Intuit Plans to Sell Quicken to Focus on Tax, Small Business

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Intuit Inc. unveiled plans to sell three units, including its well-known Quicken home-accounting software, as it forecast sales and earnings that trailed analysts’ estimates.

The company plans to sell the businesses, which also include Demandforce and QuickBase, to shift resources toward small businesses and handling taxes in the U.S. and Canada, the company said in a statement Thursday.

Intuit said earnings excluding some items should be $3.40 to $3.45 a share for the current fiscal year, while analysts anticipated $3.82 on average. Revenue will be $4.52 billion to $4.6 billion, compared with estimates of $5.04 billion.

“It appears that new Quickbooks Online customers are not generating as much revenue as previous desktop customers and so the transition online is not going as smoothly as the company was hoping for,” said Gil Luria, an analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc. “The divestitures are typical of Intuit constantly re-evaluating their portfolio and getting rid of non-core businesses.”

The company’s shares declined 2.9 percent in extended trading in New York after earlier dropping 3.1 percent to $102.93 at the close.

Intuit is trying to bolster growth by focusing on its main businesses after weathering a difficult tax season for its popular software. This year, the company faced challenges when it alienated some customers by changing the pricing of some of its widely used products and temporarily halting state-tax processing after its service was used to file a large number of fraudulent returns.

Long-Term Payoff

“We are investing in the areas with the biggest long-term payoff, setting Intuit up for strong customer and revenue growth for fiscal 2016 and beyond,” Brad Smith, Intuit’s president and chief executive officer, said in the statement.

The divestitures will reduce fiscal-year revenue by $250 million and earnings per share by drop 10 cents, Intuit said.

Quicken provides personal finance tools while QuickBase helps developers build applications. Demandforce helps better manage marketing and customer communications.

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