First Cash to buy Cash America for $994 million in pawn store merger
First Cash Financial Services has agreed to buy Fort Worth-based Cash America International for about $994 million in stock in a deal to bring together two of the largest retail pawn shop operators in the U.S.
First Cash, based in Arlington, will pay 0.84 of its shares for each Cash America share, the pair said in a statement Thursday. The transaction, which the companies called a merger of equals, values Cash America at $40.90 a share.
The combined company, to be called FirstCash and headquartered in Fort Worth, would have more than 2,000 locations in four countries, making it a powerhouse in the non-bank lending market, a catch-all term for pawn brokers, check-cashing companies, payday lenders and others that provide small-dollar loans to people that live paycheck to paycheck. It’s a highly fragmented market, catering to the estimated 50 million people in the U.S. that don’t do business with traditional banks.
It would also shore up First Cash’s position in the U.S., giving it more scale to better compete against rival pawn shop operator Ezcorp and other non-bank lenders such as World Acceptance and OneMain Holdings.