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H&R Block Tanks on Realignment; Analyst Calls Selloff 'Overdone'

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- H&R Block (HRB - Get Report) shares were tumbling by double-digits Thursday after the tax firm announced plans to shutter 200 offices and lay off 350 staffers as part of a new "strategic realignment," but one Oppenheimer analyst said the fallout may soon create a "buying opportunity" for investors.

In mid-morning trading, shares of the Kansas City, Mo.-based company were down 11.89% to $14.75.

The company announced after market close Wednesday that is plans to reorganize its operations in order to "align its resources to balance long-term client and revenue growth." The plan will slash $85 million to $100 million in costs by the end of fiscal 2013, the company added.

As part of the cost-cutting plan, H&R Block said it would cut several hundred staffers and shut scores of its "field offices" that are scattered across the U.S.

"Following the completion of my first tax season and a strategic review of our organization, we believe this realignment is an important next step in becoming a nimbler, more profitable and more client-centric company," said Bill Cobb, president and CEO in a statement. The company also announced the departure of its Chief Financial Officer Jeff Brown.

As part of the reorganization, H&R Block said that it plans to take a pretax charge of about $30 million -- or 6 cents a share -- that will be reflected in the fiscal fourth quarter. The company makes its fiscal 2011 and fourth-quarter earnings announcement on June 26. The company added that it expects fiscal 2012 total revenue of approximately $2.9 billion and earnings from continuing operations of $1.09 to $1.15 a share.

Oppenheimer analyst Scott Schneeberger said in a research note Thursday that while the reorganization and CFO change "unsettled investors into a post-market sell-off," more steely-eyed shareholders could see an upside.

"Some softness is appropriate, but an 'overdone' buying opportunity may materialize as share gains in storefront/digital, a restructuring yielding $85-$100M of pretax savings, & substantial cash for aggressive FY13 share repurchases keep HRB's FY13-FY14 EPS acceleration story intact," the note said.

Schneeberger continues to have an outperform on H&R Block shares with a price target of $19.

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