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Why Gartner, Inc. Rose 22% in 2017

By Jamal Carnette, CFA - Jan 12, 2018 at 4:31PM

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Strong top-line growth and a successful acquisition led to a strong year.

What happened

Last year, Gartner, Inc. (IT -0.78%) pleased investors, as the research and advisory company advanced 22%, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. The market reacted favorably to strong growth in Gartner's traditional business and progress on the recent CEB acquisition.

Happy businesspeople.

Image Source: Getty Images.

So What

Gartner acquired advisory services and best-practices firm CEB in April, which rendered meaningless the headline year-on-year revenue and earnings comparisons for the bulk of 2017. Traditional Gartner revenue, a figure that removes revenue attributable to CEB, advanced at a 14% pace for the fiscal year on the back of strong demand for the company's research services.

Post-acquisition generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) earnings per share (EPS) also were impacted by the CEB acquisition. In fiscal year 2017, management gave guidance that acquisition-related costs would be $4.20 lower per share. Adjusted EPS, which excludes acquisition-related losses, are forecast at $3.45 per share in 2017, a figure 50% higher than the company's 2016 GAAP EPS earnings of $2.31.

Now what

The addition of CEB broadens Gartner's traditional technology-focused research and advisory services in information technology, marketing, and supply-chain services with CEB's best-business-practices focus. The acquisition will allow the new, combined company to identify new opportunities, and cross-sell opportunities among existing clients.

Look for Gartner to continue to grow traditional revenue at a double-digit clip. Additionally, the CEB acquisition is adjusted-earnings accretive, and will boost adjusted EPS in 2018. Look for improvements in GAAP earnings in future years as the impacts of acquisition normalize, and cost synergies arise.

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