Another quarter, another solid beat for French performance-marketing specialist Criteo SA (NASDAQ:CRTO). Despite the market's muted reaction to Criteo's fourth-quarter report on Wednesday, shares of Criteo still managed to close the week nearly 10% higher than they started -- and with good reason.
Breaking it down
Quarterly revenue, excluding traffic acquisition costs (ex-TAC), climbed 76% year over year -- or 73% at constant currency -- to 96.3 million euros, while adjusted net income more than tripled over the same period, to 23.4 million euros, or 0.36 euros per share. Meanwhile, adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization rose 120%, to 32 million euros.
For perspective, the guidance provided by Criteo, along with last quarter's stellar report, called for Q4 revenue ex-TAC between just 89 million euros and 91 million euros, and adjusted EBITDA between 27 million euros and 29 million euros. Consequently, analysts were only expecting earnings of 0.25 euros per share on sales of 90.4 million euros.
Criteo's revenue was driven by a combination of increased revenue per client, and solid growth in both Criteo's client base and publisher relationships. For the former, Criteo credited the continued rollout of its enhanced engine, which is now at 95% of its client base and optimizes the likelihood of a user to buy, as well as its multi-screen solution, which was used by 80% of Criteo clients in the month of December. On the latter, Criteo added more than 600 new clients during the fourth quarter alone, representing the company's highest-ever number of quarterly client additions. This brings its total to 7,190. That's a 41.8% increase in clients during the past year.
Fourth-quarter revenue ex-TAC in the Americas was also particularly strong at 33 million euros, representing 35% of Criteo's global total, and achieving accelerated year-over-year growth of 121%. For the full fiscal year 2014, Criteo's Americas revenue ex-TAC grew 88% over 2013 to 90 million euros, or 30% of its global total. Meanwhile, fourth-quarter revenue ex-TAC grew 58% year over year in both Criteo's EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions, with the areas comprising 48% and 17% of the company's total Q4 revenue ex-TAC, respectively.
On the acquisition and guidance
In addition, Criteo announced as of February 17, 2015 that it acquired DataPop, a Los Angeles-based company that -- according to its website -- "has strived to create revolutionary technology that allows digital marketers to get out of Excel, and get back to marketing." Or as Criteo puts it, DataPop's OmniAds platform specializes in delivering optimized ads that connect "the products in a retailer's catalog to actual user shopping intent."
Financial terms for the deal weren't disclosed, but investors were given a hint of its cost in Criteo's guidance.
For the current quarter, Criteo expects revenue ex-TAC to be between 96 million euros and 99 million euros, with adjusted EBITDA between 18 million euros and 21 million euros. The latter range includes a 2 million euros negative impact from the acquisition of DataPop. Analysts were modeling significantly lower first-quarter revenue of 88.76 million euros.
For the full fiscal year 2015, Criteo sees revenue ex-TAC between 433 million euros and 440 million euros. Adjusted EBITDA for 2015 should be between 108 million and 115 million euros, including a 10 million euros dilutive impact from DataPop. Wall Street, for its part, was looking for 2015 revenue of just 402.86 million euros.
In the end, I'm left impressed by what was another solid performance from Criteo. And I think it's worth noting that Criteo's co-founder and CEO JB Rudelle once again succinctly explained the reason his company is thriving: Rudelle insisted: "Performance for clients is everything. 2014 has demonstrated that our focus on driving incremental sales for our clients accelerates our own success."