In this segment from Motley Fool Money, host Chris Hill and analysts Jason Moser, David Kretzmann, and Andy Cross discuss a couple of downbeat company reports.
First, they review the second-quarter data from online real estate giant Zillow Group (NASDAQ:Z) (NASDAQ:ZG), which was bad, and its plan ahead, which looks scary. The company missed on revenue, and its guidance was weak, too, which would have been enough on its own to push shares lower. But the revelation that it was buying Mortgage Lenders of America did it no favors either. As Zillow moves into lending and house flipping, there's a lot of fear among investors that it's trying to elbow its way into some already crowded spaces where it's strengths won't translate.
Then, it's on to troubled pizza delivery chain Papa John's International (NASDAQ:PZZA), which delivered ugly numbers. And an equally bad problem is that ex-CEO John Schnatter -- still the company's largest shareholder -- seems unable to stop himself from saying things that drive the stock price lower. How does this company rebound?
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on Aug. 10, 2018.
Chris Hill: Zillow's second quarter revenue came in lower than expected. Shares of the real estate website operator down 14% this week. Jason, it was not just the weak revenue that Wall Street didn't like.
Jason Moser: No. You may have seen, Chris, they are buying a mortgage company. Didn't shed much more light on that, other than, they're going to try to become more a part of the transaction. Honestly, this is something they have to do if they want to grow the business. That's where the money is, in the transaction. They'd better execute, though, and I don't think it's going to be very easy to do.
We're going to have to keep a close eye on this, because this could turn out to be their TripAdvisor instant booking moment. I don't mean that in the good way. They're getting into a part of the business where competition is fiercer. This is not in their wheelhouse. Flipping houses, mortgages, that stuff isn't nearly as scalable as the advertising platform that they've essentially built to this point.
My biggest problem with Zillow to date is, this business is still unprofitable. I will give them cash flow positive, but unprofitable. It's just an ad company, basically! It should be making money hand-over-fist! I don't know how much longer the market's going to give Spencer Rascoff the benefit of the doubt here, but they'd better execute on this, or the stock has further to fall, in my opinion.
Hill: Second quarter results for Papa John's were ugly and adding to the ugliness is former CEO John Schnatter criticizing current management from the sidelines. David, you look at this stock, it's basically been cut in half in the last 12 months.
David Kretzmann: And in the meantime, so far this year, Domino's is up over 50%. That kind of tells you the story there.
Papa John's is facing pressure from all sides. Customers are avoiding the stores now after all this controversy. Same-store sales in North America, in July alone, were down 10.5%. Now, the franchisees are struggling as a result of that weak customer traffic -- so, potentially looking at royalty relief or even potential store closures down the road.
Financially, just over a year ago, the company accelerated their share buyback program by going further into debt to fund those buybacks. The stock is down over 40% since then, by the way. So, you have a company now with a lot of debt, falling sales, struggling franchisees. And you have the founder and former CEO, Papa John himself, on the sidelines criticizing management and saying he's not going away. And, he owns 30% of the company, still.
Hill: Is there any way this company survives without a significant makeover? And I mean changing the name and everything.
Kretzmann: I think you have to have everything on the table at this point. But really, before you get to that point, you need to figure out a way to get Papa John himself out of it. I really don't know what brand, at this point, would want to take that on.
Andy Cross has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Chris Hill has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. David Kretzmann owns shares of DPZ, Papa John's International, TRIP, Zillow Group (A shares), and Zillow Group (C shares). Jason Moser owns shares of TRIP. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends TRIP, Zillow Group (A shares), and Zillow Group (C shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.