I'm also willing to give the company the benefit of the doubt for growing new software licenses and cloud software subscription revenue by 5%. In my earnings preview, I had modeled for only 3.5% to 4% growth. In that regard, while the overall revenue performance combined with second-quarter guidance failed to inspire much confidence, investors shouldn't discount the implications of Oracle's sequential improvement.
What's more, while it does seem as if Salesforce and the like are running "growth laps" around Oracle, they have never been able to match Oracle's strong profitability, including an 8% year-over-year growth in GAAP net income. Not to mention, a GAAP operating cash flow that has now advanced to close to $15 billion during the trailing 12 months.
By contrast, while the Street continues to reward Salesforce's stock with higher valuations on the heels of its 31% revenue growth, Salesforce continues to show weaker leverage, including 2% year-over-year decline in non-GAAP operating margin, while gross margin contracted by roughly 50 basis points. In that regard, I believe it's pointless to continue to assess Oracle's performances relative to Salesforce.com or even Workday.
I've said this before and it's certainly worth repeating here, Oracle is a "bottom-line performer." What I mean by this is, nobody should be buying Oracle's stock today for growth -- that's not what the company is anymore. Yes, the growth has slowed. But it's not a situation where Oracle is falling behind in the cloud and/or succumbing to pressure. It's time that investors adjust their expectations.It's not as if management doesn't understand the company's total addressable market, which also includes software, hardware and services, is changing. As with Cisco (CSCO), Oracle has been working to diversify its business. This is why Oracle's recent deals, including the company's $2.1 billion acquisition of Acme Packet (APKT) and shortly thereafter buying network vendor Tekelec, deserves more time. At around $34 per share, I believe this is still one of the best companies on the market. The company's strong cash position, which includes roughly $40 billion on the books, will continue to present management with plenty of options and opportunities to grow its market. Oracle is a stock for the long-term investor. To the extent that management can synergize its recent transactions without disrupting Oracle's core business, this stock should reach $40 per share in the next 12 months. At the time of publication, the author held no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Follow @saintssense This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
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