Shift4 Payments, Inc. (FOUR) Failed to Properly Account for Customer Acquisition Costs
A shareholder filed a class action on behalf of persons and entities that purchased or otherwise acquired Shift4 Payments, Inc. (NYSE: FOUR) securities between November 10, 2021 and April 18, 2023. Shift4 provides software and payment processing solutions in the U.S.
According to the complaint, defendants failed to disclose that: (i) Shift4 had inadequate disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting; (ii) as a result, Shift4 failed to properly account for customer acquisition costs, thereby artificially inflating its net cash provided by operating activities; and (iii) accordingly, Shift4 would likely be forced to restate one or more of its previously issued financial statements. Additionally, Shift4 employed accounting maneuvers in connection with, among other things, its mass strategic buyout program and sponsor bank merchant settlement account, that were designed to present an inaccurate picture of, inter alia, the Company’s performance, its underlying business quality, and its earnings power.
On October 21, 2022, Shift4 disclosed in an SEC filing that the Company’s Q3 2021, full year 2021, Q1 2022, and Q2 2022 financial statements should no longer be relied upon and would need to be restated because of a material weakness in the Company’s financial controls, which had caused it to incorrectly treat “customer acquisition costs” as cash used in investing activities rather than cash used in operating activities in its Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows. On this news, Shift4’s stock price fell 2.67%, to close at $44.16 per share on October 2, 2022.
Then, on April 19, 2023, Blue Orca Capital published a report alleging, among other things, that “Shift4 [is], in reality, a roll-up of low-tech POS systems and payment processors which is substantially less profitable, generates far less cash, and is materially more levered than investors are led to believe.” The report further alleged that in 2022, “Shift4 engaged in a string of highly questionable and hyper-aggressive accounting maneuvers seemingly designed to keep the stock afloat, from cash flow manipulation to inexplicable distributor acquisitions that enabled it to capitalize a major component of COGS [cost of goods sold].” On this news, Shift4’s stock price fell 8.68%, to close at $62.59 per share on April 19, 2023.
What Now: Similarly situated shareholders may be eligible to participate in the class action against Shift4 Payments, Inc. Shareholders who want to act as lead plaintiff for the class must file their motion for lead plaintiff by October 19, 2023. A lead plaintiff is a representative party acting on behalf of other class members in directing the litigation. You do not have to participate in the case to be eligible for a recovery. If you choose to take no action, you can remain an absent class member.
All representation is on a contingency fee basis. Shareholders pay no fees or expenses.