There's more life at LivePerson (NASDAQ:LPSN), judging by the reasonable growth it posted in its latest quarterly report after Wednesday's market close. The provider of cloud-based customer support solutions saw revenue climb 17% to $52.8 million in its third quarter, fueled by a 23% surge in its flagship business operations excluding the small business segment.
LivePerson posted a widening deficit for the period, but back out amortization of purchased intangibles and stock-based compensation, and it matched the prior year's third-quarter showing of $3.8 million, or $0.07 a share. The results landed just ahead of Wall Street expectations of an adjusted profit of $0.06 a share on $52.6 million in revenue.
LivePerson offers an online platform that allows companies to proactively provide customer service through real-time chat or voice. Thousands of largely well-known clients have turned to LivePerson instead of going for a cheaper solution because of LivePerson's "intelligent engagement" that knows just when to offer online assistance based on real-time behavioral analytics. It signed 156 new deals during the quarter, bringing in 41 new customers along the way.
The conference call to discuss the quarter was originally slated to start an hour after Wednesday's market close, but that deadline came and went without a report and without an earnings call. LivePerson had a good reason to be tardy, announcing an acquisition shortly after Wednesday's market close. It's snapping up Contact At Once!, the leading chat provider in the automotive industry with a thick list of customers that includes more than 13,000 dealerships as well as several car manufacturers and auto search sites. The deal is valued at $65 million in cash and stock, and it will be accretive to revenue growth and adjusted earnings by next year.
The earnings release eventually hit the wires a few minutes after the originally slated starting time for the conference call. The call itself began half an hour late.
Wall Street was already warming up to LivePerson ahead of Wednesday's quarterly report and Contact At Once! acquisition. Credit Suisse upgraded the stock last month -- boosting its price target from $13 to $17 -- encouraged by the potential of accelerating revenue growth with the new LiveEngage 2.0 platform that was receiving positive feedback at the time.
LivePerson's outlook for the current quarter is mixed. It sees revenue of $57 million to $58 million. Analysts were targeting only $54.5 million, but that doesn't include the $3 million in revenue that Contact At Once! is expected to contribute during this partial period. Tack that on, and Wall Street is perched at the midpoint of LivePerson's guidance. Things aren't as rosy on the bottom line, with LivePerson targeting adjusted earnings of $0.02 to $0.04 a share. Analysts were holding out for a profit of $0.07 a share.
The market's not happy with the uninspiring guidance. The shares initially moved lower on the soft profit outlook. LivePerson is still in a good place. It's on an impressive streak of 49 consecutive quarters of growth, and that will easily stretch to 50 periods of revenue upticks during the buyout-padded holiday quarter. With Contact At Once! also on a healthy streak of 33 straight quarters of top-line growth, it's not as if the new acquisition will trip up the momentum. LivePerson has had its struggles with profitability, but there's no denying that the popularity of its platform is still on the rise.