With Stock Tanking, Box Founder Responds to Complaints

With Stock Tanking, Box Founder Responds to Complaints
Image credit: Box.com

Box's stock price is the victim of confused analysts, CEO Aaron Levie said.

He said Thursday on CNBC's "Closing Bell" that he did not want to overemphasize results' relation to Wall Street expectations, but he did want to set the record straight about his company.
"On every metric in the last quarter—on revenue, on operating income, on billings—we beat the estimates from analysts," Levie said. "So we think we had a great quarter."

Shares in the cloud storage company tanked Thursday—down about 15 percent just before Levie spoke with CNBC, but paring those declines by the market close—after it reported fiscal fourth-quarter results after the bell Wednesday.

Box posted a loss of $1.65 per share, which initially appeared to be a major miss because some consensus estimates called for a loss of about $1.17 per share.

Levie told CNBC Wednesday night, however, that that consensus figure was wrong because some analysts had based their expectations on an incorrect share count. In fact, he said, the actual consensus was for a loss of $1.99—meaning Box topped what Wall Street projected.

Responding to one analyst's complaint that he was being too defensive for a company CEO who just had his first earnings release since going public, Levie said he wanted to make sure Box sets "appropriate expectations."

Still, he said "for the most part, we're just focused on execution."

Box's quarterly revenue easily topped Street projections, rising to $63 million, compared with estimates for $58 million.
The company forecast revenue growth of about 30 percent in the current fiscal year, which would mark a slowdown.

As for another analyst's complaint that Box spends too much on advertising, Levie said that ad spending has fallen as a percentage of revenue, but "our job right now is to go capture as much adoption as possible."

—CNBC's Josh Lipton and Karma Allen contributed to this report.

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