Financial Performance

Twitter May Be Headed for First Profit in Q4

The company's shares jump more than 18% as Q3 earnings top estimates and it forecasts "we will likely be GAAP profitable" in the next quarter.
Matthew HellerOctober 26, 2017

Twitter shares jumped more than 18% on Thursday after the social media platform posted better-than-expected quarterly results and indicated it could turn its first-ever profit in the next quarter.

For the third quarter, Twitter’s revenue fell 4% to $590 million but beat analysts’ estimates of $586.7 million. Twitter attributed much of the decline to “a $7 million sequential headwind” from its decision to wind down its TellApart advertising product.

Net losses narrowed to $21 million, or 3 cents per share, from $103 million, or 15 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding items, Twitter earned 10 cents per share, topping estimates of 6 cents. The bottom line benefited from a 16% cut in GAAP expenses.

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The company also projected that after never having a profitable quarter based on generally accepted accounting principles, “we will likely be GAAP profitable” in the fourth quarter if it hits the high end of its estimates of $220 million to $240 million in adjusted EBITDA.

In trading Thursday, Twitter stock rose 18.8% to $20.37. “This quarter we made progress in three key areas of our business: we grew our audience and engagement, made progress on a return to revenue growth, and achieved record profitability,” CEO Jack Dorsey said in a news release.

Twitter had an average of 330 million monthly active users (MAU) in the third quarter, slightly below forecasts of 330.4 million. The earnings report also disclosed it had incorrectly included 1 to 2 million users of third party app services in its MAU calculations for prior quarters.

Even with the revised MAU figures, Twitter “can claim to have added four million users in the last three months,” Engadget said. “It’s a big deal for a company that has struggled to demonstrate meaningful growth, especially when compared to Facebook.”

Unlike Facebook, Twitter does not report daily active users. “Yes, they grew 4 million MAU sequentially, which is good enough for the stock to stay at current levels … but investors want to see faster MAU growth and some revenue growth,” analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities told the New York Post.