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Is LivePerson, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:LPSN) Balance Sheet Strong Enough To Weather A Storm?

Ben Rossbaum

LivePerson, Inc. (NASDAQ:LPSN), which has zero-debt on its balance sheet, can maximize capital returns by increasing debt due to its lower cost of capital. However, the trade-off is LPSN will have to follow strict debt obligations which will reduce its financial flexibility. Zero-debt can alleviate some risk associated with the company meeting debt obligations, but this doesn’t automatically mean LPSN has outstanding financial strength. I recommend you look at the following hurdles to assess LPSN’s financial health.

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Does LPSN’s growth rate justify its decision for financial flexibility over lower cost of capital?

Debt funding can be cheaper than issuing new equity due to lower interest cost on debt. Though, the trade-offs are that lenders require stricter capital management requirements, in addition to having a higher claim on company assets relative to shareholders. LPSN’s absence of debt on its balance sheet may be due to lack of access to cheaper capital, or it may simply believe low cost is not worth sacrificing financial flexibility. However, choosing flexibility over capital returns is logical only if it’s a high-growth company. A revenue growth in the teens is not considered high-growth. LPSN’s revenue growth of 11% falls into this range. More capital can help the business grow faster. If LPSN is not expecting exceptional future growth, then the decision to avoid may cost shareholders in the long term.

NasdaqGS:LPSN Historical Debt January 22nd 19

Can LPSN meet its short-term obligations with the cash in hand?

Since LivePerson doesn’t have any debt on its balance sheet, it doesn’t have any solvency issues, which is a term used to describe the company’s ability to meet its long-term obligations. However, another measure of financial health is its short-term obligations, which is known as liquidity. These include payments to suppliers, employees and other stakeholders. At the current liabilities level of US$104m, it seems that the business has been able to meet these obligations given the level of current assets of US$137m, with a current ratio of 1.32x. For Software companies, this ratio is within a sensible range since there is a bit of a cash buffer without leaving too much capital in a low-return environment.

Next Steps:

LPSN is a fast-growing firm, which supports having have zero-debt and financial freedom to continue to ramp up growth. This may mean this is an optimal capital structure for the business, given that it is also meeting its short-term commitment. In the future, its financial position may change. I admit this is a fairly basic analysis for LPSN’s financial health. Other important fundamentals need to be considered alongside. I recommend you continue to research LivePerson to get a more holistic view of the stock by looking at:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for LPSN’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for LPSN’s outlook.
  2. Historical Performance: What has LPSN’s returns been like over the past? Go into more detail in the past track record analysis and take a look at the free visual representations of our analysis for more clarity.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

To help readers see past the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned. For errors that warrant correction please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com.