Enova & OnDeck: Behind The Biggest Deal of 2020

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 FEATURE STORY 


enovaEnova CEO David Fisher kicked off his company’s 2nd quarter earnings call on Tuesday and one could tell from the pitch in his voice that he was excited. And why shouldn’t he be? Despite the catastrophe that gripped the nation over the months of April, May and June, Enova still manages to report a consolidated net PROFIT of $48 million.

But that’s not even it. After a long introduction about a major acquisition, a rather familiar voice is asked to deliver some prepared remarks.

“Thanks David, I am equally excited…”

It’s Noah Breslow, the CEO of OnDeck. Less than an hour earlier it was revealed that Enova had bought 100% of OnDeck’s outstanding shares for $90 million in a deal paid for almost entirely with stock. And now suddenly he’s here on this call talking about how great it is that the companies are combining forces.

“Following an extensive review of our strategic options, we believe this is the right path forward for our customers, employees, and shareholders,” Breslow says.

That OnDeck has been acquired is no surprise. The devastating impact of COVID in Q1 reveals weaknesses in the company’s business model and the share price drops by 80% from the period of February to July. This all while two of their competitors in the small business lending space, Square and PayPal, experience enormous gains of more than 40%.

OnDeckIn May, Forbes reported grim news, that OnDeck is being shopped around in “what amounts to a fire sale.”

The rumor creates further despair in an industry that is preoccupied with survival. If this can happen to OnDeck, then…?

The truth is, OnDeck’s momentum had stalled long before COVID. The company walked away from a sale to Wonga in 2012 that had valued them at $250 million and they went on to have a successful IPO in 2014 at a value of $1.32 billion on the selling point that they were a tech company.

But by mid-February of this year, the company’s market cap is down to less than $250 million, turning the clock backwards by about eight years. After losing the partnership with Chase in 2019, OnDeck seemed to have lost its swagger and direction. They planned to pursue a bank charter and do a stock buyback. Then the news pretty much stops.

COVID happens and it hits them hard. The company stopped lending entirely, although they still recorded originations of $66 million in Q2.

As a standalone entity, OnDeck’s upside had greatly diminished. Getting back to where it was pre-COVID may not have been an entirely enticing prospect for investors. Its market cap recently plummeted to less than $50 million and so by the time the Enova price of $90 million is announced, it sounds almost generous. (Knight Capital sold for $27.8M in November).

Enova says that the acquisition increases their concentration in small business lending from 15% to 60%. That puts consumer lending, their historical core business, now in the minority. This is not by accident. On the earnings call, Enova executives say that they believe that “there will be strong demand for capital from small businesses as the economy begins to open back up.” They even believe the opportunity is better than the consumer lending market right now, particularly from a regulatory perspective, they say. Therefore it makes sense to “double down or triple down” on the small business side, they contend.

Enova’s small business lending business was largely spared by COVID. Unlike OnDeck’s brutal Q1, Enova had reported something “very much manageable” thanks to not having “large exposures to entertainment, hospitality and restaurants.”

“Our portfolio has been extremely stable,” Enova says on the call. With the acquisition of OnDeck, the company appears to be gearing up for the opportunity they believe awaits in small business lending right around the corner.

Last modified: July 29, 2020
Sean Murray


Category: Business Lending, Industry News


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