Is the golden era of mobile growth over already, or is Motricity
The mobile-data services specialist certainly missed the boat in the just-reported third quarter, anyhow. The company was expected to report a $0.09 adjusted net loss per share on sales of about $32 million, but it fell short on both counts.
Revenue landed at just $30.4 million, 20% below the year-ago period and also short of management guidance Quarterly revenue was slightly below prior guidance, in large part because of lower-than-expected international revenues.
A $123 million goodwill writedown charge totally eviscerated the GAAP bottom line, but even the adjusted figure that excludes such one-time charges crashed to $0.31 of red ink per share.
Management calls this "a necessary period of transformation," insisting that the third quarter was "productive" in its own way. But I'm not buying it.
Motricity's sales growth hit a brick wall in 2009 and never recovered. The company was never profitable and has an ugly tendency to burn cash rather than creating it. Today's cash balance is just 25% of what it was a year ago, and this paltry $17.7 million wallet rests on a brand new $20 million short-term loan. "We strengthened the balance sheet," says CEO Jim Smith. More like jury-rigged it with duct tape and chewing gum, if you ask me.
Smith is an interim leader and not the permanent solution, in case you needed more red flags. The company is "exploring options," or looking for a buyer. Carl Icahn holds a 14% stake and is chasing down the changes.
Motricity is a holdover from the age of feature phones, trying to carve out a niche and stay relevant in the smartphone era. The company wants to "deliver value to smartphones and feature phones alike," but it's late to the smartphone party. Verizon
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Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinion, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Check out Anders' holdings and bio, or follow him on Twitter and Google+. We have a disclosure policy.