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TASER plummets 14% after losing NYPD body camera contract

TASER stock slides after losing NYPD contract

Shares of Taser International plunged 14 percent Monday after the New York Police Department announced last week it would award its body camera contract to Vievu.

The five-year NYPD contract is worth $6.4 million with three three-year renewal options, according to public documents. It includes body cameras for 5,000 officers (about 14.5 percent of the force), as well as free replacements at both the 2.5- and 5-year marks, the firm said. The deal's value of $1,300 per license is almost 70 percent less than what Taser has been awarded in similar contracts.

Steven Dyer, a senior research analyst with Craig-Hallum Capital Group, blamed pricing for the NYPD's decision to select Vievu over Taser International.

"Taser was widely thought to be the favorite in this contract, but the competitor priced extremely aggressively," Dyer said.

Craig-Hallum published a report Monday morning, reiterating its "buy" rating for TASER's stock. It last updated its $33 price target for the company on Aug. 5. In its report, the firm said Vievu was "teetering on irrelevance" among major police departments, which likely drove the aggressive pricing.

Although Dyer expected its shares to be "pressured" as a result of the news, he says the firm did not calculate NYPD revenue in its model. Taser currently has deals with 36 of the Top 60 U.S. police departments (including Los Angeles and Chicago), while Vievu has two (Oakland, California, and Aurora, Illinois). The report emphasizes that Taser remains the dominant force in the domestic body-worn video market and is increasing its international reach.

Taser issued a statement regarding the NYPD decision, saying "while we respect the decision of NYPD's RFP committee, we feel that this decision was a result of a competitor offering their products near or below cost."

Shares of Digital Ally, another body camera company, were down 4 percent Monday afternoon. Vievu, the Seattle-based company that won the proposed NYPD contract, is private and was recently acquired by Safariland Group.