Slack sees slowing revenue growth ahead

Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Slack and Flickr

Mark Neuling | CNBC

Team chat app company Slack on Monday provided guidance on its business for the current quarter, showing it expects slowing revenue growth as it prepares to go public later this month.

Slack said in a statement that for the second quarter of its 2020 fiscal year, which ends on July 31, it expects revenue of $139 million to $141 million. That would be growth of 52% in the middle of the range, a significant slowdown from the 67% annualized growth it reported for the first quarter.

For the full 2020 fiscal year that ends on Jan. 31, 2020, it’s expecting $590 million to $600 million in revenue, which would indicate 49% growth at the middle of the range. For the sake of comparison, for the 2018 fiscal year revenue grew 110%, and in the 2019 fiscal year revenue grew 82%.

Slack is expecting a net loss of 19 cents to 20 cents per share for the quarter and a net loss of 41 cents to 44 cents per share for the year, both figures excluding certain items.

Slack is forecasting calculated billings of $725 million to $745 million for the full fiscal year, or 40% to 44% growth year over year. Calculated billings for the 2018 fiscal year jumped 102%.

Slack’s prospectus became available in April, revealing a record of growing revenues and enduring losses, partly thanks to considerable spending on sales and marketing. Slack competes with Cisco, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, among others.

“While we like Slack’s near-ubiquitous nature, secular tailwinds, rapid growth, and large market opportunity, and our due diligence is very positive, valuation is our sticking point and we would wait for a pullback to get more constructive,” DA Davidson analyst Rishi Jaluria wrote in May as he initiated coverage of Slack with a neutral rating.

Slack is one of a few companies looking to complete a direct listing instead of a more traditional initial public offering with bankers’ assistance. Spotify got attention for the move last year, and Airbnb is reported to be interested in taking the same path.

The company initially wanted to use the ticker symbol “SK” but then said it had gotten approval for the symbol “WORK” instead.

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