In 2021, almost all of Netflix’s growth was from oversees. “Our service continues to grow globally, with more than 90% of our paid net adds in 2021 coming from outside the UCAN region,” Netflix said.

Netflix Co-CEO Reed Hastings holds more than 788,000 shares of Netflix stock; since Monday that value has shed some $95 million. Don’t feel too bad for him though: He’s on track to earn $34 million this year.