NetScout Systems’ short- and long-term future were thrown into doubt as company management admitted its recently completed fiscal quarter will not meet expectations. The news sent the company’s stock to a sad place and has analysts considering the company’s future.
NetScout management reduced expectations for its third quarter of fiscal 2018 and for the full fiscal year. CEO Anil Singhal cited a number of issues including a “substantial decline” in spending from its largest Tier-1 service provider customer and challenges in the enterprise sales cycle.
“We are unable to achieve our targets as service provider capital spending in North America remains under significant pressure; we experience lengthening enterprise sales cycles as our customers grapple with major digital transformation initiatives and related changes to their technology architectures; and we face funding delays for multiple large federal government projects,” Singhal explained.
Dmitry Netis, from financial analyst firm William Blair, in a research note named Verizon as the Tier-1 carrier in question.
The news sunk NetScout’s stock, which hit a new 52-week low early Thursday of $25.85 per share. NetScout is scheduled to announce fiscal third-quarter results on Jan. 30.
The third-quarter shortfall is not the first for the vendor this fiscal year. NetScout came up short of expectations during its fiscal first quarter, citing that same issue of reduced spending from a Tier-1 carrier. Singhal at that time signaled confidence that the company would be able to turn around operations through the second half of its fiscal year.
NetScout had a relatively stable second quarter, which resulted in the company reiterating full-year guidance for a slight uptick in revenues compared to the previous fiscal year.
During this period, NetScout added the ability to run its network packet broker software on any open networking compute platform. Previously, its Packet Flow System product line was limited to the company’s own custom hardware.
However, its struggles continued. Revenue guidance is now for flat to slightly down results for fiscal 2018 compared with fiscal 2017.
“As a company that has prided itself on building a long-term track record of setting and achieving key financial, strategic, technology and operational objectives, our revised fiscal year 2018 outlook is disappointing,” Singhal noted in a statement.
Viavi was seen as benefiting from improvements in the instruments side of the business. Netis did note that a combination of Viavi’s expansion interests and NetScout’s continued struggles could lead to a possible consolidation opportunity between the two.
Radcom, on the other hand, has been bolstered by growing use of software and virtualization. Netis specifically cited a connection to work by Verizon in migrating its architecture to network functions virtualization (NFV).
“We surmise Radcom landed Verizon as a customer last quarter with an initial order worth up to $10 million,” Netis wrote. “Verizon should also accelerate follow-on orders throughout 2018, in our view.”