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Insiders Active at Activist-Backed Financial Services Company

by | Nov 10, 2021

ACI Worldwide (ACIW) big run early in the year up to $43 and pulling back in the Summer to the top of yearly value where shares are carving out of a nice base and finally turning higher this week. ACIW has a big low-volume gap to fill here back to $38 while the bigger rising channel that’s forming targets $45+. ACIW had a big open market buy on 11/8 from CEO Odilon Almeida of 15,352 shares at $32.59, a $500K investment and biggest open market buy in the name since March 2020 when he bought $750K in stock at $24.59 when he took over as CEO. The $3.88B company trades 25.8X earnings, 3X sales, and 14X FCF with high-single digit growth. ACIW is a provider of software solutions that help merchants, banks and other billers collect real-time payments. The company launched a turnaround program in 2020 called “Fit for Growth” that is starting to show signs of progress in Q3. The company has been streamlining their structure and changing their Go-To-Market strategy as a cost savings move while also boosting their salesforce to generate new opportunities. They’ve been expanding product reach as well to help more businesses with their digital transformation efforts with solutions like online gateway, fraud management, and omni-commerce capabilities. ACIW is also pursuing new, emerging markets like Latin America, EMEA, and Asia. Hedge fund ownership fell 1.5% last quarter. Victory Capital a top buyer of stock while Starboard Value remains a top holder with 8.95M shares. Starboard reached a settlement with the company earlier this year and added two board members. The activist fund was pushing ACIW to pursue a sale in December 2020 as they think the long-term turnaround plan announced by management was less likely to create the same kind of value. They think ACIW is an attractive takeover target given their size and portfolio of diverse assets. Options flow has been bullish in the name. The March $35/$40 call ratio spread in open interest 3500X7000 from a buyer on 9/21 while the November $35 call with 4000 bought on 10/28. Short interest is 2.3%. Analysts have an average target for shares of $42 with a Street High $46. DA Davidson has a Buy rating and $42 PT. They think Starboard may look to add to their representation with FY results lagging behind peers. BTIG out mid-year noting that a sale remains the likely end-game for the company despite adding Starboard to the board which may signal they’re pursuing self-help mechanisms.

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