What happened

Shares of TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO) rose as much as 17.3% higher Wednesday morning following the entertainment-technology specialist's fourth-quarter earnings report. As of noon Eastern time, the gains had moderated to 16%.

So what

TiVo's GAAP earnings rose to $0.15 per share, up from $0.08 per share in the year-ago quarter. Meanwhile, revenues fell 13%, to land at $238 million. Analysts were expecting earnings closer to $0.39 per share on sales in the neighborhood of $214 million, so it was a mixed performance. The bottom-line number included a $26.6 million one-time tax benefit related to December's taxation reform. Without that unusual item, TiVo would have reported a net loss of $0.07 per share.

The report wasn't particularly impressive, but management also took this opportunity to announce that TiVo is "exploring all alternatives to maximize value for shareholders," which often is a first step toward finding a buyer for the entire company.

Man in white shirt and blue slacks watching a wall mural of several puzzle pieces, only some of which are fitting together.

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

According to a Seeking Alpha transcript of TiVo's earnings call, an outright sale is definitely on the table. According to TiVo CEO Enrique Rodriguez: 

Our stock price is at a level that we do not believe reflects the true value of our business. The Company and its Board feel strongly that we have a duty to our shareholders to maximize the value of the company and, as such, we have decided to explore a broad range of strategic alternatives. These options range from transformative acquisitions that would accelerate our growth, to combining our business with other leading players, to becoming a private company.

The company has enlisted a boutique advisor firm to help it evaluate all of these alternatives, and maybe it's for the best. The revenue jump that was unlocked by the combination of Rovi and TiVo has not translated into stronger cash flows or profits. I'm quite content to watch TiVo's search for a new direction from the sidelines.

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.