Why Tableau Software, Inc. Stock Plummeted 55.8% in 2016

Image source: Tableau Software, Inc.

What happened

Shares ofTableau Software Inc.(NYSE: DATA)plunged 55.8%in 2016,according to data provided byS&P Global Market Intelligence, after the data analytics company repeatedly posted disappointing quarterly results.

So what

To be fair, the bulk of Tableau Software's losses came in February, when shares fell a harrowing 48% in a single day -- despite the company's reporting quarterly revenue and earnings that were technically ahead of analysts' consensus estimates. As fellow Fool Evan Niu pointed out at the time, however, Tableau's license revenue was well below expectations, spurring concerns that the company was losing its early edge in the data visualization market to larger competitors. What's more, Tableau reduced its guidance for the full year at the time, calling for 2016 revenue between $830 million and $850 million (a $15 million reduction from both ends of prior guidance).

Fast forward to Tableau's most recent quarterly report in early November 2016 -- which was technically mixed relative to expectations, sending shares down 10% -- and it turns out even that guidance was slightly optimistic. Tableau's latest outlook calls for full-year revenue between $801 million and $811 million, good for 23% year-over-year growth. Largely to blame for its top-line shortfall, according to management, were extended sales cycles on larger deals in the United States and softness in the EMEA region. License revenue also grew a modest 7% last quarter to $116.7 million, while maintenance and services revenue continued to lead the way, rising 46% to $89.4 million.

Now what

To their credit, Tableau's board of directors also authorized a hefty $200 million share repurchase program last quarter. So it should be interesting to see whether the company put that authorization to work during its most recent quarter, the results of which are set to be reported early next month. But in the meantime, given the relative under-performance of Tableau's licensing business, as well as other selected regional weakness, it's no surprise Tableau Software stock fell so hard last year.

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