As part of its August 9th quarterly earnings announcement, Performant Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: PFMT) revealed it had recently signed an agreement to acquire Premiere Credit of North America (Premiere Credit).

The following are some of the highlights for the second quarter of 2018:

  • Total revenues of $31.3 million, compared to revenues of $35.9 million in the prior year period, down 12.8%
  • Net loss of $3.6 million, or $(0.07) per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $2.4 million, or $(0.05) per diluted share, in the prior year period
  • Student lending revenues in the second quarter were $17.5 million, a decrease of $10.0 million, or 36.4% from revenues of $27.5 million in the prior year period. Reduced revenues from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation accounted for 75% of this decrease year over year, with revenues of $7.6 million in the second quarter of 2018, compared to $15.2 million in the prior year period. 
  • Healthcare revenues in the second quarter were $6.1 million, up from $2.1 million in the prior year period. Combined Medicare MSP and audit recovery revenues were $3.5 million in the second quarter, an increase of $3.4 million from the prior year period. Commercial healthcare clients contributed revenues of $2.6 million, an increase of $0.6 million or 30.0% from the prior year period.
  • Other revenues in the second quarter were $7.7 million, up from $6.4 million in the prior year period.

The Company also announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Premiere Credit, a leading provider of recovery services to government, student loan and commercial clients with approximately 330 employees located primarily in Indianapolis and Nashville.  Premiere is an affiliate of ECMC Group, a Guaranty Agency with one of the largest student loan portfolios and a longstanding client of Performant.

Performant announced that it will issue one million shares of its common stock at the closing and will be obligated to issue additional shares of common stock based on revenues associated with the Premiere business over the next five years (estimated to total approximately one million additional shares based on full achievement of revenue targets). 

At closing, Performant and ECMC will enter into a long-term agreement to be ECMC’s primary student loan recovery vendor. Performant will also enter into amendments to its existing credit agreement with ECMC, including an extension of the maturity date by one year to August 2021 and a $10 million increase in Performant’s additional borrowing capacity under this facility.

insideARM Perspective

insideARM spoke with Performant CEO Lisa Im for additional perspective on the Premiere deal, and where she sees opportunity for the company. In the wake of the cancellation by the Department of Education (ED) of the company’s unrestricted private student loan contract (ED cancelled the entire solicitation, not just Performant’s contract), Im reports that this deal gives her firm a longer runway to grow the business in a broader way.

She expects to pursue significant growth on the healthcare side of the business. They already do significant business as a contractor for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and in claims auditing. Premiere brings a platform in healthcare collections (which they’ve been building in the wake of the ED contract debacle), which Im expects to use as a base for expansion.

Premiere also has a platform in financial services. Im said that this vertical had been in their technology development plan, but now that they’ve acquired one, this will help them advance more quickly beyond their predominantly healthcare and government client base.

Premiere had been on the 2009 unrestricted ED contract, and received an award in December 2016 when the Department finally announced winners for a new five year contract. That started a wave of litigation by the non-winners, which ultimately led to a re-bid, and a new award in January 2018 to just two companies, Performant and Windham Professionals. This led to a new round of litigation, with seemingly no end in sight. Those two awards were recently cancelled by ED, along with the entire Solicitation.

While Premiere had been primarily a federal student loan collector, it seems they’ve pivoted and developed new capabilities since their 2016 ED contract never materialized. Im noted that they do also have a few valuable state and municipal contracts, which she expects to build upon.

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