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QNST > SEC Filings for QNST > Form 10-Q on 5-Nov-2012All Recent SEC Filings

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Form 10-Q for QUINSTREET, INC


5-Nov-2012

Quarterly Report


ITEM 2. MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with our condensed consolidated financial statements and related notes appearing elsewhere in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC").

This Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q contains "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties, as well as assumptions that, if they never materialize or prove incorrect, could cause our results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. The statements contained in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements are often identified by the use of words such as, but not limited to, "anticipate," "believe," "can," "continue," "could," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "will," "plan," "project," "seek," "should," "target," "will," "would," and similar expressions or variations intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements are based on the beliefs and assumptions of our management based on information currently available to management. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause actual results and the timing of certain events to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, those identified in "Part II -Item 1A. Risk Factors" below, and those discussed in the sections titled "Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements" and "Risk Factors" included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012, filed with the SEC. Furthermore, such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this report. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements.

Management Overview

QuinStreet is a leader in vertical marketing and media online. We have built a strong set of capabilities to engage Internet visitors with targeted media and to connect our marketing clients with their potential customers online. We focus on serving clients in large, information-intensive industry verticals where relevant, targeted media and offerings help visitors make informed choices, find the products that match their needs, and thus become qualified customer prospects for our clients.

We deliver cost-effective marketing results to our clients most typically in the form of a qualified lead or inquiry, or in the form of a qualified click. These leads or clicks can then convert into a customer or sale for clients at a rate that results in an acceptable marketing cost to them. We are typically paid by clients when we deliver qualified leads or clicks as defined by our agreements with such clients. Because we bear the costs of media, our programs must deliver value to our clients and provide for a media yield, or our ability to generate an acceptable margin on our media costs, that provides a sound financial outcome for us. Our general process is:

we own or access targeted media;

we run advertisements or other forms of marketing messages and programs in that media to create visitor responses or clicks through to client offerings;

we match these responses or clicks to client offerings that meet visitor interests or needs, converting visitors into qualified leads or clicks; and

we optimize client matches and media yield such that we achieve desired results for clients and a sound financial outcome for us.

Our primary financial objective has been and remains creating revenue growth from sustainable sources, at target levels of profitability. Our primary financial objective is not to maximize profits, but rather to achieve target levels of profitability while investing in various growth initiatives, as we believe we are in the early stages of a large, long-term market.


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Our Direct Marketing Services, or DMS, business accounted for substantially all of our net revenue in both the three months ended September 30, 2012 and 2011. Our DMS business derives net revenue from fees earned through the delivery of qualified leads and clicks and, to a lesser extent, display advertisements, or impressions. Through a vertical focus, targeted media presence and our technology platform, we are able to deliver targeted, measurable marketing results to our clients.

Our two largest client verticals within our DMS business are education and financial services. Our education client vertical represented 44% of net revenue in each of the three months ended September 30, 2012 and 2011. Our financial services client vertical represented 39% and 41% of net revenue in both the three months ended September 30, 2012 and 2011. Other DMS client verticals, consisting primarily of business-to-business technology, home services and medical, represented 17% and 15% of net revenue in the three months ended September 30, 2012 and 2011, respectively.

In addition, we derived less than 1% of our net revenue in each of the three months ended September 30, 2012 and 2011, from the provision of a hosted solution and related services for clients in the direct selling industry, also referred to as our Direct Selling Services, or DSS, business.

We generated substantially all of our revenue from sales to clients in the United States.

No client accounted for 10% or more of our net revenue in the three months ended September 30, 2012 or 2011.

Trends Affecting our Business

Client Verticals

To date, we have generated the majority of our revenue from clients in our education and financial services client verticals. We expect that a majority of our revenue in fiscal year 2013 will be generated from clients in these two client verticals.

Our education client vertical has been significantly affected by the adoption of regulations affecting for-profit educational institutions over the past several years. The regulations have affected and are expected to continue to affect our clients' businesses and marketing practices, including an overall decrease in our clients' external marketing expenditures and a related decrease in our revenue from this client vertical. The effect of these regulations or any future regulations may continue to result in fluctuations in the volume and mix of our business with these clients.

Our revenue from our financial services client vertical has declined primarily due to changes in a search engine's algorithms which reduced or eliminated traffic from some third-party publishers, volume declines caused by losses of traffic from third-party publishers resulting from acquisitions of media sources by competitors, and increased competition for quality media.

Acquisitions

Acquisitions in Fiscal Year 2013

We completed no acquisitions for the three months ended September 30, 2012.

Acquisitions in Fiscal Year 2012

In February 2012, we acquired certain assets of Ziff Davis Enterprise from Enterprise Media Group, Inc., a New York-based online media and marketing company in the business-to-business technology market, in exchange for $17.3 million in cash, to broaden our registered user database and brand name in the business-to-business technology market.

In August 2011, we acquired 100% of the outstanding equity interests of NarrowCast Group, LLC, or IT BusinessEdge, a Kentucky-based Internet media company in the business-to-business technology market, in exchange for $24.0 million in cash, to broaden our registered user database and media access in the business-to-business technology market.


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During fiscal year 2012, in addition to certain assets of Ziff Davis Enterprise and all of the equity interests of IT BusinessEdge, we acquired eleven other online publishing businesses.

Development and Acquisition of Targeted Media

One of the primary challenges of our business is finding or creating media that is targeted enough to attract prospects for our clients at costs that work for our business model. In order to continue to grow our business, we must be able to continue to find, develop or retain quality targeted media on a cost-effective basis. Our inability to find, develop or retain high quality targeted media has limited, during some periods, and may continue to limit, our ability to generate revenue.

Seasonality

Our results are subject to significant fluctuation as a result of seasonality. In particular, our quarters ending December 31 (our second fiscal quarter) are typically characterized by seasonal weakness. In our second fiscal quarters, there is lower availability of lead supply from some forms of media during the holiday period on a cost effective basis and some of our clients request fewer leads due to holiday staffing. In our quarters ending March 31 (our third fiscal quarter), this trend generally reverses with better lead availability and often new budgets at the beginning of the year for our clients with fiscal years ending December 31.

Basis of Presentation

General

We operate in two segments: DMS and DSS. For further discussion and financial information about our reporting segments, see Note 11 to our condensed consolidated financial statements.

Net Revenue

DMS. Our DMS business generates revenue from fees earned through the delivery of qualified leads, clicks and, to a lesser extent, display advertisements, or impressions. We deliver targeted and measurable results through a vertical focus that we classify into the following client verticals: education, financial services and "other" (which includes business-to-business technology, home services and medical).

DSS. Our DSS business generated less than 1% of net revenue in both the three months ended September 30, 2012 and 2011. We expect DSS to continue to represent an immaterial portion of our business.

Cost of Revenue

Cost of revenue consists primarily of media costs, personnel costs, amortization of acquisition-related intangible assets, depreciation expense and amortization of internal software development costs relating to revenue-producing technologies. Media costs consist primarily of fees paid to website publishers that are directly related to a revenue-generating event and pay-per-click, or PPC, ad purchases from Internet search companies. We pay these Internet search companies and website publishers on a revenue-share, a cost-per-lead, or CPL, cost-per-click, or CPC, and cost-per-thousand-impressions, or CPM, basis. Personnel costs include salaries, stock-based compensation expense, bonuses and employee benefit costs. Personnel costs are primarily related to individuals associated with maintaining our servers and websites, our editorial staff, client management, creative team, compliance group and media purchasing analysts. Costs associated with software incurred in the development phase or obtained for internal use are capitalized, and amortized in cost of revenue over the software's estimated useful life. We anticipate that our cost of revenue will trend with our overall revenue.

Operating Expenses

We classify our operating expenses into three categories: product development, sales and marketing, and general and administrative. Our operating expenses consist primarily of personnel costs and, to a lesser extent, professional services fees, rent and allocated costs. Personnel costs for each category of operating expenses generally include salaries, stock-based compensation expense, bonuses, commissions and employee benefit costs.


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Product Development. Product development expenses consist primarily of personnel costs and professional services fees associated with the development and maintenance of our technology platforms, development and launching of our websites, product-based quality assurance and testing. In this recent period of declining revenues, we are constraining expenses generally. However, we believe that continued investment in technology is critical to attaining our strategic objectives and, as a result, we expect product development expenses to increase in absolute dollars in the future, if and when we return to growth.

Sales and Marketing. Sales and marketing expenses consist primarily of personnel costs and, to a lesser extent, professional services fees, travel costs and advertising. In this recent period of declining revenues, we are constraining expenses generally. However, we expect sales and marketing expenses to increase in absolute dollars as we hire additional personnel in sales and marketing to support our product offerings, if and when we return to growth.

General and Administrative. General and administrative expenses consist primarily of personnel costs of our executive, finance, legal, corporate and business development, employee benefits and compliance, technical support and other administrative personnel, as well as accounting and legal professional services fees and insurance. We expect general and administrative expenses to increase in absolute dollars in future periods as we continue to invest in corporate infrastructure and expanding our business internationally, including increased legal and accounting costs.

Interest and Other Income (Expense), Net

Interest and other income (expense), net, consists primarily of interest expense, other income and expense and interest income. Interest expense is related to our credit facility, interest rate swap and promissory notes issued in connection with our acquisitions, and includes imputed interest on non-interest bearing notes. Borrowings under our credit facility, and the aggregate principal amount of outstanding promissory notes, and related interest expense could increase if we make additional acquisitions through debt financing. Interest income represents interest earned on our cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities, which may increase or decrease depending on market interest rates and the amounts invested.

Other income (expense), net, includes foreign currency exchange gains and losses and other non-operating items.

Income Tax Expense

We are subject to tax in the United States as well as other tax jurisdictions or countries in which we conduct business. Earnings from our limited non-U.S. activities are subject to local country income tax and may be subject to U.S. income tax.

Critical Accounting Policies, Estimates and Judgments

In presenting our consolidated financial statements in conformity with U.S. generally accepting accounting principles, or GAAP, we are required to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenue, expenses and related disclosures.

Some of the estimates and assumptions we are required to make relate to matters that are inherently uncertain as they pertain to future events. We base these estimates and assumptions on historical experience or on various other factors that we believe to be reasonable and appropriate under the circumstances. On an ongoing basis, we reconsider and evaluate our estimates and assumptions. Actual results may differ significantly from these estimates.

We believe that the critical accounting policies listed below involve our more significant judgments, assumptions and estimates and, therefore, could have the greatest potential impact on our consolidated financial statements.

Revenue recognition;

Stock-based compensation;

Valuation of goodwill and intangible assets;

Valuation of long-lived assets; and

Income taxes.


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There have been no material changes to our critical accounting policies, estimates and judgments disclosed in our Annual Report on Form 10-K subsequent to June 30, 2012, except for our test for impairment of goodwill discussed below. For further information on our critical and other significant accounting policies and estimates, see Part II, Item 7 "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operation" of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 30, 2012, filed with the SEC.

Recently Issued Accounting Standards

See Note 2 to our condensed consolidated financial statements.

Results of Operations

The following table sets forth our consolidated statement of operations for the
periods indicated ($ in thousands):



                                                Three Months Ended September 30,
                                               2012                         2011
   Net revenue                         $ 78,626        100.0 %     $ 101,224        100.0 %
   Cost of revenue (1)                   65,190         82.9          75,748         74.8

   Gross profit                          13,436         17.1          25,476         25.2
   Operating expenses: (1)
   Product development                    4,893          6.2           6,074          6.0
   Sales and marketing                    3,691          4.7           4,034          4.0
   General and administrative             3,926          5.0           5,217          5.2

   Operating income                         926          1.2          10,151         10.0
   Interest income                           28          0.0              38          0.0
   Interest expense                      (1,012 )       (1.3 )        (1,083 )       (1.1 )
   Other income (expense), net               46          0.1             (31 )       (0.0 )

   (Loss) income before income taxes        (12 )       (0.0 )         9,075          9.0
   Provision for taxes                     (125 )       (0.2 )        (3,581 )       (3.5 )

   Net (loss) income                   $   (137 )       (0.2 )%    $   5,494          5.4 %

(1) Cost of revenue and operating expenses include stock-based compensation expense as follows:

            Cost of revenue              $  923       1.2 %    $  1,179       1.2 %
            Product development             693       0.9           660       0.7
            Sales and marketing             765       1.0           779       0.8
            General and administrative      389       0.5           756       0.7


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Net Revenue



                                    Three Months Ended          Three
                                       September 30,           Months
                                    2012          2011        % Change
                                      (in thousands)
                Net revenue       $  78,626     $ 101,224           (22 %)
                Cost of revenue      65,190        75,748           (14 %)

                Gross profit      $  13,436     $  25,476           (47 %)

Net revenue decreased $22.6 million, or 22%, for the three months ended September 30, 2012, compared to the three months ended September 30, 2011. Our education client vertical revenue decreased $9.7 million, or 22%, for the three months ended September 30, 2012, compared to the three months ended September 30, 2011, as a result of our education clients purchasing fewer inquiries due, in part, to uncertainty surrounding new regulations affecting for-profit educational institutions. Our financial services client vertical revenue decreased $11.6 million, or 28%, for the three months ended September 30, 2012, compared to the three months ended September 30, 2011, due to lower volumes resulting from reduced availability of quality publisher media. Our other client verticals revenue decreased $1.3 million, or 8%, for the three months ended September 30, 2012, compared to the three months ended September 30, 2011, primarily due to decreased client demand in our home services client vertical and partially offset by increased revenue in our business-to-business technology client vertical as a result of our acquisitions of IT BusinessEdge and certain assets of Ziff Davis Enterprise in fiscal year 2012.

Cost of Revenue

Cost of revenue decreased $10.6 million, or 14%, for the three months ended September 30, 2012, compared to the three months ended September 30, 2011, driven by decreased media costs of $11.4 million due to lower lead and click volumes and decreased personnel costs of $0.5 million, partially offset by increased amortization of acquisition-related intangible assets of $1.1 million. The decreased personnel costs were attributable to a reduction in average headcount. Gross margin, which is the difference between net revenue and cost of revenue as a percentage of net revenue was 17% for the three months ended September 30, 2012 compared to 25% for the three months ended September 30, 2011. Gross margin declined by 8%, primarily driven by an increase as a percent of net revenue in personnel and other fixed costs, and higher amortization expenses.

Operating Expenses



                                          Three Months Ended          Three
                                             September 30,           Months
                                           2012          2011       % Change
                                            (in thousands)
           Product development          $    4,893     $  6,074           (19 %)
           Sales and marketing               3,691        4,034            (9 %)
           General and administrative        3,926        5,217           (25 %)

           Operating expenses           $   12,510     $ 15,325           (18 %)

Product Development Expenses

Product development expenses decreased $1.2 million, or 19%, for the three months ended September 30, 2012, compared to the three months ended September 30, 2011. This was primarily due to decreased personnel costs of $0.9 million resulting from a reduction in average headcount and increased capitalized software expenses of $0.1 million.


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Sales and Marketing Expenses

Sales and marketing expenses decreased $0.3 million, or 9%, for the three months ended September 30, 2012, compared to the three months ended September 30, 2011. This was primarily due to decreased personnel costs of $0.2 million resulting from a reduction in average headcount.

General and Administrative Expenses

General and administrative expenses decreased $1.3 million, or 25%, for the three months ended September 30, 2012, compared to the three months ended September 30, 2011. This was primarily due to decreased legal costs of $0.5 million related to ongoing litigation, decreased direct acquisition costs of $0.2 million related to acquisitions and decreased personnel costs of $0.2 million resulting from a reduction in average headcount.

Interest and Other Income (Expense), Net



                                                Three Months Ended           Three
                                                   September 30,             Months
                                                2012           2011         % Change
                                                  (in thousands)
   Interest income                            $      28      $     38             (26 %)
   Interest expense                              (1,012 )      (1,083 )            (7 %)
   Other income (expense), net                       46           (31 )          (248 %)

   Interest and other income (expense), net   $    (938 )    $ (1,076 )           (13 %)

Interest and other income (expense), net decreased $0.1 million, or 13% for the three months ended September 30, 2012, compared to the three months ended September 30, 2011, primarily due to decreased debt obligations in the three months ended September 30, 2012.

Provision for Taxes

Three Months Ended Three
September 30, Months
2012 2011 % Change
(in thousands)

Provision for taxes $ 125 $ 3,581 (97 %)

We calculated our corporate tax expense based on applying the rules of FIN 18 and calculated the annual effective tax rate for the year and then applied that to the quarterly pre-tax book income. We estimate our annual effective tax rate to be 42%. This differs from the annual statutory rate of 35% due to various permanent differences most significantly stock based compensation. The current quarter tax expense was determined based on applying the estimated annual effective rate to the pre-tax book loss and applying the impact of the discrete reporting of stock based compensation incurred during the three months ended September 30th, 2012.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

Our principal sources of liquidity as of September 30, 2012, consisted of cash and cash equivalents of $64.4 million, short-term marketable securities of $39.1 million, cash we expect to generate from operations, and our $200.0 million revolving credit facility, which is committed until November 2016, all of which is available to be drawn, subject to compliance with applicable covenants. Our cash and cash equivalents are maintained in highly liquid investments with remaining maturities of 90 days or less at the time of purchase. We believe our cash equivalents are liquid and accessible.


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Our short-term and long-term liquidity requirements primarily arise from our working capital requirements, debt service on our $100.0 million term loan and acquisitions from time to time. Our primary operating cash requirements include the payment of media costs, personnel costs, costs of information technology systems and office facilities. Our ability to fund these requirements will depend on our future cash flows, which are determined by future operating performance and are, therefore, subject to prevailing global macroeconomic conditions and financial, business and other factors, some of which are beyond our control, and also our ability to access our credit facility. Even though we may not need additional funds, we may still elect to obtain additional debt or equity securities or draw down on or increase our borrowing capacity under our current credit facility for other reasons.

We believe that our existing cash, cash equivalents, short-term marketable securities, cash generated from operations and our available borrowings under the credit facility will be sufficient to satisfy our currently anticipated cash requirements through at least the next 12 months.

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