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LivePerson Stock Is Still Turning the Corner

By Rick Munarriz - May 11, 2017 at 9:15AM

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The cloud-based chat support specialist posts another year-over-year decline in quarterly revenue.

LivePerson ( LPSN -2.84% ) is not the growth darling that it used to be, and growing its business remains a challenge. The provider of high-tech customer support posted quarterly results after Wednesday's market close, but it also would go on to boost the low end of its full-year guidance range.

Revenue clocked in at $50.9 million for the fourth quarter, at the higher end of its earlier range calling for $50 million to $51 million in revenue for the period. The showing fell 8% short of the $55.5 million it rang up a year earlier. 

The news doesn't get any better on the bottom line. LivePerson came through with an adjusted profit of $0.01 a share for the first quarter. Its guidance back in February was calling for an adjusted profit between breakeven and $0.02 a share. It's checking in at the midpoint of that range, but it's ultimately short of the $0.03 a share that it earned on an adjusted basis a year earlier.

LivePerson's interface screen.

Image source: LivePerson.

Showing signs of LivePerson

LivePerson continues to broker new deals. It landed 25 new customers during the quarter, and its trailing 12-month average revenue per enterprise and mid-market customer continues to hold above $200,000. The implication -- with revenue declining -- is that it's losing more accounts than it's taking in, but LivePerson doesn't spell that out. 

LivePerson is now two-years removed from a streak of 51 consecutive quarters of sequential revenue growth. It's far removed from those days, posting a sequential decline this time around. It sees slight sequential improvement for the current quarter. Its guidance calls for $51 million to $52 million in revenue for the second quarter. The real trick will be if it can repeat the feat three months later, since LivePerson hasn't been able to string together back-to-back quarters of sequential revenue growth in the two years since its 51-quarter streak came to a close. LivePerson is aiming for bottom-line results between $0.01 to $0.02 a share.

Migrations are never easy, and LivePerson is in the process of moving most of its customers to its LiveEngage "intelligent engagement" platform. Some customers won't be candidates for the move, and that explains why top-line growth has been weak. 

LivePerson did push the low end of its revenue guidance for all of 2017 higher on Wednesday. It now sees $204 million to $209 million on the top line, up from its earlier range of $201 million to $209 million for the full year. It is keeping its adjusted profit guidance -- eyeing a profit of $0.07 a share to $0.12 a share -- intact. Sequential growth in the second quarter will be welcome, but the real test awaits later this year.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

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