LivePerson Tumbles as Customer’s Exit Sours 2013 Outlook

LivePerson Inc., a maker of software that allows businesses to track customers on their websites, tumbled the most in almost 12 years in New York after cutting its forecast for 2013 sales.

Shares of LivePerson plunged 33 percent to an 2 1/2-year low of $8.48 by 12:14 p.m., set for the biggest one-day slump since July 2001. Trading volumes were more than 17 times the daily average over the past three months. LivePerson sank 23 percent in Tel Aviv to a record-low 35.07 shekels, or $9.89.

The loss of a major client lifted LivePerson’s customer attrition rate to 2.9 percent in the first quarter, from 0.9 percent in the last three months of 2012 and this will impact sales for the rest of the year, Chief Financial Officer Daniel Murphy said on a conference call yesterday. The company, which is based in New York and has operations in Tel Aviv, lowered its full-year revenue forecast to as much as $179 million from an earlier projection of up to $186 million, after reporting a first-quarter loss yesterday.

“They lost that major revenue stream, which is worth approximately $5 million,” Mark Schappel, a analyst at Benchmark Co. in New York who rates LivePerson hold, said by phone. “They lowered the guidance, and I’d expect the stock to be down.”

Shappel reduced his price target for LivePerson by 7.7 percent to $12 today.

At least four analysts have downgraded their recommendations on LivePerson since it reported first-quarter results, including Credit Suisse Group AG and Oppenheimer & Co. Of the 15 analysts covering the New York stock, 47 percent rate it hold, 40 percent buy and 13 percent sell, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The Bloomberg Israel-US Equity Index of the largest Israeli companies traded in New York added 0.6 percent to 91.88.

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