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CEB Drives Gartner Inc. Revenue Sharply Higher

By Joe Tenebruso - Feb 6, 2018 at 9:01PM

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The research and advisory company's recent acquisition is bearing fruit.

Gartner (IT 0.70%) reported fourth-quarter results on Feb. 6. The research firm said that the integration of CEB -- the best-practices insight and technology company it acquired in early 2017 -- is progressing well. Additionally, Gartner announced that it reached a deal to sell off a subsidiary for a hefty sum.

Gartner results: The raw numbers


Q4 2017

Q4 2016

Year-Over-Year Change


$1.015 billion

$703 million


Net income

$107 million

$66 million


Earnings per share




Data source: Gartner Q4 2017 earnings press release.

What happened with Gartner this quarter?

Revenue soared 44% year over year to $1 billion, and 15% when excluding the impact of CEB.

Research revenue surged 43% to $692.8 million, and 19% excluding CEB. Notably, Gartner's client retention was 84% in the fourth quarter, while wallet retention (retention times revenue per customer) was 106%, up from 104% in the year-ago period.

Meanwhile, consulting revenue rose 5% to $85.3 million, and events revenue jumped 22% to $166.5 million.

All told, adjusted EBITDA -- which excludes stock-based compensation, acquisition-related charges, and other non-recurring items -- leapt 52% to $220.9 million. Adjusted net income rose 33% to $108 million, and adjusted earnings per share increased 21% to $1.17.

Sale announcement

Gartner also said that it reached an agreement to sell CEB's talent assessment business to Exponent Private Equity for $400 million. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2018.

Two people shaking hands

Exponent Private Equity is acquiring Gartner's CEB Talent Assessment business for $400 million. Image source: Getty Images.

Commenting on the sale in a press release, CEO Gene Hall said:

While CEB Talent Assessment is a recognized leader in an expanding marketplace with significant growth opportunities, we determined that it was not aligned with our core focus of providing research and advisory services to address the mission-critical priorities of every functional leader in the enterprise. This transaction with Exponent is a positive step for CEB Talent Assessment clients and associates, as it represents an opportunity to bring a renewed focus on the business to better support innovation, product development, and long-term growth.

Looking forward

Gartner also issued a financial forecast for 2018, which includes the following:

  • Total revenue of $4.095 billion to $4.200 billion
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $750 million to $800 million
  • Adjusted EPS of $3.71 to $4.11
  • Operating cash flow of $460 million to $510 million
  • Free cash flow of $451 million to $491 million

"In 2017, we drove strong operating results, we closed and largely integrated CEB, and we took steps to support future growth," added Hall. "I continue to be excited about our business, our prospects for growth, and our strategy to drive value to our shareholders over the long term."

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