About a year ago, Greenfield Online
Now the stock fetches a paltry $5.38 (the high for the past year was $22.80), and a turnaround specialist has been brought on board.
Greenfield is in the business of conducting surveys: For example, it polls people on questions like "Would you buy books on the Internet?" The company leverages the Internet to canvas the public, which tends to have a higher response rate (after all, there are new regulations such as the Do-Not-Call List). As seen in companies like Google
Well, last week, Greenfield announced its significant restructuring plans. First, the company is cutting headcount, reducing consulting fees, travel, and lodging, as well as lowering real estate costs. All in all, it expects to realize $7 million in annual operating cost savings.
Yet the company wants to improve its top-line growth, and that means reinvesting in key parts of its business, such as panel recruiting, incentives, and management. There will also be more focus on sales.
In the third quarter, Greenfield's revenues surged from $12 million to $23.1 million. However, revenues declined from the second quarter's results of $26.3 million. The reported root of the company's top line weakness was softness in its North American market.
In fact, the new CEO, Albert Angrisani, admits that he has very limited visibility in revenues for the North American market. Actually, he indicated on the conference call that if projections prove to be negative, he will quickly cut more expenses.
The good news is that Angrisani is a specialist in corporate turnarounds. For example, he led the turnaround of Harris Interactive, an Internet-based market research firm. The problem, though, is that at the end of the day, Greenfield may not derive much cost advantage due to its Internet housing, since its principal offering is something traditional survey companies can do. Additionally, this might prove a tough business to scale on account of marginal cost outlays associated with each survey offering and the relative ease with which the company's offerings can be duplicated.
But turnarounds are never easy. Just look at Krispy Kreme
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Fool contributor Tom Taulli does not own shares mentioned in this article.