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LivePerson Keeps Growing Despite Mixed Guidance

Rick Munarriz, The Motley Fool

Shares of LivePerson (NASDAQ: LPSN) hit all-time highs on Thursday after posting fresh financial results following Wednesday's market close. The record day didn't start out that way. The provider of high-tech customer support initially opened lower following its second-quarter report, as bears fretting about LivePerson's reduced bottom-line guidance for the whole year seemed to have the upper hand over the bulls cheering on a boost to its top-line outlook. The pessimism didn't last long.

Total revenue is clocking in at $61.7 million for the second quarter, matching the 14% top-line growth that it scored in the first quarter. Once again you have to go back to 2015 to find the last time that revenue was growing at a double-digit percentage clip. This is the fourth straight quarter of growth at LivePerson, a streak that follows a rough six-quarter stretch of top-line declines. LivePerson's guidance three months ago was calling for just $59 million to $60 million in revenue for the period.

LivePerson's brand-to-consumer messaging platform on various devices

Image source: LivePerson.

Keeping the streaks alive

LivePerson has been a blazing investment. The stock has roughly doubled over the past year, standing out as a scintillating six-bagger since bottoming out in early 2016. Wednesday night's performance stretches its streak of sequential revenue growth to five quarters. While this is small potatoes compared to the streak of 51 consecutive periods of quarter-over-quarter revenue growth that was snapped in 2015, it's obviously another step in the right direction.

Red ink continues on a reported basis. LivePerson's net loss widened to $8.3 million or $0.14 per share. This hasn't been a deal-breaker for investors in the past: The company has rattled off 11 consecutive quarterly deficits, and we know the stock's popped sixfold since hitting rock bottom two years ago. Adjusted net income clocked in with a profit of $0.3 million or $0.01 per share, matching last year's showing.

LivePerson continues to sign new deals, and its client base is leaning on the platform more with every passing quarter. The average trailing-12-month revenue per enterprise and mid-market customer has grown from $205,000 to $255,000 over the past year. LivePerson inked the largest deal in its history during the quarter, a three-year deal worth more than $30 million with an existing customer.

The near-term outlook suggests that its current growth streaks will continue. LivePerson is modeling $62 million to $63 million in revenue, 10% to 12% ahead of where it landed a year earlier. Its bottom-line guidance calls for an adjusted profit of $0.02 to $0.03 per share.

LivePerson's look at all of 2018 is a mixed bag. It's now targeting $245.5 million to $247.5 million in revenue for the year, up from the range of $239 million to $243 million it was forecasting in May. LivePerson is also widening its projected net loss for 2018 and lowering its goal for adjusted earnings per share. LivePerson is now eyeing an adjusted per-share profit of $0.10 to $0.14, down slightly from the range of $0.11 to $0.15 it was announcing three months earlier. To be fair, six months ago LivePerson thought it would be earning as little as $0.07 a share on the same basis.

The company is no longer a turnaround story; that's in the past. LivePerson is a growth stock again.

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Rick Munarriz has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends LivePerson. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.