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Peloton stock slumps after morbid product placement in "Sex and the City"

"Sex and the City" author Candace Bushnell's next chapter
"Sex and the City" author Candace Bushnell's next chapter 05:59

Peloton shares slumped on Friday after the premiere episode of the "Sex and the City" reboot gave one of its devices a cameo role that took a decidedly morbid turn. 

Shares of the exercise bike company fell more than 5% Friday after plunging as much as 10% in overnight trading. The drop adds to Peloton's recent stock market woes as the shares have lost more than 73% of their value since the year started, battered by a raft of controversies, safety issues and financial headwinds.

And Credit Suisse on Friday cut the company's price target to $50 from $112, with the analyst also reducing the stock's rating to neutral. The reason wasn't the "And Just Like That" reboot, however, but a slowdown in consumer spending that is crimping the company's growth.

(Spoiler alert: The next paragraph contains plot details of the initial episode, so only continue reading if you don't mind the reveal.)

The reboot takes up with three of the show's original main characters —Carrie, Charlotte and Miranda —in middle age, with partners, children and work keeping them busy. Before plans to eat out with Carrie, her partner Mr. Big steps on his Peloton, his face showing exertion — and maybe pain — as he works out on his bike. After he dismounts, he clutches his chest and collapses in his bathroom.

Peloton didn't immediately return a request for comment, but it issued a statement to the Los Angeles Times that blamed Mr. Big's death on other lifestyle choices. 

"Mr. Big lived what many would call an extravagant lifestyle — including cocktails, cigars and big steaks — and was at serious risk as he had a previous cardiac event in Season 6," Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a member of Peloton's health and wellness advisory council and a preventative cardiologist, said in the statement.

She added, "These lifestyle choices and perhaps even his family history, which often is a significant factor, were the likely cause of his death. Riding his Peloton Bike may have even helped delay his cardiac event."

But the episode reminded investors of some of the issues that Peloton has faced in recent years, analysts noted.

"If you Google 'Can a Peloton kill you,' you will be faced with stories of the tragic incidents in America where a Peloton treadmill lead to the death of a child and multiple injuries," said Kevin Mountford, co-founder of financial services firm Raisin UK in an emailed statement. 

Peloton earlier this year recalled its Tread+ and Tread treadmills following more than 70 incidents, including the death of one child and 29 other instances where users sustained injuries such as broken bones and cuts. 

And while the company was a pandemic darling during the initial lockdown — forcing people to exercise indoors rather than at gyms and boosting sales of exercise equipment — demand has since slowed. Last month, the company told investors it would likely lose more money than it had expected in fiscal 2022 after sales stalled out.

Peloton's dark product placement sparked humor on social media, with some poking fun at the morbid twist.

But the "Sex and the City" reboot only adds to its woes with investors, analysts said. 

"Now, with 'And Just Like That…" using the Peloton bicycle as a possible cause of Mr Big's death, it brings back into light the health and safety concern that troubled consumers earlier this year," Mountford noted. "Stock investors will have wanted to sell their stocks whilst they were at a high price, and with stock price plummeting it meant that at a single time loads of investors were wanting to cut their losses with the company."

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