Launched – Grown – Sold The Miami Herald Discusses What’s Next for .CO Founders

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The Miami Herald did a piece today on the .CO Registry acquisition by Neustar. They spoke with Juan Diego Calle to find out what’s next for everyone now that the company is sold. Calle mentioned a better job and better benefits for employees. The article also mentions that Neustar did not get Pop.co in the deal.

 

Calle said Neustar’s plan is to keep the offices — and the jobs — in Miami and Colombia. There are 20 full-time employees going to Neustar, plus a few consultants.

“All of our employees are getting better jobs than they had at .CO, better benefits … and everyone got a sizable bonus. Letting them know they were getting the money and celebrating the transaction with them was the highlight of my career from an entrepreneurial standpoint — really very cool,” said Calle, who has been an outspoken proponent of launching and growing companies in Miami.

Of the co-founders, Calle and Nicolai Bezsonoff, the former COO, will serve as strategic advisors, managing the integration of the companies. Lori Anne Wardi will remain in the role of vice president, and will continue overseeing the evolution of the .CO brand, as well as help Neustar with the soon-to-be-launched .NYC extension. José Rasco will continue as managing director of STRAAT Investments, independent of Neustar. Eduardo Santoyo will continue to lead the Colombia office and all matters relating to government relations and Internet policy.

“I’m over the moon,” said Wardi after the closing. “This has been our baby, we saw such potential in these two letters and what they would become. . . . I feel so proud every time I see a .co.”

So what’s next? STRAAT and the co-founders had been planning to open a headquarters and co-working center in the West Brickell area that they call Building, and that will still open in September, Calle said. Building will house the Neustar team as well as other ventures. “The idea of Building is to attract companies in a similar life cycle as .CO. We want to fill the later-stage niche instead of going after the pure startup plays. We are considering whether to expand the concept and to take it to other cities like San Francisco, New York and London. That is a business plan we are going to be actively developing now that we have sold .CO,” he said.

Neustar didn’t acquire the subsidiary Pop.co, which allows consumers to set up a domain name, email account and website in 60 seconds. Said Calle: “You will see more push from us to build that out. Our goal is to make it one of the leading retail sites. We have a couple of other interesting things brewing.”

Read the full article here

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/04/20/4070348/launched-grown-sold-whats-next.html#storylink=cpy

Neustar Reports Lower than expected earnings – Stock off 4% in After Hours Trading

Neustar is down in after hours trading as the company reported lower than expected earnings.

The stock is off close to 4 % in after hours trading at $27.15.

Neustar, Inc. (NYSE: NSR), a trusted, neutral provider of real-time information services and analytics, today announced results for the quarter ended March 31, 2014, and affirmed its revenue and adjusted net income guidance for 2014.

Results for First Quarter 2014 Compared to First Quarter 2013

  • Revenue increased 6% to $229.9 million
  • Revenue from Marketing Services increased 21% to $32.9 million
  • Revenue from Security Services increased 11% to $30.1 million
  • Net income decreased 6% to $31.7 million
  • Net income per share was flat at $0.50

Non-GAAP Results for First Quarter 2014 Compared to First Quarter 2013

  • Adjusted net income decreased 3% to $52.4 million
  • Adjusted net income per share increased 5% to $0.84

“Our first quarter results demonstrate that we are delivering on our strategic initiative to become a leader in information services and analytics,” said Lisa Hook, Neustar’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our targeted investments are paying off and we are seeing strong and growing market demand for our IS&A offerings. We are competing vigorously in the LNPA vendor selection process, and will continue to advocate strongly that we are the logical choice to remain as administrator, which we believe is beneficial to the industry and consumers alike.”

Paul Lalljie, Neustar’s Chief Financial Officer, added, “During the first quarter, we delivered 16% revenue growth in our Marketing and Security Services. We closed on the acquisition of .CO earlier this week, bolstering our position as a key player in the expanding gTLD market. We remain confident in our full-year forecast driven by our first quarter results and leading indicators, and as a result we are affirming our guidance for the year.”

Discussion of First Quarter Results

Revenue totaled $229.9 million, a 6% increase from $216.4 million in 2013. Marketing Services revenue of $32.9 million grew 21% driven by higher demand for our workflow solutions. Security Services revenue of $30.1 million grew 11% driven by increased demand for our DDoS protection services. NPAC Services revenue of $118.8 million grew 6% driven by an increase in the fixed fee established under our contracts to provide local number portability services. Data Services revenue of $48.1 million declined 5% due to lower revenue in caller identification services.

Operating expense totaled $174.6 million, a 20% increase from $145.6 million in the first quarter of 2013. This $29.0 million increase was primarily driven by $6.2 million in advertising and professional fees associated with the NPAC vendor selection process and $5.0 million in costs for restructuring initiatives designed to improve efficiencies. In addition, personnel and personnel-related costs increased $6.8 million and depreciation and amortization expense increased $3.0 million.

As of March 31, 2014, cash and cash equivalents totaled $386.5 million, compared to $223.3 million as of December 31, 2013. During the quarter, the company borrowed $175 million under its revolving credit facility. At the end of the quarter, the company’s outstanding debt under its term facilities and 4.5% senior notes was $789.3 million. During the first quarter, the company purchased approximately 1.2 million shares at an average price of $34.85 per share, for approximately $41.9 million.

Business Outlook for 2014

The company affirmed its guidance for revenue and adjusted net income provided on January 29, 2014:

  • Revenue to range from $945 million to $970 million, or growth of 5% to 8%
  • Adjusted net income to range from $233 million to $243 million, or flat to growth of 4%
  • Adjusted earnings per share to range from $3.64 to $3.80, or growth of 3% to 8%

 

NEUSTAR, INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

(in thousands, except per share data)

Three Months Ended
March 31,
2013 2014
(unaudited)
Revenue $ 216,416 $ 229,897
Operating expense:
Cost of revenue (excluding depreciation and amortization shown separately below) 49,297 58,611
Sales and marketing 42,260 49,991
Research and development 7,484 7,059
General and administrative 21,882 26,291
Depreciation and amortization 24,665 27,640
Restructuring charges 2 4,966
145,590 174,558
Income from operations 70,826 55,339
Other (expense) income:
Interest and other expense (17,562 ) (5,997 )
Interest and other income 141 95
Income before income taxes 53,405 49,437
Provision for income taxes 19,641 17,754
Net income $ 33,764 $ 31,683
Net income per share:
Basic $ 0.51 $ 0.52
Diluted $ 0.50 $ 0.50
Weighted average common shares outstanding:
Basic 66,184 61,240
Diluted 67,614 62,753

NEUSTAR, INC.

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

(in thousands)

December 31, March 31,
2013 2014
(audited) (unaudited)
ASSETS
Current assets:
Cash and cash equivalents $ 223,309 $ 386,453
Restricted cash 1,858 1,785
Accounts receivable, net 152,821 156,660
Unbilled receivables 10,790 9,306
Notes receivable 1,008 406
Prepaid expenses and other current assets 23,914 22,297
Deferred costs 6,324 5,884
Income taxes receivable 7,341
Deferred tax assets 8,774 12,640
Total current assets 436,139 595,431
Property and equipment, net 124,285 124,345
Goodwill 643,038 650,765
Intangible assets, net 275,141 266,975
Other assets, long-term 28,704 27,974
Total assets $ 1,507,307 $ 1,665,490
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY
Current liabilities:
Accounts payable $ 9,620 $ 10,266
Accrued expenses 94,457 63,375
Income taxes payable 10,517
Deferred revenue 54,004 56,508
Notes payable 7,972 7,972
Capital lease obligations 1,894 1,442
Other liabilities 3,580 3,815
Total current liabilities 171,527 153,895
Deferred revenue, long-term 12,061 12,273
Notes payable, long-term 608,292 781,299
Capital lease obligations, long-term 2,419 2,131
Deferred tax liabilities, long-term 82,164 83,605
Other liabilities, long-term 41,270 44,349
Total liabilities 917,733 1,077,552
Stockholders’ equity:
Common stock 87 86
Additional paid-in capital 602,796 619,997
Treasury stock (893,852 ) (902,403 )
Accumulated other comprehensive loss (797 ) (817 )
Retained earnings 881,340 871,075
Total stockholders’ equity 589,574 587,938
Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity $ 1,507,307 $ 1,665,490

Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures

In this press release and in other public statements, Neustar presents certain non-GAAP financial measures. These non-GAAP financial measures have limitations and may not be comparable with similar non-GAAP financial measures used by other companies and should not be considered in isolation from, or as a substitute for, financial information prepared in accordance with GAAP. Set forth below is the reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial measure to its most directly comparable GAAP financial measure. This reconciliation should be carefully evaluated. Prior disclosures of non-GAAP figures may not exclude the same items and as such should not be used for comparison purposes.

Reconciliation of Net Income to Adjusted Net Income

The following is a reconciliation of net income to adjusted net income for the three months ended March 31, 2014 and the year ending December 31, 2014. Management believes that this measure enhances investors’ understanding of the company’s financial performance and the comparability of the company’s operating results to prior periods, as well as against the performance of other companies.

Three Months Ended Year Ending
March 31, 2014 December 31,
2013 2014

2014 (1)

(in thousands, except per share data)
(unaudited)
Revenue $ 216,416 $ 229,897 $ 957,500
Net income $ 33,764 $ 31,683 $ 150,000
Add: Stock-based compensation 8,957 11,726 63,000
Add: Amortization of acquired intangible assets 12,372 14,066 61,000
Add: Loss on debt modification and extinguishment (2) 10,886
Add: Restructuring charges (3) 2 4,966 12,000
Add: Acquisition-related costs (4) 1,580 2,000
Less: Adjustment for provision for income taxes (5) (11,849 ) (11,613 ) (50,000 )
Adjusted net income $ 54,132 $ 52,408 $ 238,000
Adjusted net income margin (6) 25 % 23 % 25 %
Adjusted net income per diluted share $ 0.80 $ 0.84 $ 3.75
Weighted average shares outstanding – diluted 67,614 62,753 63,500
(1) The amounts expressed in this column are current estimates of the results for the full year as of the date of this press release. This reconciliation is based on the midpoint of the revenue guidance.
(2) Amount represents loss on debt modification and extinguishment related to the refinancing of the company’s 2011 credit facility in the first quarter of 2013.
(3) Amount represents restructuring charges related to the termination or relocation of certain employees and the reduction in or closure of leased facilities.
(4) Amounts represent costs incurred by the company in connection with completed acquisitions.
(5) Adjustment reflects the estimated tax effect of tax-deductible adjustments for stock-based compensation expense, amortization of acquired intangible assets, loss on debt modification and extinguishment and acquisition-related costs, based on the effective tax rate for the applicable period.
(6) Adjusted net income margin is a measure of adjusted net income as a percentage of revenue.

 

 

The Sale of .Co To Neustar Closed Today; Offices To Stay In Miami

Although it was announced a few weeks ago, the sale of the  .CO Internet S.A.S to Neustar for $109 million dollars actually just closed today.

According to the MiamiHerald.com, the “Champagne popped and bonuses flowed after .CO Internet closed its chapter as an independent company and became part of the publicly traded Neustar on Monday afternoon.”

“In his first comments to the press about the transaction, Juan Diego Calle, co-founder and former CEO of .CO, said “The timing was right for both sides, Calle said. “We are going from a very regulated environment where there are a limited number of domain extensions into a world where there is essentially an unlimited number of options for consumers,” said Calle, referring to the thousands of new domain name options coming into the marketplace. “There’s this movement by the larger players in the industry to consolidate their positions of power and be market leaders in the new paradigm, and here we are, .CO, the most appealing of the new alternatives, so you can grab that asset and make it your flagship brand.”

“And for us, we were a small company with limited resources, we were profitable, we were growing. In that paradigm with thousands of alternatives, having a public company behind us owning the asset is a huge competitive advantage.

“Calle said Neustar’s plan is to keep the offices – and the jobs – in Miami and Colombia for the forseeable future.  There are 20 full-time employees  going to Neustar, plus a few consultants.”

“All of our employees are getting better jobs than they had at .CO, better benefits … and  everyone got a sizable bonus. Letting them know they were getting the money and celebrating the transaction with them was the highlight of my career from an entrepreneurial standpoint — really very cool,” said Calle, who has been an outspoken proponent of launching and growing companies in Miami.

“Of the co-founders, Calle and Nicolai Bezsonoff, the former COO,  will serve as strategic advisors, managing the integration of the companies. Lori Anne Wardi will remain in the role of vice president, and will continue overseeing the evolution of the .CO brand, as well as help Neustar with  .NYC, New York City’s soon-to-be-launched official domain extension.”

“Jose Rasco will continue as managing director of STRAAT Investments, independent of Neustar. ”

“Eduardo Santoyo, based in Bogota, will continue to lead the Colombia office and all matters relating to government relations and Internet policy.”

“I’m over the moon,” said Wardi on Monday. “This has been our baby, we saw such potential in these two letters and what they would become. … I feel so proud every time I see a .co.”

“Before the sale, STRAAT and the co-founders were planning to open a headquarters and co-working center in the Brickell area that they call Building, and that will still open in September, Calle said. ”

“Building will house the Neustar team as well as other ventures. “The idea of Building is to attract companies in a similar life cycle as .CO. We want to fill the later-stage niche instead of going after the pure startup plays. We are considering whether to expand the concept and to take it to other cities like San Francisco, New York and London. That is a business plan we are going to be actively developing now that we have sold .CO,” he said.

Neustar didn’t  acquire the subsidiary Pop.co, which allows consumers to set up a domain name, email account and website in 60 seconds. Said Calle: “You will see more push from us to build that out. Our goal is to make it one of the leading retail sites. We have a couple of other interesting things brewing, but right now the focus is on integrating .CO into Neustar as seamlessly as possible.”

Congrats to some of my favorite people in the domain space, Juan, Lori Ann, Jose and Nicolai.  An incredible success story achieved by some very hard working, brilliant people that took on the big boys and won the .Co contract from the government of Colombia over Verisign.

Excelente Trabajo.
Nos sentimos muy orgullosos y felices de que nuestros amigos.
Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/the-starting-gate/2014/04/champagne-popped-and-bonuses-flowed-after-co-internet-closed-its-chapter-as-an-independent-company-and-became-part-of-the-pu.html#storylink=cpy

Neustar – 80 % of Local Searches on Mobile Phones Convert

Neustar put out a study and an infographic on the high conversion rates experienced  in local search by those using mobile phones.

Jessica Lee covered this on Search Engine Watch

From the article:

How Local Searches Convert

Four out of five searches via mobile devices lead to a purchase, often within a few hours, the survey said. Compared with other devices, the mobile phone showed the highest conversion rate, with nearly 80 percent of mobile phone searches ending in a purchase.

And, nearly three out of four of those mobile phone searches that converted brought the customer into a brick-and-mortar store.

“This research may be our clearest indication yet of the ongoing maturation of the mobile market,” said Brian Wool, vice president of content distribution at Neustar. He added that consumers “expect a consistent and navigable search functionality that serves up exactly the depth and quality of information they need.”

cross-device-infographic-neustar

The Denver Post Apparently Has Never Heard of Neustar

The Denver Post is not too familiar with Neustar, they referred to the company as “virtually unknown”.

The article  is pertaining to Neustar and their bid to retain a very lucrative contract in the telecom space.

This is the same “virtually unknown” company that just spent $109 to million to buy .CO Internet S.A.S.

The Denver Post doesn’t seem to be aware that Neustar (NSR) is a publicly traded company with a valuation of over $2 Billion dollars based on its closing share price on Friday and operate the .US registry as well.

From the article:

A virtually unknown outfit purchased full page ads in The Denver Post last week trumpeting its “flawless performance” and warning of “a $719 million gamble” tied to switching number portability administrators, a puzzling strategy that left some readers scratching their heads.

That company is Neustar, which is vying for a $460 million-a-year contract to be awarded based, in part, on feedback from several members of Colorado’s telecommunications industry.

The winning vendor would manage a database of more than 500 million telephone numbers in the U.S. and Canada for more than 2,000 carriers and provide the back-end work to ensure consumers can seamlessly take their phone number with them when they switch providers.

Sterling, Va.-based Neustar has served as the administrator of the database since its formation following the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The so-called Number Portability Administration Center was established to help foster competition by allowing consumers to “port” their number from one carrier to another.

Neustar’s contract expires in June 2015. It is competing with Telcordia, owned by Swedish telecom giant Ericsson, for the new, five-year deal. The carriers that tap into the database fund the contract.

“The ads that you’re seeing are part of a campaign to ask the people who are in charge, the people who are managing the RFP (request for proposal), to take a step back and try not to rush things,” Neustar spokeswoman Gayle Kansagor said.

She said it’s largely a Beltway campaign, but the company included Denver because of the area’s significant telecommunications presence.

You would think that the Denver Post would have done a little more research into the company.