Companies continue to lean on LivePerson (NASDAQ:LPSN) to engage with visitors navigating through their websites, leading to an impressive streak that now stretches to 50 quarters of growth.
LivePerson posted mixed financial results for the fourth quarter after Wednesday's market close. Revenue soared 24% to $58.2 million. A chunk of that growth was the handiwork of the Contact! At Once acquisition that took place in early November, but even without the new subsidiary we saw LivePerson check in with 20% year-over-year growth in its key enterprise/mid-market revenue. In short, even on an organic basis, LivePerson managed to come through with 50 consecutive quarters of growth.
LivePerson announced four weeks ago that revenue would clock in at the high end of its earlier range of $57 million to $58 million, so this is only a mild upside surprise. Analysts had been parked at the $57.5 million mark.
Things aren't as rosy as we work our way down the income statement, where LivePerson's adjusted profit fell by two-thirds to $0.02 a share. That was at the low end of its range and half of the $0.04 a share the pros were targeting.
LivePerson is an "intelligent engagement" specialist, arming companies with a cloud-based platform that they can use to connect with customers through chat, voice, and content delivery. Surf around the Internet long enough, and you'll find online customer support backed by LivePerson, but it's not just a matter of providing a reliable platform that's a click away any site. LivePerson's offering can be proactive, connecting with customers in real time just when their frustration levels are starting to rise or when a virtual shopping cart is about to get abandoned.
It's a pretty fancy platform that relies on past behavior to know just when to butt in, and that's why LivePerson's client list is loaded with many tech giants that are customers instead of rolling out their own support solutions.
It isn't really a surprise to see LivePerson keep its hitting streak alive. Back in December, it announced that it hosted more than 2.8 million digital engagements on Cyber Monday, 20% ahead of the prior year's record.
LivePerson's envious 50-quarter streak should continue in the near term. It sees $60 million to $61 million in revenue for the current quarter and $263 million to $269 million for all of 2015. LivePerson's outlook is a bit light for the first quarter, where the pros were banking on $61.8 million, but the midpoint of its full-year forecast is just ahead of the $265.4 million that currently stands as Wall Street's average.
In terms of profitability, LivePerson is expecting an adjusted profit of $0.03 to $0.06 a share for the current quarter and $0.27 to $0.32 a share for the entire year. Analysts are perched on the high end of both ranges.
LivePerson's history is loaded with challenges on the bottom line, but it seemed to be on to something after back-to-back quarters of better than expected earnings before Wednesday afternoon's miss. However, with top-line growth serving as the ultimate validation of success when it comes to attracting and retaining accounts it's hard to be too disappointed with LivePerson's performance. Margins need to improve, sure, but the business itself is holding up just fine.