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EZCORP, Inc. (NASDAQ: EZPW), the second largest pawn shop operator in the U.S. and a leading provider of consumer loans in Mexico, said that after completing a strategic review,  investment bank UBS (NYSE: UBS) has been empowered to sell its Mexican Grupo Finmart. In 2012, EZCORP acquired a 60% controlling interest in Prestaciones Finmart SAPI de CV (Grupo Finmart), a specialty consumer finance company headquartered in Mexico City and operating under the name Crediamigo. On September 1, 2015, EZCORP officially announced it had increased its ownership stake in Grupo Finmart to 94%. The purchase price for the additional 18% interest was $29 million in cash, thus giving Finmart a total market value of $161 million as of September 2015. In September 2015, EZCORP also acquired 13 USA Pawn & Jewelry Co. stores for $12.5 million. “We have completed the strategic review of Grupo Finmart announced in February 2016,” said EZCORP’s CEO Stuart Grimshaw. “We have concluded that a sale of this business is the preferred alternative and have commenced a process to solicit proposals from interested buyers.” The company’s core pawn businesses remain focused on growth. In the U.S., the company completed the acquisition of six stores in the Houston area doing business under the Pawn One brand. These stores have now been fully integrated as part of the EZPAWN brand. In Mexico, the business is focusing on new store openings, with four set to be opened in coming months. EZCORP also announced a month ago that Jodie Maccarrone, Chief Strategy Officer and Vice Chair, Grupo Finmart, would be leaving the company effective May 1, 2016. In July 2015, the company said that an increasingly challenging legislative and regulatory environment and a lack of scale limited the competitiveness and prospects of the company’s unsecured and auto title lending operations in the U.S. As a result, the company closed its U.S. Financial Services business, including all payday, auto title and installment lending. As of September 30, 2015, EZCORP operated approximately 834 locations comprising 522 United States pawn stores under the EZPAWN or Value Pawn & Jewelry names; 232 Mexico pawn stores under the Empeño Fácil name; 53 Grupo Finmart locations in Mexico; and 27 CASHMAX financial services stores in Canada. The company was founded in 1989 and is headquartered in Austin, Texas.]]>