Slack quarterly results beat eatimates; co-founder says coronavirus will change how we do work

Thank you Slack (WORK) for giving an extremely jittery stock market a positive story to digest after an outright drubbing on Thursday.

The workplace productivity platform checked all the boxes for a good quarter in a fiercely competitive market. Slack blew away the sales and billings growth estimates held on Wall Street. The loss per share came in slightly better than estimates.

Slack co-founder Stewart Butterfield tells Yahoo Finance the company continued to have success winning large new enterprise deals, many in competitive bidding processes against Microsoft Teams. The company ended its fiscal year with 70 customers spending more than $1 million a year with Slack, up an impressive 79% year-over-year.

Here are Slack’s quarterly results:

  • 4Q Net Sales: $181.9 million vs. estimates for $174.1 million (guidance: $172 to $174 million)

  • 4Q Total Billings Growth: +47% vs. estimates for +41%

  • 4Q Non-GAAP Loss Per Share: $0.04 vs. estimates for a loss of $0.06 (guidance: loss of 6 cents to 7 cents)

  • Full Year 2020 Outlook:

  • Net Sales: $842 million to $862 million vs. estimates for $854.5 million

  • Loss per Share: $0.19 to $0.21 vs. estimates for a loss of 21 cents a share

Unfortunately for Slack, the solid quarter is getting overlooked in an anxious market (shares fell 19% in after-hours trading) that is quick to penalize any minor red flag. Slack issued 2020 guidance for billings growth of 27% to 31%, below some whisper estimates on the Street of at least 35%. While some analysts will voice concern on this representing a growth slowdown at Slack, they would likely be missing the point. Slack could very well be baking in a sense of conservatism due to coronavirus economic disruption — the fact remains though the company is gobbling up big new contracts, most recently with Uber.

Slack co-founders Cal Henderson, left, and Stewart Butterfield pose for photos outside the New York Stock Exchange before their company’s IPO, Thursday, June 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Those are positive elements to the story. And so is Slack’s positioning right now as the coronavirus is making many companies rethink how work is done. Slack CFO Allen Shim tells Yahoo Finance the company has seen a bump in business of late as more businesses transition to work from home options. The call out is not unlike what Zoom CFO Kelly Steckleberg told me on The First Trade several days ago.

Says Butterfield, “I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t have a long-term impact [how work is done because people now are working from home due to coronavirus]. It will probably have a pronounced short-term impact, and people are going to get used to certain ways of working. I think it will be a big change.”

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Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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