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Square CFO Sarah Friar Departs: Analysts Debate What To Do Next With The Stock

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Square CFO Sarah Friar Departs: Analysts Debate What To Do Next With The Stock
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Longtime Square Inc (NYSE: SQ) CFO Sarah Friar confirmed Wednesday she will step down from her post to assume the CEO title of Nextdoor, a social network for local neighborhoods.

Square's stock sold off more than 15 percent Thursday. Here's a summary of how some of the Street's top analysts reacted to the news.

The Analysts

  • Deutsche Bank's Bryan Keene maintains a Buy rating on Square.
  • BTIG's Mark Palmer maintains a Sell rating, unchanged $30 price target.
  • Raymond James' John Davis maintains a Market Perform rating.
  • Stifel's Scott Devitt maintains at Buy, unchanged $100 price target.
  • Tigress Financial's Ivan Feinseth.

The stock traded around $66.23 per share at time of publication.

Deutsche Bank: Smooth Transition

Friar's departure may be seen as a disappointment as the executive boasts a reputation of "adding significant value" to the company, Keene said in a note. Nevertheless, her departure will be smooth given with multiple capable internal candidates and Friar's commitment to remain with the company into December where she will be "deeply engaged" in upcoming earnings reports and the annual year-end processes.

BTIG: New Element Of Uncertainty

Friar's role at Square was viewed as much more than a typical CFO and was seen as the "public face" of Square, Palmer said in a note. Her resignation also brings in a "significant new element" of uncertainty ahead of the company's push to expand its business into extending credit to customers.

Friar's departure also raises concerns that Square could soon be void of full-time leadership since CEO Jack Dorsey splits his time with Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) where he also serves as CEO, the analyst said.

Tigress Financial: 'Major Buying Opportunity'

Friar's departure and the stock's heavy sell-off represents a "major buying opportunity," Feinseth said in his daily newsletter. The company continues to evolve from its roots as being a mere payment service provider as it continues to move upmarket.

There is a large enough list of capable CFOs to continue driving value even though Friar was an "integral part" of building Square to the larger company it is today.

Raymond James: No Valuation Support

Square remains "one of the best companies we have ever looked at" and its success to date can not be attributed to one single executive, Davis said in a note. The stock is trading at 15 times 2019 revenue and 73 times EBITDA, which suggests there is no valuation support "anywhere in sight."

Shares of Square should "tread water" in the near term and investors should consider remaining on the sidelines unless there is a "significant pullback," the analyst said.

Stifel: No Change To Outlook

Friar's departure should have no impact to Square's long-term vision as the company will likely appoint a candidate who shares a similar long-term vision, Devitt wrote in a note. A bullish stance on the stock remains in place given the company's ongoing efforts to win wallet share from larger merchants, benefit from new partnerships, and expand into new financial services offerings.

Related Links:

KeyBanc Lifts Square's Price Target To $115 After Encouraging Survey Results

Buy Square: Goldman Sachs' Takeaways From CFO Meeting

Photo credit: Mybloodtypeiscoffee (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Latest Ratings for SQ

DateFirmActionFromTo
Nov 2018BarclaysInitiates Coverage OnOverweight
Nov 2018Wells FargoMaintainsMarket PerformMarket Perform
Nov 2018SusquehannaDowngradesPositiveNeutral

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