Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (CMG) Sued for Misleading Investors About Food Safety Controls


As if things could not get any worse for the Mexican restaurant chain, today it was revealed that Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) now is facing a United States civil lawsuit over their statements to investors pertaining to their food safety controls.

According to the lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York today, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) never disclosed to investors that their “quality controls were inadequate to safeguard consumer and employee health.”

While this likely will lead to further losses for the stock, there is already a tremendous amount of bad news built into the current share price. The stock is down over 40% in the last three months alone after numerous reports of E.coli found at the company’s restaurants throughout the United States. The stock has fallen 0.17% or $0.7 following this negative news, hitting $415.3 per share. Approximately 961,893 shares traded hands. CMG shares have declined 31.98% since June 4, 2015 and are currently downtrending. It has underperformed the S&P500 by 27.29%.

From a total of 26 analysts covering Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE:CMG) stock, 10 rate it a “Buy”, 1 a “Sell”, and 15 a “Hold”. This means that 38% of the ratings are positive. The highest target price is $850 while the lowest target price is $435. The mean of all analyst targets is $629.55 which is 51.59% above today’s ($415.3) stock price. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. was the topic of 51 analyst reports since July 22, 2015 according to the firm StockzIntelligence Inc. Oppenheimer downgraded shares on January 4 to a “Perform” rating. Credit Agricole initiated shares with a”Buy” rating and a $645 target share price in their report from a December 9. Telsey Advisory Group maintained CMG stock in a recent report from December 24 with a “Outperform” rating. Wedbush maintained the rating on December 7. Wedbush has a “Neutral” rating and a $500 price target on shares. Finally, Argus Research downgraded the stock to a “Hold” rating in a report they issued on a December 11.

The institutional sentiment increased to 1 in Q2 2015. It’s up 0.04, from 0.96 in 2015Q2. The ratio improved, as 62 funds sold all their Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. shares they owned while 178 reduced their positions. 59 funds bought stakes while 181 increased their total positions. Institutions now own 40.13 million shares which is 40.64% more than the previous share count of 28.53 million in 2015Q2.

Csat Investment Advisory L.P. holds 5.74% of its total portfolio in Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., equating to 9,078 shares. Windward Capital Management Co Ca owns 26,023 shares representing 5.11% of their total US portfolio. Moreover, Cim Llc has 4.82% of their total portfolio invested in the company, equating to 13,258 shares. The New Jersey-based Hhr Asset Management Llc has a total of 4.66% of their portfolio invested in the stock. Maryland Capital Management, a Maryland-based fund reported 34,524 shares owned.

Since March 17, 2015, the stock had 0 insider buys, and 11 insider sales for a total of $41.52 million in net activity. Charlesworth John S sold 2,000 shares worth $1.50M. Crumpacker Mark sold 998 shares worth $729,817. Hartung Jack sold 2,485 shares worth $1.84 million. Friedman Darlene J sold 1,379 shares worth $1.01M. The insider Ells Steve sold 10,090 shares worth $6.98 million.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. develops and operates Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants, which serve a focused menu of burritos, tacos, burrito bowls (a burrito without the tortilla) and salads. The company has a market cap of $12.95 billion. The Firm operates 1,755 restaurants in the United States, seven in Canada, six in England, three in France, and one in Germany. It has 24.77 P/E ratio. The Company’s restaurants also include nine ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen restaurants.