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Why Teradata Corp. Jumped 13% Today

By Anders Bylund - May 6, 2016 at 1:31PM

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Q1 results didn't disappoint, and the CEO title was passed to a well-known turnaround expert. Is there a buyout in the big data expert's future?

Image source: Teradata.

What: Teradata (TDC 5.13%) shares soared as much as 13% higher on Friday morning, boosted by a solid first-quarter report and a quick CEO change.

So what: After 14 years as Teradata CEO, Mike Koehler stepped down from the corner office. In his place, Victor Lund walks up from a nine-year stint on the big data analytics specialist's board of directors, where he currently serves as chairman of the audit committee.

The change is effective immediately.

Getting back to the financial report, Teradata's first-quarter revenue fell 6% year over year to $545 million. On the bottom line, the company swung from a $0.15 GAAP net profit per diluted share to a $0.36 loss per share.

Adjusted for stock-based compensation policies, special items, and the recently agreed sale of Teradata's marketing applications business, non-GAAP earnings rose 57% to $0.47 per share. The deal is expected to close near the end of the second quarter. In the meantime, the division is classified as assets and liabilities held for sale.

Looking ahead, Teradata held its full-year revenue guidance fairly stable, raising the bottom end of the existing range by $25 million. Currency exchange rates are no longer expected to change the company's revenue collection to any significant degree. Adjusted earnings targets were not touched, and that guidance range remains centered on $2.43 per share.

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

Now what: The marketing applications business was a drag on Teradata's earnings, and currency effects reduced first-quarter sales by about 2%. Getting these twin albatrosses off of the company's shoulders should result in a leaner and more efficient operation.

Of course, Teradata is sacrificing revenues for the sake of lower costs and stronger margins. Investors often see change as scary, and this process is no different. Teradata shares have fallen 38% over the last 52 weeks, including the softening effect of today's 13% rise. And today's share prices, just below $30, sit a long way away from the $80 highs Teradata recorded in the fall of 2012.

Vic Lund is an experienced turnaround expert, a hired gun that steps in and rights sinking ships as needed. Many of his rescue efforts end up in acquisition exits to larger rivals or private equity. That history is a part of today's large share price jump, as investors envision a quick and lucrative buyout.

Lund's official statements so far have not pointed in that direction. Instead, he talked about a "passion" for Teradata's transformation, and how he plans to run "a rigorous implementation of the needed changes."

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