VeriSign VRSN reported fourth-quarter 2019 non-GAAP earnings of $1.31 per share that missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 2.2% and decreased 17.1% from the year-ago quarter.
Revenues increased 1% year over year to $310.5 million and beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 0.1%.
VeriSign ended the reported quarter with 158.8 million .com and .net domain name registrations, up 3.9% year over year.
The company processed 10.3 million new domain name registrations for .com and .net compared with 9.5 million in the year-ago quarter.
VeriSign, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
VeriSign, Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | VeriSign, Inc. Quote
Notably, renewal rates are not fully measurable until 45 days after the end of the quarter. The final .com and .net renewal rate for the third quarter of 2019 was 73.7% compared with 74.8% in the year-ago quarter.
The company expects the renewal rate for fourth-quarter 2019 to be 73.7%. The renewal rate in the fourth quarter of 2018 was 74.3%.
VeriSign’s research and development (R&D) expenses rose 0.4% from the year-ago quarter to $15.1 million. As a percentage of revenues, R&D expenses stayed at 4.9% on a year-over-year basis.
General and administrative (G&A) expenses grew 11.1% year over year to $36.6 million. As a percentage of revenues, G&A expenses increased 110 basis points (bps) year over year to 11.8%.
However, sales and marketing expenses (S&M) declined 19.3% year over year to $13.9 million. As a percentage of revenues, S&M expenses decreased 110 bps year over year to 4.5%.
Non-GAAP operating income was $211 million, up 2.9% from the year-ago quarter. Non-GAAP operating margin expanded 120 bps year over year to 67.9%.
Balance Sheet & Cash Flow
As of Dec 31, 2019, the company’s cash and cash equivalents (including marketable securities) were approximately $1.22 billion compared with $1.23 billion as of Sep 30.
Cash flow from operating activities was $194 million in the fourth quarter compared with $208.1 million in the previous quarter. Free cash flow was $185 million in the reported quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Verisign repurchased 1 million shares for an aggregate cost of $195 million.
Effective Feb 6, 2020, the company’s board of directors approved an additional share repurchase authorization of roughly $743 million of common stock, which brings the total amount available for buybacks to $1 billion.
Domain Name Base is expected to increase between 2% and 4% from 2019-end to 2020-end.
Moreover, VeriSign expects full-year revenues between $1.250 billion and $1.265 billion. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $1.30 billion, indicating 5.2% growth year over year.
GAAP operating margin is expected in the 64.5-65.5% range.
Capital expenditure is anticipated in the range of $45-$55 million.
Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
VeriSign currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Perion Network Ltd. PERI, Alteryx AYX and CEVA CEVA are some better-ranked stocks in the broader computer and technology sector. All three stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Perion, Alteryx and CEVA are set to report quarterly results on Feb 12, 13 and 18, respectively.
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