Updated from 9:16 a.m. EDT
is going to miss its first-quarter targets by the proverbial mile.
Wall Street punished the stock, sending it down 84 cents, or 9.2%, to $8.31 Wednesday morning.
Revenue in the March quarter will range from $297 million to $300 million; Wall Street was expecting $337.48 million. The miss is so large that even the lowest estimate on Thomson First Call -- $319.9 million -- was higher than the top of the range.
Discounting acquisition charges, net income will range from $2 million to $4 million, or break even to 1 cent a share. Analysts were projecting a profit of 5 cents per share. Including an $11 million charge for the acquisition of
, the company is expected to lose $7 million to $9 million, or 1 cent to 2 cents a share.
CEO Michael Lawrie made no excuses for the miss. He blamed it on "poor execution, including my own," and a near meltdown of sales of new software licenses, a key metric of growth. Instead of the $100 million to $120 million expected by the company, license revenue will be about $75 million.
Clearly angry, Lawrie said the company will focus on profitability in the immediate future, and he promised to cut costs and reduce -- or eliminate -- lines of business that have not performed well. Lawrie said he will detail the cuts when the company reports final earnings for the quarter on April 27, and he indicated that some managers whose teams did not meet expectations will be replaced.
"We won't change strategy, but shareholder value is absolutely critical to Siebel. We will act immediately to improve and protect profitability," Lawrie said during a conference call with analysts after the announcement.
The most positive news in the announcement came when Lawrie blamed poor execution -- rather than a general decline in software demand -- for the miss and said there was nothing to indicate that his company couldn't get back on track in the second quarter.
Several major deals that were expected to close in the quarter did not. In fact there were just 22 deals over $1 million in the quarter, down from 29 deals of the same size a year ago. Asked if some of those deals were simply lost, Lawrie said, "No," and he expects them to close in the second quarter or the back half of the year.
Lawrie added that other parts of the business were solid, including CRM on-demand, which is going head to head with
. He also noted that "services and maintenance revenue continue solid growth in the quarter."