MicroStrategy subsidiary sale brings $110 million

February 28, 2013

MicroStrategy sold a subsidiary for $110 million this week as the once high-flying Tysons Corner business intelligence company seeks to shed non-core assets and focus on putting more steam into its earnings growth.

The company announced that it had agreed to sell Angel.com, a stand-alone firm that the company launched in 2002, to Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories. Angel.com, which was not profitable but had good revenue growth, helping companies operate their automated telephone centers.

Angel.com was a small but growing part of MicroStrategy, generating revenue of $29 million in 2012 out of $595 million for the entire company.

“It could now allow them to focus on their core business, which has seen better days for sure,” said David Hilal, an analyst with FBR Capital Markets in Arlington.

A MicroStrategy spokeman declined to comment.

The company is well known around Washington, with its highly visible chairman and chief executive Michael Saylor. MicroStrategy was a hot stock in the late 1990s, then got caught up in financial accounting restatements that could have put the company in jeopardy.

MicroStrategy has since rebounded but it still is not the darling it once was. Its stock trades at a fraction of the price it enjoyed in its heyday. It also trades at a discount to many of its peers.

Hilal said MicroStrategy has seen revenue growth slowing, despite significant additions to its headcount. The company employs more than 3,000 people worldwide.

Hilal said MicroStrategy’s operating margins were at historically low levels of 5 percent last year. He said 2012 revenue growth was around 6 percent over 2011, “which is fine. But relative from what other software vendors were able to deliver last year, it’s lagging. And relative to what MicroStrategy has historically done, this growth is nothing to write home about.”

“With this asset out of the picture, hopefully the company and management team can divert all assets and resources to focus in on the core business,” Hilal said.

MicroStrategy’s core mission is business intelligence software, which collects and analyzes corporate data to help make smarter business decisions.

Retail chains collect enormous amounts of customer information at the point of sale, including what customers buy, when they shop and which store they use. MicroStrategy helps its customers analyze that data to better understand trends, help companies stock inventory, compare monthly and geographic sales, and make decisions that help the clients become more efficient.

Thomas Heath is a local business reporter and columnist, writing about entrepreneurs and various companies big and small in the Washington Metropolitan area. Previously, he wrote about the business of sports for The Post’s sports section for most of a decade.
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