Waitr at nasdaq

Waitr CEO and founder Chris Meaux participates in the opening of trading at the Nasdaq stock exchange in November after the company went public through an acquisition by a company owned by a Texas billionaire. Since then, the company's stock has dropped to its 52-week low.

Restaurant food delivery company Waitr Holdings Inc. has been told by the Nasdaq stock exchange that the company's stock faces possible delisting because its price has been below $1 per share for 30 consecutive business days.

The company has 180 days, or until June 2, 2020, to regain compliance, which means the company's closing bid price would need to be above $1 per share for at least 10 consecutive business days. 

Waitr, which is based in Lake Charles and has significant operations in Lafayette, was notified Dec. 2 by Nasdaq that it failed to comply with the minimum bid requirement of $1 for its stock. The noncompliance warning comes a little more than a year after the company went public, trading at $11.81 on its first day in mid-November 2018. 

Waitr disclosed the delisting warning on Wednesday to investors in a securities filing, but noted it might be eligible for additional time to regain compliance and might appeal the delisting determination if it comes to that point. 

"The company is actively taking steps to regain compliance with the Nasdaq listing rules," according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing. 

Typically a company that is in danger of being delisted can still be traded on the exchange but bears a suffix that signifies it is below compliance. 

Waitr's closing bid price fell below $1 for the first time on Oct. 17 when it closed at 61 cents per share. It has fluctuated as low as 24 cents per share since then. On Wednesday, the stock closed at 51.6 cents, up about 10.5%, but was down slightly in after-hours trading. 

The stock is down from a 52-week peak of $14 per share in March.

The market capitalization of Waitr was about $39 million, down from its peak of $910 million several months ago. 

Waitr had a net loss of $220.1 million during third-quarter this year, compared to only a $6.5 million loss during third-quarter 2018. The company had $52 million in cash on hand as of Sept. 30, down from $72 million as of June 30. 

The company told investors in November that its board of directors completed a strategic alternative review and had decided to keep the business independent and publicly traded, but remains "open to potential value creating opportunities."

Waitr was founded in 2013 by Chris Meaux who stepped down as CEO this year and remains chairman. Meaux holds about 914,012 shares as of Nov. 15, down from 936,800 shares, in addition to 3.8 million shares controlled by Meaux Enterprises. Meaux disposed of 22,792 shares of stock when it was trading around 25 cents due to tax obligations related to vesting of restricted stock awards. 

Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta acquired Waitr for $308 million and took the company public in November 2018. Fertitta attempted to buoy Waitr's stock when it dropped after Meaux resigned as CEO. Fertitta acquired 1 million shares in late August in addition to another 4 million shares he owns through Fertitta Entertainment. On Nov. 15, Fertitta acquired another 10,965 shares for a total 1.01 million shares of Waitr's stock, which were previously restricted stock that vested a year after the company went public, records show. 

The company's chief financial officer and two board members announced their resignations in October. The company also is in noncompliance with Nasdaq regarding board independence, audit committee composition and compensation committee composition. Joseph Stough, who had previously resigned as president of the company, was retained as an independent contractor for Waitr in November. 

In recent weeks, analyst firm RBC Capital downgraded Waitr to perform from outperform with a target price of $1, down from $5 per share. Craig-Hallum also downgraded Waitr's stock to hold from buy with the same target price and said the management turnover has created uncertainty. 

Acadiana Business Today: Waitr stock faces potential delisting by Nasdaq exchange in 180 days, with stock trading below $1; CEO of Lafayette-based PHI Inc. steps down

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The recently named CEO of Lafayette-based PHI, which recently emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, has resigned, two outlets reported.

Email Kristen Mosbrucker at kmosbrucker@theadvocate.com.