Shares of Yalla Group Ltd. shot up 13.4% in premarket trading Friday, to bounce off a four-month closing low, after the voice-centric social networking platform in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) announced a $150 million stock repurchase program. The buyback program comes as the company continued to dispute recent allegations by short sellers, saying it “has not placed any robots into any of its chatrooms or otherwise manipulated its MAU [monthly active users] or other operating or financial data.” The stock had tumbled 12.9% over the past two sessions, after short seller reports out Wednesday questioned the validity of the company’s financial statements. The company responded to the reports late Wednesday, saying the reports contain “numerous errors and distorted, misleading and unsubstantiated claims,” and said it stands firmly by the accuracy of its reports. Yalla went public on Sept. 30, at an initial public offering price of $7.50 to value the company at $1.07 billion, with the market capitalization rising to $2.30 billion as of Thursday’s close. Since the end of 2020, the stock has gained 11.4%, while the Renaissance IPO ETF has declined 9.6% and the S&P 500 has advanced 10.7%.
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