Akamai Easily Bests Q4 Estimates

February 9th, 2012 by · Leave a Comment

Akamai (NASDAQ:AKAM, news, filings) finished 2011 with a muscular performance, posting revenues and earnings per share that easily bested both guidance expectations.  The CDN giant has been shifting its business model toward the cloud and value-added services to reflect changes in the marketplace, and despite the worries about competition seems to have found the going reasonably smooth lately:

$ in millions Q3/10 Q4/10 Q1/11 Q2/11 Q3/11 Q4/11

Q1/12
(guidance)

Revenue 253.6 284.7 276.0 277.0 281.9 323.4 305-330
COS 77.8 86.2 89.0  89.6  93.3 102.5
SG&A+R&D 112.6 121.8 109.9  109.8  118.8 132.8
Gross Margin 69.3% 69.7% 67.8% 67.7% 66.9% 68.3%
Adj.  EPS 0.34 0.40 0.38 0.35 0.34 0.45 0.36-0.39

The fourth quarter is seasonally strong for Akamai, but this time they clearly had an especially good time of it.  Guidance for Q4 was higher than expected on the revenue side, and inline with expectations for earnings per share.  The stock is up more than 10% after hours, so the market seems very happy with the state of things.  The company purchased some $76M of its own stock under that new buyback plan, averaging a price of $26.38 which is looking quite good now.

It's also interesting that Akamai had a big quarter despite the fact that Level 3 also had a big CDN quarter in which it also posted a big sequential growth number.  If Limelight says something similar, then it seems clear that the CDN pie itself has been expanding dramatically recently and may be a more important factor than shifts in market share.

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