Marc Benioff, co-founder and CEO of Salesforce, speaks at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on January 18, 2023.
Stefan Wermuth | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Shares of Salesforce rose 16% in extended trading Wednesday after the cloud software maker beat Wall Street earnings estimates and issued a better-than-expected forecast.
Here’s how the company did it:
- merits: $1.68 per share, adjusted, versus $1.36 per share as analysts expected, according to Refinitiv.
- Gain: $8.38 billion, versus $7.99 billion as analysts expected, according to Refinitiv.
Salesforce’s revenue grew 14% year over year in the fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Jan. 31, consistent with the prior quarter, according to a statement. The company reported a loss of $98 million, compared to a loss of $28 million in the same quarter last year.
In January, Marc Benioff, co-founder and CEO of Salesforce, said the company would cut 10% of its workforce, amounting to more than 7,000 people, and that the restructuring strategy would have resulted in $828 million in costs during the quarter.
Profitability has taken on a higher priority at Salesforce, which has come under pressure in recent months from an influx of activist investors, including Third Point, Elliott Management and Starboard Value. The company announced the addition of ValueAct Capital CEO Mason Morfit to the board. At the end of the quarter, Bret Taylor, who co-led Salesforce with Benioff as co-CEO, stepped down.
At 29.2%, the adjusted operating margin was wider than the 25% target for fiscal year 2026 that executives set out at Investor Day in September.
“Six months ago in September at our Dreamforce Investor Day, we shared with you our comprehensive transformation plan, the new day for profitable growth,” Benioff said on a conference call with analysts. “But things changed as we entered our fourth quarter. We recognized that we needed to radically accelerate the timeframe of the transformation plan. We needed to hit the hyperspace button and quickly advance the two-year goals and now exceed them.”
Benioff said Salesforce is working with Bain on an assessment of the company.
For the fiscal first quarter, the company called for adjusted earnings in the range of $1.60 to $1.61 per share and revenue of $8.16 billion to $8.18 billion. Analysts polled by Refinitiv were looking for adjusted earnings per share of $1.32 and revenue of $8.05 billion.
Salesforce sees full fiscal 2024 adjusted earnings per share of $7.12 to $7.14 and revenue of $34.5 billion to $34.7 billion. Analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected $5.84 in adjusted earnings per share and $34.03 billion in revenue. It called for an adjusted operating margin of 27% in fiscal year 2024.
The company said it expanded its share repurchase program to $20 billion after announcing its first buyback commitment, with up to $10 billion toward that goal, in August.
Salesforce shares are up 26% year-to-date, excluding Wednesday’s after-hours move, outperforming the S&P 500 index, which is up 3% over the same period.
Executives will discuss the results with analysts on a conference call starting at 5 p.m. ET.
This is the latest news. Check back later for updates.
WATCH: Proxy battle likely in store for Salesforce