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j2 Global Posts Mixed 1Q Earnings

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Yesterday, after the closing bell, j2 Global Inc. (JCOM - Free Report) reported its first-quarter 2013 financial results, with record high quarterly revenues and EBITDA. Management seems more confident about 2013 as it has provided a strong financial outlook. Additionally, the board of directors of j2 Global has increased its quarterly dividend by 3.2% sequentially from 23.25 cents per share to 24.00 cents per share, maintaining its streak of dividend increases for seven consecutive quarters. The new dividend rate implies an 11.6% increase compared with the dividend paid by j2 Global in the second quarter of 2012.

Quarterly GAAP net income came in at $22.9 million or 49 cents per share compared with $28.5 million or 60 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. First-quarter adjusted earnings per share came in at 58 cents as compared with 64 cents in the prior-year quarter. Quarterly total revenue was approximately $113.6 million, as compared to $86.7 million in the prior-year quarter.

j2 Global posted quarterly gross margin of 82.2% compared with 81.7% in the year-ago quarter. Operating expenses in the reported quarter were $60.4 million compared with $33.2 million in the prior-year quarter. Quarterly operating margin was 29.0% compared with 43.4% in the comparable quarter last year. Churn rate, in the first quarter of 2013, was within the annual range of 2.4%.

In the first quarter of 2013, j2 Global generated $40.0million of cash from operations compared with $38.9 million in the year-ago quarter. Free cash flow, in the reported quarter was $38.4 million compared with $38.1 million in the prior-year quarter. At the end of first quarter 2013, j2 Global had around $310.1 million in cash & marketable securities on its balance sheet compared with $343.6 million at the end of 2012. At the end of first-quarter 2013, the company had $245.3 million of debt as compared to $245.2 million at the end of 2012. The debt-to-capitalization ratio increased to 0.286 as compared to 0.291 at the end of 2012.

Financial Outlook

For fiscal 2013, management expects total revenue of $510 - $535 million, while non-GAAP EPS is expected to be within the range of $2.78 - $2.98. Non-GAAP effective tax rate is estimated in the range of 25 - 27%.

Other Stocks to Consider

Besides j2 Global, other stocks in the Internet/Application software industry that are currently performing well include Constant Contact Inc. , Open Text Corp. (OTEX - Free Report) and Commtouch Software Ltd. .While Constant currently has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), both Commtouch and Open Text have a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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