Buyout rumors have sent Informatica (UNKNOWN:INFA.DL) stock higher in recent days. But while it remains uncertain whether the data software company is an acquisition target, its business results are the key to determining its value over the long term.
Perhaps because of the heightened takeover speculation, Informatica moved up its fourth-quarter earnings announcement to last night. The results were posted on the same day that The Wall Street Journal reported on preliminary discussions about taking the company private. So it's no wonder investors likely focused on the acquisition rumors yesterday.
Still, Informatica posted a solid end to 2014. Subscription revenue rose by 53% in the quarter, which powered a 10% sales improvement to $304 million. By comparison, Wall Street was looking for just $293 million in quarterly sales. But for currency fluctuations, that revenue growth figure would have been an even stronger 12%. Informatica also beat Wall Street's estimate on profit: Earnings per share rose by 14% to $0.56, ahead of analysts' $0.51 a share target.
The company made progress on a few important fronts in a fourth quarter that pushed Informatica over the line into its first $1 billion sales year. It inked more than 40 deals of over $1 million in revenue each, setting a new quarterly record, along with 145 deals worth over $300,000. The rise in big contracts is good news for investors as it suggests hefty sales gains down the line. The company also generated record quarterly operating cash flow, which shows how the shift toward subscription sales can boost its financial results. Subscription revenue made up just 4% of the product mix in 2010 but last year comprised 15% of sales.
In a press release, CEO Sohaib Abbasi said the company is "making good progress in delivering innovative products and in scaling go-to-market resources to pursue four distinct billion dollar market opportunities." Those markets are: master data management, data security, cloud integration, and data integration for next-generation analytics. "Our record quarterly software and total revenues reflect improved execution and growing customer adoption of our products," Abbasi said.
In a conference call with investors last night, an analyst asked Abbasi about "the elephant in the room" -- Informatica's future as a public company. Abbasi said management wanted to reassure shareholders that it was "completely focused on creating long-term stockholder value" through its vision for growing the business over the next few years. Likewise, investors should stay focused on the business, which is showing steady improvement, and not be distracted by acquisition rumors.