First up, Dassault Systèmes announced that it had missed its Q3 targets, with preliminary data showing non-IFRS revenue of €496 million, €24 million short of the company’s forecast of €520 million. DS says that roughly €12 million-worth of deals slipped out of the quarter as approval cycles lengthened, services revenue was €4 million lower than expected and a further €8 million fell out of the quarter as small business customers chose rental licenses rather than paying larger upfront fees. Even so, that non-IFRS total of €496 million still reflects constant currency growth of 4%.
DS CFO Thibault de Tersant said that Q3 was on track until the very end of the quarter. Addressing specifically the shift to rentals, M. de Tersant said, “While we like the revenue accretion brought by rental licenses over the long term, and the business model alignment with our upcoming Cloud solutions, rental decisions made late in the quarter had an impact on our immediate revenue recognition.” This is exactly the problem that a lot of software companies will hit as customers exercise their licensing options — and we shouldn’t be surprised if this volatility takes a while to shake off.
As a result of the Q3 miss, DS is adjusting its Q4 forecast by shifting more licenses towards rentals, looking more closely at the pipeline for deals that might be delayed and taking currency movements into account. DS lowered its Q4 target by about €20 million (€5 million for currency, €15 for the other causes), to €565 million. That’s still an increase of about 5% in constant currencies. More details about it all during DS’ full Q3 earnings release on October 24. I missed the very beginning of the call with analysts and will update after I listen to the replay if there’s more to add.
At almost the same moment, Hexagon announced that it has launched a takeover attempt of Veripos, a Scottish company that trades on the Oslo stock exchange. Veripos started as a joint venture between Brown & Root Survey, a company later acquired by Subsea 7, and a small marine electronics company called Ormston Technology Ltd, to operate high frequency radio services in the North Sea.
Today, Veripos provides very precise navigation and positioning solutions to customers around the world, primarily in the offshore marine world. As I understand it. Veripos uses Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) data and its network of 84 land-based reference stations to calculate corrections and transmit the corrected positioning data to its customers. Why? Because when you’re trying to position an offshore oil rig support, drill very precisely for oil or do something else that requires very accurate positioning out at sea, you don’t have traditional landmarks to rely on — Veripos says it can get positions to an accuracy of 10 centimeters.
Each of the company’s reference stations continually monitors the GNSS positional data with reference to its known position and applies proprietary and third-party algorithms to calculate corrections, which are then transmitted to customers who have the necessary receiving equipment and who have a contract with Veripos for the data. As of last year, Veripos had over 800 vessels worldwide under contract.
In 2012, Veripos’ total revenue was $42.3 million. Hexagon is offering to buy out Veripos’ shareholders at NOK 28 in cash per share, for a total of about NOK 925 million kroner (roughly $150 million). That’s a 22% premium on Friday’s closing price and a nearly 4x multiple on 2012 revenue. In order for the deal to close, shareholders representing 90% of the share capital and voting rights will have to agree, and they have 5 weeks to do so. For its part, Veripos says it is evaluating the offer and will advise shareholders one week before the end of the period; and suggest shareholders wait until then to take action.
Hexagon CEO Ola Rollén said that Veripos is a good strategic fit with Hexagon: “Hexagon will provide state of the art positioning technology to Veripos as well as future growth via Hexagon’s onshore markets. Veripos has, in turn, built up a strong position in the offshore market and has world class infrastructure that Hexagon can leverage on immediately after an acquisition rather than building such infrastructure in-house.”