Dear Valued Visitor,

We have noticed that you are using an ad blocker software.

Although advertisements on the web pages may degrade your experience, our business certainly depends on them and we can only keep providing you high-quality research based articles as long as we can display ads on our pages.

To view this article, you can disable your ad blocker and refresh this page or simply login.

We only allow registered users to use ad blockers. You can sign up for free by clicking here or you can login if you are already a member.

Ebix Inc (EBIX), Quality Systems, Inc. (QSII): Is This Beleaguered Software Company Trading Too High or Too Low?

A stock that has both an incredibly interesting story and an outsized profit potential doesn’t come along very often. Yet, Ebix Inc (NASDAQ:EBIX) might fit the bill. The problem is that the company, a software provider to the insurance industry, has had such a bizarre last couple of years that it’s difficult to determine whether its stock is worth a lot more than currently bid or significantly less. But one thing is likely; when the dust settles, the shares won’t end up being where they are now.


A tale of allegations, lawsuits, and a busted deal

Ebix Inc (NASDAQ:EBIX)’s share price volatility began in 2011 when a negative online report questioned the veracity of the company’s financial reporting. Class action complaints asserting that Ebix Inc (NASDAQ:EBIX) inflated its stock price soon followed. In May 2013, it looked like the firm was vindicated when it announced a $20 per share go-private agreement with Goldman Sachs. New lawsuits alleging management had not pushed for maximum value were quickly filed.

Then, in June, the U.S Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia opened an investigation into Ebix Inc (NASDAQ:EBIX). This criminal probe put the kibosh on the Goldman Sachs deal, cutting the stock price in half. In the meantime, a lawsuit by Microsoft for alleged copyright infringement, allegations of SEC and IRS probes into possible misuse of subsidiary tax shelters, and even rumors of a Federal investigation into possible ties to money laundering have also surfaced.

Is Ebix trading too high?

Does the litany of lawsuits and allegations suggest that Ebix Inc (NASDAQ:EBIX) might be overvalued? The company does exhibit some controversial signs that might suggest caution on a too aggressive appraisal.

A major red flag is the company’s accounting firm history. From mid-2004 through the 2007 engagement, one major auditing firm resigned and another was dismissed and replaced by a smaller local firm. This local firm resigned for the follow-up 2008 audit and was replaced by another local practitioner who has been active since. This type of frequent change in auditors and use of a small local firm for a listed, complex company is exceptional and proposes some extra analysis of the company’s numbers might be prudent.

Another watchful point is Ebix Inc (NASDAQ:EBIX)’s operating cash flow versus reported net income and depreciation/amortization (“D&A”). In most cases, especially with software firms, reported profits plus D&A usually do not exceed the amount of operating cash provided. While not a significant amount, Ebix’s “excess” profits plus D&A came to about $8 million in 2012, $8 million in 2011, and $13 million in 2010. Lending gravity to this issue is the company’s penchant for dispensing cash on acquisitions and investments in small firms. Its $98 million spend, or around 50% of generated cash, over many different entities in the last three years might rightfully be questioned.

Could Ebix be worth more?

While there may be some legitimate concerns, there are also plausible reasons why Ebix shares may be overly discounted.

The company does have a well-accepted and lucrative product called WinFlex, a software that helps insurance carriers offer and administer their products more easily. The company also has a seemingly solid place in the insurance exchange market, which generates about 80% of revenues. Additional opportunities in this business arising out of The Affordable Care Act’s reliance on state-run health exchanges could offer significant upside and looks to be something the company is hoping to cash in on.

In addition, given the short position against Ebix, estimated at over 30% of the float, any surprisingly good news or legal exoneration for the company may spike the share price.

DOWNLOAD FREE REPORT: Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks

Let Warren Buffett, George Soros, Steve Cohen, and Daniel Loeb WORK FOR YOU.

If you want to beat the low cost index funds by 19 percentage points per year, look no further than our monthly newsletter.In this free report you can find an in-depth analysis of the performance of Warren Buffett's entire historical stock picks. We uncovered Warren Buffett's Best Stock Picks and a way to for Buffett to improve his returns by more than 4 percentage points per year.

Bonus Biotech Stock Pick: You can also find a detailed bonus biotech stock pick that we expect to return more than 50% within 12 months.
Subscribe me to Insider Monkey's Free Daily Newsletter
This is a FREE report from Insider Monkey. Credit Card is NOT required.