Why EZCORP, Inc. Stock Tumbled

EZCORP shares dive after announcing a number of management changes. See why investors are so spooked and whether that fear is merited.

Sean Williams
Sean Williams
Jul 21, 2014 at 4:26PM

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 EZCORP (NASDAQ:EZPW), a financial services company focused on payday loans, short-term consumer loans, and pawn shops, tumbled as much as 14% after disclosing management changes after the closing bell on Friday and before the opening bell this morning.

So what: According to its press release after the closing bell on Friday, MS Pawn Corporation, the voting shareholder for EZCORP's class B voting common stock removed Paul Rothamel as director, president, and CEO of the company, as well as William Love as chairman, and Joseph Beal as director. The release notes that these actions were taken to "address and significantly improve the operating and financial performance of EZCORP, to strengthen corporate and regulatory governance and to realign corporate strategies in support of all shareholder interests."

Earlier this morning, EZCORP announced the appointment of its current CFO Mark Kuchenrither to the interim CEO and president position while it searchers for a permanent replacement. Kuchenrither will also continue to serve as the company's CFO as well.

Now what: I can't argue that change could be just what EZCORP needs after a number of underperforming quarters. However, abrupt changes where existing management and board members are ousted only further shines light on EZCORP's weak results in recent quarters and demonstrates that this isn't going to be an easy fix.

On one hand, the short-term loan business comes with hefty interest rates and high margins, even taking into account the loans it makes that go uncollected. Then again, regulators are beginning to take a much closer look at the industry, and that could be a long-term negative to EZCORP's growth potential. As for me, I believe at just six times forward earnings -- and with the understanding that these figures are likely to come down a bit – shares are priced for value investors to swoop in. I'd certainly encourage more risk-willing investors who understand that this could be a multi-year turnaround to dive deeper into EZCORP.