Why Western Union Shares Got Crushed

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of money-transfer giant Western Union (NYSE: WU  ) plummeted 28% today, after its quarterly revenue and full-year guidance missed Wall Street expectations.

So what: Western Union's third-quarter profit managed to squeak past estimates, but a top-line miss -- $1.42 billion versus the consensus of $1.47 -- coupled with downbeat guidance for the full year is triggering serious concerns over decreasing market share. In fact, management even announced price reductions in key corridors to help fight off the competitive pressures and, in the process, squashed any hopes that Wall Street had of a near-term earnings recovery.

Now what: Western Union now sees full-year adjusted EPS of $1.65-$1.68, down significantly from its prior view of $1.73-$1.77. According to CEO Hikmet Ersek:

We are a leader in a growing market in consumer money transfer, and we are taking steps to enhance our position for the future. We will continue to execute our strategies in business-to-business, digital, and stored value.

With management seemingly backing up that optimism by raising its dividend 25%, and upping its repurchase plan, today's plunge might be a solid bargain opportunity for long-term income investors.

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Western Union. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Western Union. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On November 07, 2012, at 8:18 PM, reefbound wrote:

    Large proportion of customers are highly cost sensitive and growing penetration rates of the mobile internet in 3rd world is going to make competing againt WU distribution network easier where the phone number is now starting to be a bank account.

    For example i can send money to any mobile phone in 3rd world by using my credit card and doing an online recharge.

    If its a bank to bank transfer, its free if the transfer is within a nation, and its getting cheaper due to the growth of the internet.

    WU value proposition needs to be significantly enhanced with new products to take advantage of its strong brand name.

    This moat is growing smaller every day.

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