Cloudera Is the Latest Cloud Stock Disaster

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Cloud data analytics company Cloudera (NYSE: CLDR) dumped a bunch of bad news on investors Wednesday evening. The company's first-quarter results were mixed relative to expectations, with revenue growth mostly driven by the acquisition of Hortonworks. That acquisition doesn't appear to be living up to expectations so far -- the company slashed its full-year guidance and announced that CEO Tom Reilly was leaving the company.

Cloudera's results and guidance were hurt by some customers' decision to delay renewal and expansion of their agreements. This doesn't look like a company-specific problem -- cloud platform-as-a-service company Pivotal Software, which reported on Tuesday, is having trouble closing deals with new customers.

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Pivotal stock crashed 41% on Wednesday thanks to its own guidance cut, and shares of Cloudera were down around 30% in after-hours trading.

A mixed quarter

Cloudera reported first-quarter revenue of $187.5 million, about $1 million below the average analyst estimate. Revenue was up 81% year over year, but the prior-year period numbers don't include any contribution from Hortonworks. Annualized recurring revenue, which does include pre-merger Hortonworks contracts but excludes some other items, was up just 22% year over year.

Non-GAAP earnings per share were a loss of $0.13, up from a loss of $0.18 in the prior-year period and $0.10 higher than analysts were expecting. On a GAAP basis, the company lost $0.38 per share, worse than a loss of $0.36 per share in the prior-year period.

The revenue shortfall was blamed on customer delays. "While some customers in the first quarter elected to postpone renewal and expansion of their agreements in anticipation of the new platform's release, affecting our full year outlook, this customer feedback and enthusiasm validates demand for enterprise data cloud solutions in our target market," said Reilly, who will stay on as CEO until July 31.

Weak guidance and a management shuffle

Those customer postponements prompted Cloudera to drastically reduce its full-year guidance. Total revenue is now expected between $745 million and $765 million, down from a previous range of $835 million to $855 million. Subscription revenue is expected between $635 million and $645 million, a $60 million reduction compared to previous guidance.

That original guidance was itself a disappointment, far below analyst expectations. Cloudera stock plunged in March following the company's fourth-quarter report, where that guidance was issued.

Annualized recurring revenue growth, which is the closest thing to organic revenue growth Cloudera offers, is now expected between 0% and 10% for the full year. The company had previously called for ARR growth between 18% and 21%.

These customer delays are unlikely to be a short-term issue, based on the scope of Cloudera's guidance cuts. This isn't just a matter of a few deals that slipped into the second quarter. Cloudera's customers may be getting more cautious because of the uncertainty from escalating trade tensions and recession fears.

Cloudera's board of directors will conduct a search for a permanent CEO to replace Reilly. Martin Cole, chairman of the board, will act as interim CEO until that replacement is found. The timing of this move is almost certainly related to the problems affecting the company's full-year outlook. The new CEO will need to find a way to jump-start Cloudera's growth.

With a big guidance cut and turmoil in the C-suite, Cloudera investors should brace themselves for a rough Thursday.

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Timothy Green has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.