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Why Total System Services, Inc. Dropped Today

By Jordan Wathen - Jan 27, 2016 at 2:03PM

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Shares of the payments company are plunging on weaker-than-expected earnings, and a credit downgrade.

What: Shares of Total System Services, (TSS) are dropping today on the back of lower-than-expected earnings. Shares are trading down about 12% as of 1:25 p.m. EST.

So what: The company reported adjusted earnings of $0.57 per share, a decrease of 1.6% from the year-ago period, missing analyst expectations of $0.60 per share for the fourth quarter.

Separately, the company announced that it would acquire TransFirst from Vista Equity Partners in an all-cash deal that values the company at about $2.35 billion. TransFirst gives Total System Services more than 235,000 more small and medium-sized business clients in payments, and will make the combined company the sixth-largest U.S. acquirer based on net revenue.

Now what: A slight earnings miss probably wouldn't have been so concerning to Wall Street if it hadn't followed the announcement of an acquisition. S&P downgraded Total System Services from a BBB+ credit to BBB-, noting that the acquisition would increase the company's leverage to the "high-3x area," up from "about 1.5x."

Jordan Wathen has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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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