September 23, 2008
It's no wonder that FactSet Research Systems (NYSE: FDS ) is doing brisk business nowadays. There's no better time to own a market information database than when the entire financial market is in upheaval.
In the just-reported fourth quarter, FactSet showed 18.7% year-over-year revenue growth to $153.7 million and a 12% earnings leap to $0.67 per diluted share.
The company also invested heavily in its own infrastructure during the quarter by buying a copy of the Thomson Fundamentals database from Thomson Reuters (NYSE: TRI ) , securing permanent access to global financial data stretching back to 1980. FactSet already leased access to this database, so there are no integration issues for this $58.7 million investment. FactSet's management sees an opportunity to resell data from its new asset for more than $100 a year, and recorded $1.05 million in Fundamentals revenue in its first half-a-quarter.
Thomson remains a competitor with full access to its databases. Other rivals include Interactive Data (NYSE: IDC ) , Morningstar (Nasdaq: MORN ) , and Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's, itself a subsidiary of McGraw-Hill (NYSE: MHP ) . Consumer-oriented financial sites like Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) Finance and The Motley Fool buy access to financial databases from these companies. Thanks, guys.
Every company I've mentioned so far has outperformed the S&P 500 in the last six months, lending strength to my personal theory that investors need more data when the market is in trouble. FactSet outperformed the rest of the gang in that period, and can boast a market-crushing 22% compound annual return over the last decade. Armed with Thomson's fresh data, there's lots of growth left to grab here.