Why BILL Holdings Was Falling This Week

Shares of BILL Holdings (BILL -9.92%), which provides back-office account management and payments software for small and medium-sized businesses, were having a rough week. The stock continued to slide in response to its disappointing earnings report last week, and it fell on Thursday after Bloomberg reported it was in talks to acquire Melio Payments for $1.95 billion.

Through the market close on Thursday, the stock was trading down 16%, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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Bill gets hit by a rumor

Bill was coming off another slide last week as shares plunged on Friday following its guidance cut in its first-quarter earnings report due to a challenging macroenvironment. It now sees revenue growing just 14%-18% for the year.

Much of the company’s revenue comes from transaction fees, so it’s dependent on its SMB clients’ spending money, meaning it’s directly exposed to the impact of high interest rates on business expansion and health. After falling sharply last Friday, the stock gave up another 8% on Monday, continuing the post-earnings reaction.

On Thursday, the stock slipped again in response to the report from Bloomberg, which said Wednesday night that Bill was nearing a $1.95 billion deal for Melio, which makes digital payment tools. Investors balked at the news, seemingly thinking Bill was overpaying for the company.

Bill stock recouped some of those losses in the trading session on Thursday after it issued a statement saying the report was false. In a brief statement, the company just said it wasn’t pursuing “any such acquisition at this time.”

Can Bill make a comeback?

Bill has historically been a fast-growing, high-priced stock fueled partly by acquisitions, but the company’s guidance for the current fiscal year shows that’s about to change. It forecasts revenue growth slowing from 33% in the first quarter to 13%-17% in the second quarter and an even slower rate in the back half of the year.

The good news is that on an adjusted basis, this looks more affordable as it’s targeting adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.64-$1.97 for the current fiscal year, meaning it’s trading at a forward price to earnings (P/E) of a little higher than 30.

If you trust management and believe the current headwinds are macro-related and temporary, the stock looks like a good buy after the sell-off. However, the uncertainty weighing on the stock is understandable, especially as Bill is still unprofitable on a generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) basis.

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