In this segment of the Motley Fool Money radio show, host Chris Hill, Million Dollar Portfolio’s Jason Moser and Matt Argersinger, and Total Income’s Ron Gross review the state of troubled former market darling Under Armour (NYSE:UA) (NYSE:UAA).
Shares fell 25% this week as the sports apparel and footwear company revealed just how hard it has been hit by the ongoing shifts in U.S. retail. Can its international strength sustain it to a comeback? Can once-lauded CEO Kevin Plank get back on track with fresh help at the helm? What’s next from here? The Fools consider.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on Nov. 3, 2017.
Chris Hill: Shares of Under Armour falling 25% this week after the company's third quarter report featured the first sales decline as a public company. On top of that, Jason, they cut guidance.
Jason Moser: Woof. Woof.
Matt Argersinger: A double woof.
Moser: I've seen better quarters out of the this year. Listen, I'm trying to find a light at the end of the tunnel here and just not seeing it right now, unfortunately. I mean, it is a strong brand, and perhaps that's it. The international business continues to perform well. But we put this on hold in MDP because of this quarter, and a lot of red flags that we're seeing in the business right now. It's in a state of chaos. And I think Kevin Plank's leadership is being questioned, and I think that's a fair point. As I mentioned, internationally, they're doing OK. But North America, they run into a real buzz saw in this massive retail shift. Their wholesale revenue is down 13%. You see all of this trouble with Sports Authority and Dick's Sporting Goods. The investments in direct consumer are working out for them, and that's ultimately what's going to have to lead this business forward. But we are looking for some key points here in order to be able to hang on to this stock. We want to see that this new leadership team that they have in place is still there a year from now. We want to see that they can really stanch the bleeding of this wholesale leak. And if they can really work on turning their balance sheet back into a source of strength as opposed to the weakness that it is due to some reckless spending, then I think there's a light at the end of the tunnel. But it's going to take a lot of time for them to get it straightened out, and I think a lot of patience from investors.
Argersinger: It's remarkable to talk today about Kevin Plank as a liability, when for years we said, "You're buying Kevin Plank, he's an owner, founder, CEO, he's great, he's going up against Nike and succeeding!" And now it's kind of like, "Gosh, I hope the executive team around him can keep him in line."
Moser: It was a real dilemma when we batted this back and forth to add it in MDP, because we said just that, like, Plank is a tremendous asset but he's also one of the top three risks in owning the shares, and that's certainly playing out on the company today.
Ron Gross: If you're negative Under Armour, are you positive Nike as a matter of rule?
Moser: Well, we own both in the portfolio. I think clearly Nike is a better run business today. I think Plank made a lot of reckless investments in the name of growth as opposed to making smart investments and letting growth be the byproduct of that. So, let's hope he can get that straightened out.