Shares of Iconix Brand Group continued to decline in trading Tuesday, a day after the company reported a second-quarter earnings miss and stated it was in the middle of a Securities and Exchange Commission query.
The decline on Tuesday was 4.5 percent, and the stock closed at $13.91.
Most analysts have the equivalent of a “hold” on shares of Iconix, waiting out the short-term given that the management team is in flux following the soon-to-be departure of founder Neil Cole, who was also chairman and chief executive officer. And while there were other senior level executive changes, the background of newly named chairman and interim ceo Peter Cuneo should help the company weather the current storm.
Cowen and Company’s John Kernan, who has a “neutral” rating, noted that Cuneo, currently managing principal of private investment firm Cuneo & Co., led several company turnarounds in the past as president and ceo of Marvel Entertainment and as president and ceo of Remington Products. “During his tenure at Marvel Entertainment, Mr. Cuneo helped turn around Marvel’s struggling business by focusing on its licensing business, both domestic and international, and using movies and video games to generate excitement around Marvel’s characters,” he said. Iconix’s entertainment pillar is headed by the “Peanuts” movie rollout in November.
Telsey Advisory Group’s Dana Telsey, who also has a “Market Perform” rating on the stock, said, “To some extent, the air has now been cleared around the SEC investigation, although it is still underway and the outcome is unknown. Further management has wiped the slate clean on 2015 guidance. All things considered, visibility has improved since late last week” when the stock dropped 24 percent on the disclosure of Cole’s pending departure. She said that the stock could be within its trading range “until the dust settles on this recent changing of the guard and the SEC investigation.”
C.L. King & Associates’ Steven L. Marotta kept his “buy” rating on Iconix shares, noting that while an SEC review is “never desirable,” even if the matter is resolved unfavorably for Iconix, “it would not materially affect previous or projected free cash flow metrics.” He added that the review is “immaterial to the underlying business fundamentals.”