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Stamps.com Inc (STMP) Q1 2019 Earnings Call Transcript

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Stamps.com Inc (NASDAQ: STMP)
Q1 2019 Earnings Call
May. 8, 2019, 5:00 p.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Hello and welcome to the Stamps.com First Quarter 2019 Financial Results Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question-and-answer session, and instructions will follow at that time. (Operator Instructions)

Now I'd like to introduce your host for today's call, Suzanne Park, you may begin.

Suzanne Park -- Investor Relations

Thank you. On the call today, are CEO; Ken McBride; and CFO, Jeff Carberry. The agenda for today's call is as follows. We will review the results of our first quarter 2019, we'll provide an update on elements of our business model and partnerships. And finally we will discuss our financial results and talk about our business outlook. But first the Safe Harbor statement. Safe Harbor statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, this release includes forward-looking statements about our anticipated financial metrics and results, all of which could involve risks and uncertainties.

Important factors, including the Company's ability to successfully integrate and realize the benefits of its past or future strategic acquisitions or investments, including the Company's ability to complete and ship its products, maintain desirable economics for its products, the timing of when the company will utilize its deferred tax assets and obtain or maintain regulatory approval, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are detailed in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission made from time to time by Stamps.com, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K. Stamps.com undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

The financial results we discuss on the call today include non-GAAP financial measures. In the first quarter of 2019 GAAP net income was $15.8 million and GAAP net income per fully diluted share was $0.87. Our non-GAAP financial measures excludes the following first quarter items $8.9 million of non-cash stock-based compensation and $5.6 million of non-cash amortization expense of acquired intangibles and debt issuance costs. Our non-GAAP financial measures include $8.1 million of additional non-GAAP income tax expense in the first quarter.

Our mailing and shipping numbers include service revenue, product revenue and insurance revenue and do not include any revenue from customers postage. Please see our first quarter 2019 earnings release and 2019 metrics posted on our Investor website for reconciliation of our non-GAAP financial measures to the corresponding GAAP measures.

Now, let me hand the call over to Ken.

Ken McBride -- Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Suzanne, and thank you for joining us today. Today, we announced our first quarter results, which included GAAP revenue of $136.0 million, which is up 2% year-over-year and non-GAAP adjusted EBITDA of $39.2 million, which was down 37% year-over-year.

During the first quarter, we continued to make progress and our efforts to diversify from a domestic single carrier business model to a global multi-carrier business model. We continue to work proactively with the USPS to drive value for customers, as the USPS remains a very important carrier partner for us.

We also continue to make strides in our diversification for our carrier relationships and with international post including Royal Mail, French Post and Australia Post and non-traditional carriers and with our Global Advantage Program. Our financial results for the first quarter were in line with our expectations in light of our new strategic direction that we outlined in detail on last quarter's earnings call.

I'd like to spend a little bit of time reviewing some of the things we covered in our February conference call, and then also discuss some of the most recent changes in the shipping industry. The shipping industry continues to change rapidly and as we look five years out, we continue to see the landscape being very different than it is today.

E-commerce driven packages have become a larger and larger portion of the total package industry and the growth in trends in e-commerce are the most significant factor driving overall package growth worldwide. The incumbents in the U.S. shipping business have been getting more and more aggressive in their approach to e-commerce as the competition heats up among them and all the new entrants in the shipping industry.

For example, UPS publicly announced a new corporate transformation focus last fall, focused on B2B and B2C e-commerce and focus on enhancing services and value for small and medium-sized businesses. UPS has been actively partnering in the e-commerce space, for example, their partnership with Shopify that launched in late 2017.

And FedEx has also come out with some very good programs and products that are very attractive for our e-commerce customers. For example, FedEx One Rate heavily discounted new service that offers two day guaranteed flat rate shipping to anywhere in the country, at very attractive pricings. And our customers are reacting positively to that solution.

FedEx is also investing in several global initiatives and in fulfillment and logistics and they've continued to build out a local presence for package drop off and package pickup and they now have nearly 10,000 in U.S. locations at their FedEx offices inside Walgreens stores and Walmart stores and in other locations. A significant number of new entrants in the package market such as Uber, Postmates and Deliv have also taken aim at this business, particularly the same day business. And we expect that some of them could be successful in taking share in the shipping industry.

One segment of the USPS shipping industry that has in our opinion been a very meaningful factor in their success is what has been called the reseller industry. We'd like to provide an update as to how the industry has developed over the past several years and then update you on the most recent developments.

Resellers have what are called Negotiated Service Agreements or NSAs, which are customized negotiated contracts between the postal service and the individual customer or reseller, which provides discounted rates that vary based on each agreement. Each of the reseller NSA allow a reseller partner to buy postage for shipping a package at one rate from the USPS and then to resell that postage to customers at a higher rate.

Companies with reseller NSAs come in many forms. From companies that are primarily in the business of being resellers to market place like eBay and Etsy to third-party logistics providers like fulfillment houses. The reseller industry started in 2010, when the USPS began making these types of NSAs available to some companies that were previously reselling shipping for DHL. And since the beginning of its reseller partnerships nine years ago, USPS has seen significant success in the market and the resellers have played a large role in that success. Over the past 10 years, the USPS has seen a 21% compound growth rate for their total shipping volume through their PC postage and their reseller partnerships collectively.

One of the most successful areas of growth for the USPS has been in e-commerce, where the USPS has become the market leader in e-commerce package shipping for small and medium business. In our view, the reseller industry has been a big factor in that success. We are aware of approximately 125 e-commerce marketplaces, software tools, small business software solutions, order and management fulfillment solutions, multi-carrier software solutions and other shipping solutions that are in some way -- that in some way participate in a portion of the margins created via these USPS reseller NSAs.

When you look at the behavior of these various organizations, you see a disproportional focus on USPS shipping versus other carriers. For example on their homepages, in their products and their technology, in their marketing and in their sales. We're also aware of more than $100 million in venture capital that has gone into new start-ups in these various e-commerce solutions. In our opinion a big factor in the business models and projections that attracted that VC funding has been these resellers revenue share partnerships.

So, in essence the USPS is offering a small revenue share through what has been characterized as a wholesale network of resellers and then those resellers have coded partnerships and shared some of those economics with end user e-commerce software solutions. And then those software organizations have pushed the USPS as their primary carrier. This software ecosystem has been extremely successful in making the USPS the market leader in small and medium business e-commerce. And it has all been fueled by a great business move they made in 2019, to increase the reseller industry.

Despite the success of the USPS reseller program, we have very recently become aware that the USPS is currently renegotiating the NSAs of several of our reseller partners. While these ongoing -- our ongoing negotiations with uncertain outcomes and we have limited visibility given that the negotiations are being conducted solely between the USPS and the resellers. We believe that is reasonably likely that margins earned by resellers as a result of these negotiations will begin to decrease starting around the second half of 2019 and may continue to decrease in 2020 and 2021. Because we are one of the 125 organizations that have a revenue share arrangement with the resellers, the expected decreases in margins earned by the resellers will also negatively impact our financial results.

We also expect that it will directly impact the financial results of many of those approximately 125 companies. With the less attractive revenue share, we believe many of these e-commerce solutions are going to shift their focus to other carriers. The USPS will likely lose a very large set of strong company allies and potentially stands to lose a large amount of volume. Their significant success in driving the USPS' business should have resulted in a reward, but instead is being met with a decrease in their economics.

While we do not expect the USPS to take such actions, that in our opinion are counterproductive to their own interests, they are an example of why we feel so strongly that the actions we took last quarter to diversify our carrier relationships away from our USPS-centric model, were absolutely the right business decision. We are disappointed in the proposed changes being made by the USPS to its reseller strategy. But ultimately, it does not affect the new long-term business strategy we laid out for you last quarter.

Our goal is to position this company for the best long-term outcome, as all of these trends play out and any changes to the reseller industry are going to just accelerate our plans to diversify our business. We have amassed a significant number of assets in worldwide e-commerce shipping that put us in a great position to succeed, as all of these rapidly changing global shipping trends unfold.

Worldwide volume of shipping done by our customers over is over $11 billion. We are currently by far the largest shipping partner of the USPS with $5.5 billion in packages that we generate for the USPS, which represents over 35% of the US domestic priority mail packages. We also have significant strengthen in our partnership network worldwide with over 450 partnerships, where our solutions are embedded into or integrated with those partners software solutions.

We have the market leading e-commerce multi-carrier software solutions with ShipStation, ShippingEasy and ShipWorks. We have built U.S. sales force that is over 100 strong and are highly knowledgeable and shipping logistics software and technology and we have significant internal expertise and marketing, where we spend more than $65 million per year on the e-commerce small business marketing. We have significant technology resources, customer onboarding capabilities, account management and customer support and our acquisition of MetaPack has also positioned us to take our multi-carrier strategy worldwide.

We have already turned our significant assets toward the focus on partnerships with the carriers that will help our customers and our shareholders succeed over the next five years.

With that, now I'll turn the call over to Jeff.

Jeffrey Carberry -- Chief Financial Officer

Thanks Ken. I will now review our first quarter 2019 financial results. The discussion of our financial results today includes non-GAAP financial measures, as Suzanne described a reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures to the corresponding GAAP measures can be found in our earnings release and our 2019 metrics on our investor website.

Total revenue was $136.0 million in Q1 that was up 2% year-over-year versus Q1 of '18. Total revenue excluding MetaPack was $122.9 million in Q1 that was down 8% year-over-year versus Q1 of 18. The growth in revenue in the first quarter was driven by inclusion of MetaPack revenue and by growth in our Global Advantage Program and offset by the elimination of USPS commission revenue.

Mailing and shipping revenue was $132.6 million in Q1 that was up 1% year-over-year versus Q1 of '18. Mailing and shipping revenue excluding MetaPack was $119.5 million in Q1 and that was down 9% year-over-year versus Q1 of '18. The growth in total mailing and shipping revenue was because of the inclusion of Metapack revenue and by growth in Global Advantage Program and it was offset by the elimination of USPS commission revenue.

We estimate that revenue derived from our shipping customers grew year-over-year at a low single-digit rates and as a percentage of total revenue in Q1 was in the high 70% range. We estimate that revenue derived from our shipping customers in Q1, excluding MetaPack declined year-over-year at a low double-digit rate and as a percentage of total revenue was in the high 60% range.

We also estimate that our mainly and shipping revenue derived from our several mailers as a percentage of total revenue was in the high-teens and declined year-over-year at a low single-digit rate. Mailing and shipping gross margin was 74.9% in Q1 versus 82.5% in Q1 of '18. The decrease in gross margin was primarily attributable to the elimination of USPS commission revenue. It was also negatively impacted by our continued increase of our international offerings including our Global Advantage Program. These programs tend to have a lower gross margin profile than our other service fee revenue components.

The gross margins were also negatively impacted by the inclusion of MetaPack, which under US GAAP, generated a gross margin of approximately 66% in Q1. We had a year-over-year increase in our Q1 operating costs, including sales and marketing, R&D and G&A, primarily related to strategic investments to support the strong growth and innovation in our mailing and shipping business and due to the inclusion of MetaPack.

Non-GAAP operating income was $37.7 million in Q1 and that was down 38% year-over-year versus Q1 of '18. Adjusted EBITDA was $39.2 million in Q1 and that was down 37% year-over-year versus Q1 of '18.

Adjusted EBITDA margin was 28.8% in Q1 versus 46.5% in Q1 of '18. The decrease is an adjusted non-GAAP operating income, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA margin were primarily attributable to following. The elimination of USPS commission revenue, lower gross margins associated with the scaling of our international offerings, higher operating expenses associated with our shipping related investments and the acquisition of MetaPack, which has lower gross and EBITDA margins.

Non-GAAP adjusted income per fully diluted share was $1.23 in Q1 based on a non-GAAP tax expense rate of 40%. And that was down 51% year-over-year versus $2.54 per share in Q1 of '18 based on a non-GAAP tax expense rate of 22%. Fully diluted shares used in the EPS calculation was $18.0 million for Q1, and $18.5 million for Q1 '18.

Q1 '19 was negatively impacted by an increase in our estimated effective tax rate for 2019 from our previously estimated 30% to our now revised estimate of 40%. The increase in our revised estimate, estimated effective tax rate was primarily driven by an increase in projected non-deductible expenses related to executive compensation, which now includes additional executives were previously excluded, coupled with the reduction in projected pre-tax book income.

With that, let's now discuss our customer metrics. Our total pay customer metric customer was 756,000, (ph) our churn rate was 3.1% and our ARPU was $60.05 for the first quarter. Paid customers were down 1% versus the first quarter of 2018. Churn was up slightly, versus the churn we've seen over the past several quarters and ARPU was up about 2% year-over-year. There was an impact on our paid customer metrics numbers, our churn rate and our ARPU metrics for the first quarter that resulted directly from our decision, we made earlier this year to discontinue our exclusive revenue share relationship with the USPS.

Segment of our higher volume customers, who receiving our technology solutions with us (ph) our customary monthly service fees. Without our USPS revenue share those customers are currently not counted under our paid customer definition. Additionally, our ARPU benefited from the inclusion of MetaPack revenue in our financials this quarter and also benefited from growth in our global advantage program.

Total first quarter USPS postage printed was $1.6 billion, and that was up 2% versus the first quarter of 2018. The total USPS postage printed metric includes both higher growth shipping volume and traditional non-package volumes, which continues to see a steady decline.

Let's now discuss our cash, debt and use of the cash. We ended Q1 with $111 million in cash and investments, which was down $3 million from $114 million at the end of Q4 of '18. The decrease in cash and investments, primarily driven by the following: share repurchases and scheduled debt repayments and was partially offset by strong operating cash flow and cash margin option exercises.

During Q1, we made a required principal repayment of $2.6 million, resulting in total debt under the credit agreement, excluding debt issuance costs, was $58.8 million. During Q1, we repurchased approximately 235,000 shares at a total cost of approximately $32 million.

On March 8, 2019, our Board of Directors approved $60 million share repurchase plan, which is scheduled to expire in September 2019. To date, approximately 24 million has been repurchased under this plan. On May 1st of this year, the Board of Directors adjusted the repurchase parameters and the plan is now expected to repurchase an additional approximately $9 million, in addition to the approximately $24 million already purchased, between May 9th and its expiration in September of this year.

We'll now turn to guidance. As Ken discussed, we have very recently become aware that the USPS is currently renegotiating the negotiated service agreements of several of our reseller partners. As you know from our prior earnings calls and filings, we have revenue sharing arrangements with several of the reseller partners. The revenue we earned in such arrangements will be negatively impacted by reductions in the margins associated with their NSAs.

While we are ongoing negotiations with uncertain outcomes and we have limited visibility given that the negotiations are being conducted between the USPS and our reseller integration partners, we believe it is reasonably possible that the margins associated and earned by the resellers as a result of these negotiations will begin to decrease around the second half of 2019.

We have therefore reduced our 2019 guidance to reflect this potential reduction, as we currently understand it. We expect fiscal 2019 revenue to be in a range of $510 million to $560 million, which compares to our previous guidance of $540 million to $570 million. With the elimination of USPS commission revenue and now we expect a decrease in revenue earned through reseller revenue sharing arrangements, our shipping related revenue is expected to continue to decline year-over-year. We expect mailing and shipping revenue derived from our several mailers to be approximately flat year-over-year and we expect our Customized Postage revenue to be down 30% to 40% year-over-year.

We expect operating expenses to increase in 2019, reflecting strategic investments we have made in 2018 and the additional investments we anticipate making in 2019, as well as the inclusion of MetaPack in our financials. We would also expect to see the impact of these investments to be front-loaded, given the effect of 2018 headcount investments and MetaPack's operating expenses impacting 2019, while they started additional investments in 2019 will occur throughout the year.

We expect fiscal 2019 adjusted EBITDA to be in the range of $110 million to $150 million, which compares to previous guidance of $145 million to $165 million. Our revised guidance implies a full year adjusted EBITDA margin in the low to mid 20% range based on all the aforementioned factors affecting our business.

Our margin guidance again reflects the inclusion of MetaPack in our financials, inclusion of headcount expenses that increases the elimination of the USPS commission revenue and an expected decrease in revenue earned through reseller revenue sharing arrangements. We expect non-GAAP tax expense will be approximately 40% of non-GAAP pre-tax income for 2019, which compares to our previous estimate of 30%.

As we discussed earlier, the increase in our revised estimated of effective tax rate was primarily driven by an increase in our projected non-deductible expenses related to executive compensation under Internal Revenue Code of 162M. The increase in effective compensation expense is primarily driven by the inclusion of three additional executives, who are newly subject to 162M limitations, which when coupled with the reduction in pre-tax book income results of an increase in our expected effective tax rate. Our full year 2019 effective tax rate could differ from our current estimates based on a number of factors.

We expect fully diluted shares to be between 17.6 million and 18.4 million in 2019, which compares to our previous estimate of 18.3 million to 19.1 million. We expect fiscal 2019 non-GAAP adjusted income per fully diluted share to be in a range from $3.35 to $4.85, which compares to our previous estimate of $5.15 to $6.15.

With our increased focus on shipping, our financial metrics will ordinarily exhibit seasonality reflective of customers shipping usage during the year. However, we would not expect that trend to continue this year with the negative financial impact associated with the elimination of the USPS commission revenue and reduction of reseller related partner revenue shares we expect.

In particular, we expect the second half revenue and adjusted EBITDA to be particularly negatively impacted. And finally, we continue to expect capital expenditures to be approximately $2 million to $4 million in 2019. Although, we do not provide guidance beyond 2019, the current U.S. proposals, as we currently understand them could also result in additional meaningful reductions in margins earned by resellers in 2020 and '21. This in turn could have a significant impact on our revenues and earnings in those years.

And while we do not know, what will ultimately will become of the USPS' proposed changes, it does not alter our long-term global multi-carrier business strategies, which we believe will be successful. However, we believe it is prudent to explain the near term and medium term risks, as we currently understand it to be.

And with that, I'll turn it back to Ken for some additional summary comments.

Ken McBride -- Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Jeff. As we have stated, our goal is to position this company for the best long-term outcome, as all of the rapidly changing trends play out in the shipping industry and any changes to USPS reseller industry are just going to accelerate our efforts toward our new long-term goals. We expect the changes to the reseller industry will also drive a significant strategy shift in the approximately 125 companies in the e-commerce ecosystem that have previously focused on the USPS. Those companies will now turn their focus to other carriers and new business strategies.

As we look back on the history of our company, we've made major changes in our corporate strategy approximately every 10 years, as the mailing and shipping industry has evolved. Our original corporate focus started in 1999, when we first launched our PC postage solution.The goal is to replace small postage meters. In 2009, as the decline of First Class Mail continued to accelerate, we shifted our strategy to focus on U.S. domestic shipping, driven by our revenue share arrangements at the USPS and our partnerships with the reseller industry, we focused our primary efforts on driving shipping volume to the U.S. Postal Service.

Now as the USPS appears to be changing its approach to shipping, we have discontinued our exclusivity with them. We have shifted our focus to new -- our new global multi-carrier strategy. Every time we made a major strategy shift in the past 20 years, we faced short-term challenges as we moved in a new direction. But in the long run all the changes were necessary, so that we could continue to thrive as the complex and dynamic mailing and shipping industry changed.

We've built an extraordinary company with incredible assets and amazing workforce, we're exceptionally well positioned to continue to drive our organization in this new direction. We're confident we will become the global leader in multi-carrier e-com shipping.

And with that, we'll open it up to questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

(Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from the line of Zach Cummins with B. Riley. Your line is open.

Zach Cummins -- B. Riley FBR, Inc. -- Analyst

Hi, good afternoon. I guess, just starting off, when did you really become aware of the potential changes to the reseller arrangements?

Ken McBride -- Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

It was just very recently.

Zach Cummins -- B. Riley FBR, Inc. -- Analyst

Understood. And then I guess around that just, I guess how much variability is there in terms of the range of potential negotiations? And how those could play out in the second half of the year? I mean do you really have much insight into that, or just kind of what you have been relayed between the USPS and some of the partners?

Ken McBride -- Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, really the latter. I mean we are not a party to the negotiation, just what we've been relayed through our partnership conversations and the visibility we have is limited. And so we're really on the sidelines in this whole process just as a partner to the resellers and participant in the industry overall, just like the other 125 companies that are participating in some kind of a economic way with the reseller industries. So, like I said, it's a direct conversation between the resellers and the USPS.

Zach Cummins -- B. Riley FBR, Inc. -- Analyst

Understood. And then I guess is there a potential down the line of that if fees (ph) negotiated rates or the NSAs that the resellers have with the USPS, don't become attractive that they could potentially be turning away and moving to some other carrier going forward?

Ken McBride -- Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, I mean, I think that the strong reality that sooner rather than later if the USPS. I mean effectively when you talk about what a reseller is, it's nothing more than a basic partnership revenue share. That's the standard way that all companies kind of work together. And so when a partner reduces your revenue share, your inevitably going to focus in other directions, where other partners may give you a better opportunity.

So, I think it just makes sense that, that revenue share reduction, which flows from the resellers into ourselves and the other 125 companies to that reduction in the economics is going to change behavior. And it's going to drive those companies to focus on the other carriers and the other carriers are certainly going to be interested in quoting that business that the $5.5 billion in volume through us as well as all the efforts in collective capabilities of those 125 organizations that have really been the key growth vehicle for e-commerce for the USPS.

So, we are expecting a fairly large defection of companies away from the USPS focus, which are inevitable, when you reduce your revenue share people stop paying attention to you.

Zach Cummins -- B. Riley FBR, Inc. -- Analyst

Understood. And then can you update us on your strategy with Endicia and Stamps.com platform, just given that you no longer have the exclusivity with the USPS. Have you been working toward getting other carrier integrations within that platform?

Ken McBride -- Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, I mean, we're still, it's early in the process of kind of changing directions. As you know, the last quarter, two months ago was really the first time we kind of discussed our new strategy and new direction. So, we are working through our plans in terms of how we are going to change our approach on the -- really on the front-end products, the Stamps and Endicia products would have, -- which have traditionally been exclusively USPS-only products that clearly without that exclusivity, we will be likely to open those up to additional carriers to extent that make sense for our customers. Those products have always been kind of our first offer in our first product that we trying to push customers onto in terms of newer, smaller up and coming e-commerce customers, because they are simpler and they are really more suited for the more basic needs of a smaller company that has just gotten going in e-commerce.

And so we're going to continue to try to focus on keeping it simple. So, we're not going to put 40 carriers in them like we have in ship station, but adding a second or third or fourth carrier might make sense. Certainly, a large number of our customers I think would benefit from immediately bringing in a second carrier, where they're able to get better services and more cost-effective services versus the USPS solutions that are in those products today.

Zach Cummins -- B. Riley FBR, Inc. -- Analyst

Understood. And then I guess, just final question for me. Can you talk about your progress in terms of negotiations with private carriers at this point? And kind of looking into other strategic partnerships?

Ken McBride -- Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Yes, sure. I think last February -- February the first time we kind of announced to the world, all our investors and all our partners and everyone at the same time that we are no longer going to be exclusive to the USPS, as you can imagine with the assets we've discussed and the volumes, the sales team, the technology, the capabilities that we've really, the engine we've have been driving down the road to the USPS for the past decade and driving that 21% compound growth rate.

You can imagine how other carriers have seen that as a very, very attractive thing to potentially get onto their side and so we've been in lots of conversations and with lots of carriers and there's lots of interest in either adding new partnerships or enhancing existing partnerships with carriers. So, it's only been a short period of time that was two months ago. So, these conversations take time to play out, but we're very optimistic that we'll cement new carrier partnerships and basically put those building blocks in place as we change our direction, our strategy.

Zach Cummins -- B. Riley FBR, Inc. -- Analyst

Understood. Well, thanks for taking my questions.

Ken McBride -- Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of George Sutton with Craig-Hallum. Your line is open.

George Sutton -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group -- Analyst

Thank you. I wanted to look at this from a bigger picture USPS strategic perspective. Megan Brennan has consistently talked about the need for the postal service to be competitive relative to the package volumes. And I think generally recognize this is a high fixed cost, low variable cost model that they're running. These moves both your negotiations previously and the reseller negotiations suggest a illogical bureaucratic type of a thought process. And I'm just curious if you can give us a picture from your view point in terms of the larger competitive strategy the Postal Service seems to be deploying?

Ken McBride -- Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, sure. I mean I think as much as you're scratching your head, is kind of what we're doing as well. It really -- the position of the USPS, the market share they've gained, the position they have really built in this, you know, e-commerce space, I mean they have really grown to dominate, especially the small business, small and medium enterprise e-commerce area. And that domination has really come on the heels of our efforts and the efforts of the resellers in the last decade.

I think in many ways what they did in 2009, when they both came to the Stamps and Endicia offered as a commission to focus on their shipping business and also created this reseller industry, when DHL exited the market and these resellers were available to potentially bring onto their team, when they made those moves early on, it really made a ton of sense and it's paid off in spades for them. So, it's a bit of a mystery for us. It really makes no sense.

I think there is -- the industry that's developed around, this really this thing we've referred to is the e-commerce ecosystem, really complicated to understand. From the outside looking in, it's just you know, it may not be evident the gravity of the type of decisions they're making right now in terms of how complicated this industry is. I mean, we're on the front lines. We're partners with everyone in the ecosystem. So, we see firsthand how these revenue shares change their behavior day-to-day. How these companies are pushing USPS on their homepage and their products, their focus on marketing, their focus on selling the USPS over other carriers.

We see that day-to-day with these partners that we work with every day and that may not be as evident to some of the people that are kind of looking at it more of a 30,000 foot view and maybe just looking at, hey, how do we cut costs or other kind of strategy. So, we have conversations with them and, but it's not -- I wouldn't not say it's totally clear to us, exactly why they would consider effectively cutting a revenue share to an industry they collectively has been extremely successful in building their business.

George Sutton -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group -- Analyst

So, you've put in place a surcharge for some of your large customers, former Endicia customers. Can you just give us a sense of the response that you've heard from those customers?

Ken McBride -- Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, I mean I think when we had our earnings call, two months ago, that was the first time that we really announced the surcharge, about the same time that we announced the change in direction publicly.

And so I think that the -- certainly, nobody wants to be paying more money, the customers understood that, hey, somebody's got to pay for the technology and if it's not the USPS, it's got to be, it's got to be you, and certainly it has not been a popular decision. But we're still in the process of kind of working through that conversation. This is a small number of customers. This is not our entire customer base. This is a very select small set of customers on these very high volume NSAs, where they've been receiving a free solution from us, funded by the USPS revenue share.

And so they understand, why they can't get the solution for free. I mean they get their solution for free from FedEx and UPS and so, certainly the idea that they're paying an additional fee on top of, what they're already paying to the USPS is not -- is a tough pill to swallow for them. But ultimately I think it -- and it will drive their behavior to switch carriers to FedEx and UPS, when the software is free because of ultimately it's a 3% increase on top of rates that may only be at parity or even worse already versus those rate.

So, it's just kind of more of the dynamics in the industry that are moving so quickly and these competitors are really aggressively coming after the USPS and all the new entrants and all the new products they're launching and so things are changing so rapidly that we certainly see the 3% surcharge is a as a detriment to the USPS.

George Sutton -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group -- Analyst

Lastly, you're obviously making, you're giving guidance for particularly the back half of the year and suggesting into 2020 and '21, significant changes to the reseller program. And I understand you have imperfect information at this point, but your guidance is suggesting, is it suggesting a full end to the program or can you just give us a sense of sort of where on the continuum these numbers are suggesting?

Jeffrey Carberry -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So, our guidance George does not contemplate a termination of the program and based on the information we have today, which as we said before, isn't perfect we do not believe the program will be terminated in the long run. However, we do expect again based on what we know to date, that margins will continue to decline in 2020 and ''21 for the resellers and therefore our rev shares will decline as well.

As we mentioned, is a lot of uncertainty there, right. And a lot of a opacity for us and they are subject to ongoing negotiations. So, it is quite uncertain what the impact financially will be in terms of precise numbers and hits for '20 and '21. But we want to make sure people understood that based on what we know today, there would be further reductions, not a termination of the program, but reductions in 2021. And as we get more information, we will of course provide additional color. And obviously, at '19, -- at the end of '19, we will guidance for '20, but as of right now, we want to just make sure people understood that as it stands currently we would expect further declines in '20 and '21.

George Sutton -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group -- Analyst

Okay, thanks.

Ken McBride -- Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, George.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Allen Klee with Maxim Group. Your line is open.

Allen Klee -- Maxim Group -- Analyst

Yes. Hi, a couple other questions on the reseller agreements. What percent of your revenue comes from these reseller agreements? And what percent of that is getting renegotiated this year? So, how much will be left and can you give us a sense of how long these contracts are? And I guess you've kind of or some range of what they get -- percent they're looking at cutting them? Thank you.

Jeffrey Carberry -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. So, thanks Allen for the questions. So, in terms of the numbers, we don't quantify the revenue associated with the resellers. However, obviously with the elimination of the commission revenue, there are few variables for investors to triangulate on, you know, our paid customers, you know the monthly service fees that we have, you have Customized Postage, we breakout MetaPack separately. So, the number of variables that are there for you to triangulate on, to estimate reseller revenue are pretty few. So, I think investors probably have a reasonable sense of what the baseline (ph) revenue is, but to be clear, we don't break it out separately.

As we said historically as well, and as we talked about in our risk factors, in our Qs and Ks, these are generally shorter term arrangements and they have various provisions to change terms and to potentially cancel these arrangements. So again, based on what we know thus far, we'd expect the program to continue, albeit with lower margins, but obviously it's subject to ongoing negotiations.

Allen Klee -- Maxim Group -- Analyst

Okay. And then I -- you had given guidance on number of shares outstanding. I missed that could you repeat that please?

Jeffrey Carberry -- Chief Financial Officer

Sure. So, in terms of the number of shares outstanding, it's a decreased number of shares, we expect that between 17.6 million, and 18.4 million that compares to our previous guidance of 18.3 million to 19.1 million.

Allen Klee -- Maxim Group -- Analyst

Okay. Thank you very much.

Jeffrey Carberry -- Chief Financial Officer

You got it.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Tim Klasell with Northland. Your line is open.

Tim Klasell -- Northland Securities, Inc. -- Analyst

Hey guys, just wanted to sort of jump onto the prior question on with the resellers. First of all, can you sort of walk us through how you believe this will roll out across the resellers, as they are few right now and they will get reset and they're going to continue to roll that out and that's what we are thinking (ph) '20 and '21 happen. And maybe you can give us a little bit of color on what sort of a magnitude the USPS is cutting the discounts to the resellers, or just sort of give us an idea of how you expect this to flow through the reseller community? Thank you.

Ken McBride -- Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Tim. So, in terms of the magnitude of the discounts, again there's a lot of uncertainty, it's subject to an ongoing negotiation. So, it's not as if, you know, to understand at least, it is negotiation. And therefore we expect some give and take as part of that process, as opposed to a take-it-or-leave-it kind of proposition.

So, it's far too early for us to determine what we think the longer term effects are going to be. As it relates to the NSA program broadly written, we don't have visibility into all the partners that have NSAs. We are aware of our reseller partners and those sort of have advised us that they are currently involved these renegotiations. But we don't have perfect information around the entire population of customers that may be impacted by the decision the USPS appears to be making.

Again, we think it's counterproductive to the longer term financial goals, but it is what it is. So, given that uncertainty as to their ultimate strategy, it's also uncertain to us as to how broadly this will reach, whether it remains narrowly focused on the reseller partners with whom we were currently, whether it's intended to expand beyond that, it's just too uncertain unfortunately. So, as it relates to the '20 and '21 impacts, it's very hard for us to give you a magnitude of estimate, because of the inherent uncertainty. But as we have got the information we'll certainly update our investors and the markets.

Tim Klasell -- Northland Securities, Inc. -- Analyst

Okay, good and then just some -- that's helpful. And then sort of some background information about, clearly these arrangements have been out for long time for multiple years, as you brought out earlier. Had they tried this aggressive level of negotiation in the past? Or is this -- it's sounds like this is just absolutely new that they maybe have the set rates for a long time, and now they're trying to just squeeze them, or they do try to squeeze them in the past?

Ken McBride -- Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Well, I mean it's the industry has been on for nine and the NSAs are, I think of have been through multiple rounds with all the resellers. So, I think going back nine years, the economics have changed. I'm not sure to what extent every time that there has been an NSA, new NSA approval. But I know that, there has been multiple instances of modifications of reseller margins. I think we do know based on our limited information that this change is being proposed and negotiated as a negative margin change. So, the margins are getting smaller and so I think it's, that's clear. And it's being -- it's get being negotiated across multiple resellers at once. So, I think the NSA there have been multiple NSAs in the reseller industry, but this is just based on our current knowledge these -- the primary organizations out there they do, you know, that our primary in the reseller business are the ones being in these negotiations with the USPS.

Tim Klasell -- Northland Securities, Inc. -- Analyst

Okay, good. And then one sort of one final housekeeping one that, I'm assuming that increased from 30% to 40% on the tax rate is a cash tax level, that correct?

Jeffrey Carberry -- Chief Financial Officer

That's correct.

Tim Klasell -- Northland Securities, Inc. -- Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. (Operator Instructions) Our next question comes from the line of Kevin Liu with K. Liu & Company. Your line is open.

Kevin D. Liu -- K. Liu & Company LLC -- Analyst

Hi, good afternoon. I wanted to spend a little time on your guidance for obviously low end is coming down about $30 million and then $10 million at the high end. Can you talk about some of the puts and takes of why that number isn't more consistent? And more specifically at the high-end do you assume any sort of new strategic agreements within that number?

Jeffrey Carberry -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah so. Thanks for the question, Kevin. So, in terms of the high-end, what ultimately happened was we dropped the high-end and also we dropped the low-end by virtue of expanding the range. So, the high-end does not assume any impact from new arrangements that, that may come online with other carriers. Obviously, because of the uncertainty, we're not going to bake that into our underestimates or guidance in the short run. So, it doesn't contemplate any new financial arrangements with additional carriers.

In terms of the rationale for the decrease, again there is uncertainty with regard to where the reseller revenue shares ultimately end up and the path they take over '19, '20 and '21. But what we've done and endeavor to do at least is to adjust our guidance, reflect our best estimate of what the implications, or would it be for '19. As it relates to the range obviously, the range was extended because of the factors inherent uncertainty. So, I would argue that the uncertainty in the business, and therefore the range of potential results is inherently greater than it was last quarter because of this unexpected change that very recently learned about with the reseller revenue shares. So, that's the rationale for both the reduction as well as the broadening of the range.

Kevin D. Liu -- K. Liu & Company LLC -- Analyst

All right. And then looking at the EBITDA guidance, and that actually came down by more than the revenues that you're taking out of the model. Can you talk a little bit about progress for those incremental expenses, or why that magnitude is higher? And then also just more strategically now that you do know there are a lot of these USPS revenues that aren't going to be there. Historically, you guys have been very focused on the cost of acquired customer versus the lifetime value and obviously lifetime value seems to be coming down a bit. So, why you're holding the line in terms of the level of investment you're putting into customer acquisition?

Jeffrey Carberry -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes, so in terms of the OpEx side, OpEx came in higher because of some additional investments we're making in sales and marketing, principally as well as R&D, both in terms of discretionary spend as well as headcount investments that we're making. The question is a good one as to given the change and expectations with reseller revenue, why would we continue to make investments. Well, I mean, as it relates to Q1, obviously we just very recently, as Ken mentioned learned of this.

The other thing as well is that there's inherent uncertainty and as you know, we take a highly quantitative approach to looking at return on investment with things like marketing spend and those returns look favorable. Given the uncertainty, things may change going forward, if our expectations are going to be reseller revenue turns materially negative, given the negotiations that might change your decisions going forward.

But as it stands right now, given what we expect with the reseller revenue shares for '19, given what we see in terms of the empirical data regarding ROIs on marketing spend on a discretionary basis. We think those are good investments to make, as it relates to the longer term prospects of the business, regarding global opportunities, the global opportunities are incredibly attractive. Our addressable market has expanded dramatically and I think the returns that we're going to see internationally, sure strategies work out, are going to be quite attractive. And you have to invest to achieve those opportunities.

We have a very good position in the market, the way we see it and we think it's a very good strategy for the long-term business to capitalize on those opportunities and capitalize on them aggressively. But obviously as things unfold with the USPS vis-a-vis reseller, those things may change a bit, but it doesn't change our fundamental outlook on the global opportunity and the investments we need to make to capitalize on those opportunities.

Kevin D. Liu -- K. Liu & Company LLC -- Analyst

All right. And one last one for me. Amazon starts to rollout their shipping networks here at least gotten it beyond the initial cities that highlighted. What are sort of interest do they have in common to you and your platforms? Can you confirm for instance their ship station they are now in a beta test with them. And do you anticipate being able to get any sort of economics from Amazon as they roll out more broadly?

Ken McBride -- Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

So, I think you're asking about shipping with Amazon and the, yeah the ship station there's been some initial tests with that solution. Obviously, we've talked a lot about wanting to bring carriers that makes sense to our customers -- to the customers. And so shipping with Amazon is we see it as just another carrier that may become part of the portfolio of the, now, I believe 42 carriers that we support within ship station. And to the extent that Amazon is able to offer a service that's attractive to our customers is certainly something we want to bring to them I think we talked a lot about last quarter about some of the trends and the things they're doing. And so they certainly are going to be a factor in the industry overall and a factor in many industries. And so, certainly is something we will bring to our customers if it makes sense.

Kevin D. Liu -- K. Liu & Company LLC -- Analyst

All right. And actually if I could squeeze one more in. I know you guys don't want to disclose specific revenues catch from different streams, but maybe more generally can you just talk about how much of your service fee incomes from just pure monthly subscription. So, we have kind of the ballpark for what potential puts and takes on the transaction that might be?

Jeffrey Carberry -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. So, I think the best way to think about that, we haven't broken it out separately. So, I'm saying we averse to do so now. But I think in terms of where you we would frame that the question and solve the problem is, you have our paid customers, you have a very good sense given the changes in our customer metrics over time to reflect the acquisitions, given some pretty basic assumptions about growth rates of those customer numbers by UI. And assuming our ARPU is in the lower quartile of the range is available on each one of the solutions. You get to a pretty, pretty close number as to the revenue derived from monthly subscription fees. So, it's the mathematics and data points are there to triangulate pretty closely for you.

Kevin D. Liu -- K. Liu & Company LLC -- Analyst

All right. Well, I appreciate for taking the questions. Thanks.

Jeffrey Carberry -- Chief Financial Officer

Okay. Thanks, Kevin.

Operator

Thank you. I'm showing no further questions at this time, I would now like to turn the call back over to Ken McBride for closing remarks.

Ken McBride -- Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

I appreciate for you joining to joining us today. If you have follow-up questions, as always, you can contact us through our website investor.stamps.com, or you can contact us through our hotline 310-482-5830. Thank you.

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, that concludes today's call. Thank you for participating. You may now disconnect. Everyone have a wonderful day.

Duration: 59 minutes

Call participants:

Suzanne Park -- Investor Relations

Ken McBride -- Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Jeffrey Carberry -- Chief Financial Officer

Zach Cummins -- B. Riley FBR, Inc. -- Analyst

George Sutton -- Craig-Hallum Capital Group -- Analyst

Allen Klee -- Maxim Group -- Analyst

Tim Klasell -- Northland Securities, Inc. -- Analyst

Kevin D. Liu -- K. Liu & Company LLC -- Analyst

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