Company reports beats, stock jumps 13% in after hours trading

Salesforce (CRM) reported its Q4 earnings after market close, beating key revenue estimates and guiding to profitability gains.

The company’s shares jumped about 13% in after hours trading.

Activists are circling the cloud giant, so this earnings cycle was key. In the company’s earnings call shortly, investors will be closely watching what Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff will have to say in addressing activists’ concerns, especially when it comes to expense management.

Here’s are the key metrics that Salesforce reported today, as compared to analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg:

Q4 2023 revenue: $8.38 billion actual versus $8 billion expected

Q4 2023 adjusted earnings per share (EPS): $1.68 actual versus $1.37 expected

Q4 2023 adjusted operating margin: 29.2% actual versus 22.4% expected

Those margins are especially key – Salesforce’s GAAP operating margin for the quarter came in at 3.3%. Salesforce also clocked a loss of $98 million, up from $28 million the same quarter last year. However, the company’s full-year guidance was a win, coming in at between $34.5 and $34.7 billion.

The company also announced it would increase its share repurchase program to $20 billion.

Salesforce has taken steps to cut costs in recent months, including cutting 10% of its staff back in January. However, it hasn’t exactly been a straight line – for example, the company continues to pay actor Matthew McConaughey about $10 million annually for creative consulting services, according to reporting from The Wall Street Journal.

[Read more: Salesforce’s activist investors: Who are they, and what do they want?]

‘Laser focused’

Benioff needs to put on a show today, convincing company watchers and investors that Salesforce is headed in the right direction, analysts say. These results go a long way, but pleasantries and business-as-usual isn’t going to cut it, wrote Wedbush analyst Dan Ives, who expects investors to be “laser focused” on Benioff’s approach.

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People pass by the Salesforce Tower and offices in New York City, U.S., March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

“Street frustration is not going to be satisfied with the standard cookie-cutter conference call and view into FY24,” according to Ives.

For now, Salesforce is heralding a “new day” the company said in a statement.

“Our relentless focus on execution and proactive management of the current environment allowed us to close out a strong quarter and set us up for a transformational fiscal year 24,” said Salesforce President and CFO Amy Weaver in a statement. “It’s a New Day at Salesforce and as we look ahead, I am excited for the opportunity in front of us as we continue to drive profitable growth.”

Allie Garfinkle is a Senior Tech Reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @agarfinks and on LinkedIn.

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