Non-voting shares, lack of a dividend, no share buy back plan during good times and the topper is the obscene management fee being charged. People could stomach all that when the share price was going up, but not any more apparently.
Personally, I don't think it is a huge issue that the public shares are non-voting. Non-voting shares will definitely keep some funds away from investing in EZPW. However there are a lot of small cap funds that are willing to invest in such stocks. Also, its worth noting the non-voting stock *does* get to vote on whether the company can issue additional non-voting shares.
I agree with the frustration regarding no share buyback--especially considering the company's positive cash flows. Regarding the dividend, I would prefer to see the company invest the excess cash in expansion (even if some investments like in the UK don't work out very well) rather than pay it out in a dividend. I still see EZPW as a growth company with a lot of room for expansion. Look at LULU. Lots of room to grow the retail chain in the United States (already at max expansion in Canada) and invests its cash flows in building new retail stores. (Very common strategy decision--dividend vs expansion--many companies face each year.)
Regarding the management fee--$7.2 million in 2013. Considering revenue was $1 billion and net revenue was $640 million, the management fee seems reasonable when compared to consulting fees other public companies pay to Accenture, Bain, BCG, etc. It's 1% of net revenue and smaller when compared to gross revenue. I agree $7 million is a lot of cash but so is $1 billion in revenue. Because of the related party nature of the fee, it is likely the audit committee wants the fee to be within a range of one or more financial metrics (e.g. 1% of net revenue) to better ensure objectivity in setting the fee and keeping the SEC off of its back. I have seen this before as I have audited many public companies in my career. (EZPW has never been one of my clients though.) Good news is it is in Madison Park's best interest to help EZPW grow revenue and profit so Madison Park can expand its future consulting fees and I am all for that.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
The thing about paying consulting fees to Madison Park is that the advice gotten in return has been sub-par in recent years. Bridge loans in the Crediamigo acquisition took like 6 months to refinance. The merger with Cash Converters was a hybrid creature that fortunately didn't survive currency fluctuations. I'm still leery about Go Cash terms, but there are ways that could work out ok (and ways it couldn't)
The attraction of a dividend to owners who feel marginalized is that once a company starts paying a dividend, the market punishes discontinuation of the dividend. That doesn't usually apply to stock buy-backs.