Leaf Group Ltd. Reports Third Quarter 2020 Results

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Oct. 29, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Leaf Group Ltd. (NYSE: LEAF), a diversified consumer internet company, today reported financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2020.(1) These non-GAAP financial measures, and reasons for why the Company believes these non-GAAP financial measures are useful, are described below and reconciled to their most directly comparable GAAP measures in the accompanying tables.Q3 2020 Financial Summary:Until Q3 2020, Leaf Group was comprised of two reporting segments, Marketplaces and Media. With the continued growth of Leaf Group’s Marketplaces segment, Leaf Group has decided to divide the Marketplaces segment into two separate reporting segments, Society6 Group and Saatchi Art Group. Accordingly, as of Q3 2020, Leaf Group is now comprised of three reporting segments: Society6 Group, Saatchi Art Group, and Media Group. Please refer to the accompanying tables for additional information. To assist in the analysis and understanding of the new segment structure, Leaf Group is providing selected recast financial data for each quarter of fiscal year 2019 and the first three quarters of 2020 in its supplemental financial summary, available on the Investor Relations section of Leaf Group’s website, reflecting the new reporting segments. These changes have no impact on Leaf Group’s previously reported consolidated balance sheet, statement of income, or cash flows.For the third quarter of 2020:Total revenue increased 58% year-over-year from $40.0 million to $63.3 million due to a 127% increase in Society6 Group revenue and a 13% increase in Saatchi Art Group revenue, partially offset by a 10% decrease in Media Group revenue.Society6 Group revenue increased 127% year-over-year from $19.2 million to $43.6 million. This increase was primarily attributable to overall Direct-to-Consumer revenue growth of 140%, including 155% growth in the U.S. and 60% growth internationally.Saatchi Art Group revenue increased 13% year-over-year from $4.1 million to $4.7 million. This increase was primarily attributable to strength in the Saatchi Art online marketplace with revenue growth of 68% and the recently-launched The Other Art Fair Online Studios, partially offset by the postponement or cancellation of its live fairs for the third quarter 2020. Media Group revenue decreased 10% year-over-year from $16.7 million to $15.0 million. This decrease was primarily attributable to a 37% decrease in visits, partially offset by a 43% increase in RPV. On a pro forma basis after giving effect to the Hearst Transaction, visits decreased by 22% and RPV increased by 14% year-over-year.(1)Net income was $3.7 million for the quarter, increasing $8.2 million year-over-year, and Adjusted EBITDA was $2.6 million for the quarter, reflecting an improvement of $2.3 million year-over-year. The increase in net income for the quarter is primarily attributable to improved operating performance and the additional $5.5 million gain resulting from the Hearst Transaction.(1)Cash and cash equivalents was $33.0 million at period end with $11.4 million in debt outstanding including $7.1 million from the Paycheck Protection Program and $4.0 million drawn on our revolving credit facility.On a consolidated basis, Leaf Group’s properties reached over 54 million monthly unique visitors in the United States in September 2020 (source: September 2020 U.S. comScore).____________(1) On April 24, 2020, Leaf Group entered into an Asset Sale and Services Agreement with Hearst Newspapers (“Hearst”), pursuant to which the Company sold to Hearst a library of content carried on certain websites that had been hosted by the Company on behalf of Hearst for $9.5 million, of which $4.0 million was paid at signing (the “Hearst Transaction”). The balance of $5.5 million was paid on August 21, 2020, upon completion of the migration of the Hearst Content to servers controlled by Hearst. As of April 25, 2020, the Company is no longer including visits to the sites migrated to Hearst in the Hearst Transaction in its media group metrics.
Unaudited Operating Metrics:
(1) Number of transactions is defined as the total number of Society6 Group transactions successfully completed by a customer during the applicable period.(2) Gross transaction value is defined as the total dollar value of Society6 Group transactions. Gross transaction value is the total amount paid by the customer for a Society6 Group product, which consists of the following elements: the product price, inclusive of the commission payable to the artist, shipping charges, and sales taxes, less any promotional discounts. Gross transaction value does not reflect any subsequent cancellations, refunds or credits and does not represent revenue earned by the Company.(3) Number of transactions is defined as the total number of Saatchi Art Group transactions successfully completed by a customer during the applicable period, excluding certain transactions generated by Saatchi Art’s The Other Art Fair, which include sales of stand space to artists at fairs, sponsorship fees and ticket sales.(4) Gross transaction value is defined as the total dollar value of Saatchi Art Group transactions, excluding the revenue from certain transactions generated by Saatchi Art’s The Other Art Fair, which include sales of stand space to artists at fairs, sponsorship fees and ticket sales. Gross transaction value is the total amount paid by the customer for a Saatchi Art Group product, which consists of the following elements: the product price, inclusive of the commission payable to the artist, shipping charges, and sales taxes, less any promotional discounts. Gross transaction value does not reflect any subsequent cancellations, refunds or credits and does not represent revenue earned by the Company.(5) Number of Art Fairs is defined as in-person art fairs hosted by The Other Art Fair.(6) Media Group Metrics include visits and revenue generated by OnlyInYourState subsequent to its acquisition in February 2019. From April 25, 2020 onwards, Media Group Metrics exclude visits generated by certain domains no longer under our control as a result of the Hearst Transaction.(7) Visits per Google Analytics is defined as the total number of times users access the Company’s content across (a) one of its owned and operated properties and/or (b) one of its customers’ properties, to the extent that the visited customer web pages are hosted by the Company. In each case, breaks of access of at least 30 minutes constitute a unique visit. Additionally, a visit is also considered to have ended at midnight or if a user arrives via one campaign, leaves, and then comes back via a different campaign.(8) RPV is defined as Media Group revenue per one thousand visits.(9) Pro forma Visits and Pro forma Revenue per Visit exclude visits generated by certain domains no longer under our control as a result of the Hearst Transaction for all periods reported. The number of visits is derived from Google Analytics.Shareholder Letter and Conference Call InformationLeaf Group’s detailed Shareholder Letter is available at https://ir.leafgroup.com/investor-overview/quarterly-and-annual-results/default.aspx.Leaf Group will host a corresponding conference call and presentation to answer questions today at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time (2:00 p.m. Pacific time). To access the conference call and presentation, dial 833-502-0482 (U.S./CAN) or 778-560-2575 (International) and reference conference ID 5599376. To participate on the live call, analysts should dial-in at least 10 minutes prior to the commencement of the call. A live webcast also will be available on the Investor Relations section of Leaf Group’s corporate website at http://ir.leafgroup.com and via replay beginning approximately two hours after the completion of the call. The accompanying slide presentation will also be posted to our website at https://ir.leafgroup.com/investor-overview/events-and-presentations/Use of Non-GAAP Financial MeasuresTo supplement its consolidated financial statements, which are prepared and presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America (“GAAP”), Leaf Group uses certain non-GAAP financial measures, as described below. These non-GAAP financial measures are presented to enhance the user’s overall understanding of Leaf Group’s financial performance and should not be considered a substitute for, or superior to, the financial information prepared and presented in accordance with GAAP. The non-GAAP financial measures presented in this release, together with the GAAP financial results, are the primary measures used by the Company’s management and board of directors to understand and evaluate the Company’s financial performance and operating trends, including period-to-period comparisons, because they exclude certain expenses and gains that management believes are not indicative of the Company’s core operating results. Management also uses these measures to prepare and update the Company’s short and long term financial and operational plans, to evaluate investment decisions, and in its discussions with investors, commercial bankers, equity research analysts and other users of the Company’s financial statements. Accordingly, the Company believes that these non-GAAP financial measures provide useful information to investors and others in understanding and evaluating the Company’s operating results in the same manner as the Company’s management and in comparing operating results across periods and to those of Leaf Group’s peer companies.The use of non-GAAP financial measures has certain limitations because they do not reflect all items of income and expense, or cash flows, that affect the Company’s financial performance and operations. An additional limitation of non-GAAP financial measures is that they do not have standardized meanings, and therefore other companies, including peer companies, may use the same or similarly named measures but exclude or include different items or use different computations. Management compensates for these limitations by reconciling these non-GAAP financial measures to their most comparable GAAP financial measures in the tables captioned “Reconciliations of Non-GAAP Financial Measures” included at the end of this release. Investors and others are encouraged to review the Company’s financial information in its entirety and not rely on a single financial measure.The Company defines Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Adjusted EBITDA) as net income (loss) excluding interest (income) expense, income tax expense (benefit), and certain other non-cash or non-recurring items impacting net income (loss) from time to time, principally comprised of depreciation and amortization, stock-based compensation, contingent payments to certain key employees/equity holders of acquired businesses and other payments attributable to acquisition, disposition or corporate realignment activities. Management believes that the exclusion of certain expenses and gains in calculating Adjusted EBITDA provides a useful measure for period-to-period comparisons of the Company’s underlying core revenue and operating costs that is focused more closely on the current costs necessary to operate the Company’s businesses, and reflects its ongoing business in a manner that allows for meaningful analysis of trends. Management also believes that excluding certain non-cash charges can be useful because the amounts of such expenses is the result of long-term investment decisions made in previous periods rather than day-to-day operating decisions.The Company defines Segment Operating Contribution as earnings before corporate or unallocated expenses and also excludes: (a) depreciation expense; (b) amortization of intangible assets; (c) share-based compensation expense; (d) interest and other income (expense); (e) income taxes; and (f) contingent payments to certain key employees/equity holders of acquired businesses. Management believes that the exclusion of certain expenses and gains in calculating Segment Operating Contribution provides a useful measure for period-to-period comparisons of the segment’s underlying revenue and operating costs that is focused more closely on the current costs necessary to operate the segment, and reflects the segment’s ongoing business in a manner that allows for meaningful analysis of trends. Management also believes that excluding certain non-cash charges can be useful because the amounts of such expenses is the result of long-term investment decisions made in previous periods rather than day-to-day operating decisions.The Company defines Free Cash Flow as net cash provided by (used in) operating activities net of cash flows from contingent payments to certain key employees/equity holders of acquired businesses; other payments attributable to acquisition, disposition or corporate realignment activities; purchases of property and equipment; and purchases of intangible assets. Management believes that Free Cash Flow provides investors with useful information to measure operating liquidity because it reflects the Company’s underlying cash flows from recurring operating activities after investing in capital assets and intangible assets. Free Cash Flow is used by management, and may also be useful for investors, to assess the Company’s ability to generate cash flow for a variety of strategic opportunities, including reinvesting in its businesses, pursuing new business opportunities and potential acquisitions, paying dividends and repurchasing shares.About Leaf GroupLeaf Group Ltd. (NYSE: LEAF) is a diversified consumer internet company that builds enduring, creator-driven brands that reach passionate audiences in large and growing lifestyle categories, including fitness and wellness (Well+Good, Livestrong.com and MyPlate App), and home, art and design (Saatchi Art, Society6 and Hunker). For more information about Leaf Group, visit www.leafgroup.com.Cautionary Information Regarding Forward-Looking StatementsThis press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward-looking statements set forth in this press release include, among other things, statements regarding potential synergies achieved from acquisitions, the impact of strategic operational changes and the Company’s future financial performance. In addition, statements containing words such as “guidance,” “may,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “project,” “projections,” “business outlook,” and “estimate” or similar expressions constitute forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from the results predicted, and reported results should not be considered an indication of future performance. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties regarding the Company’s future financial performance; could cause actual results or developments to differ materially from those indicated due to a number of factors affecting Leaf Group’s operations, markets, products and services; and are based on current expectations, estimates and projections about the Company’s industry, financial condition, operating performance and results of operations, including certain assumptions related thereto. Potential risks and uncertainties that could affect the Company’s operating and financial results are described in Leaf Group’s annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2019 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (http://www.sec.gov) on March 16, 2020, as such risks and uncertainties may be updated from time to time in Leaf Group’s quarterly reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, without limitation, information under the captions “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” These risks and uncertainties include, among others: risks associated with political and economic instability domestically and internationally including those resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, which have and could lead to fluctuations in the availability of credit, decreased business and consumer confidence and increased unemployment; the Company’s ability to execute its business plan to return to compliance with the continued listing criteria of the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”); the Company’s ability to continue to comply with applicable listing standards within the available cure period; changes by the Small Business Administration or other governmental authorities regarding the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act of 2020 (the “CARES Act”), the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) or related administrative matters; the Company’s ability to comply with the terms of the PPP loan and the CARES Act, including to use the proceeds of the PPP loan; the Company’s ability to successfully drive and increase traffic to its marketplaces and media properties; changes in the methodologies of internet search engines, including ongoing algorithmic changes made by Google, Bing and Yahoo!; the Company’s ability to attract new and repeat customers and artists to its marketplaces and successfully grow its marketplace businesses; the potential impact on advertising-based revenue from lower ad unit rates, a reduction in online advertising spending, a loss of advertisers, lower advertising yields, increased availability of ad blocking software, particularly on mobile devices and/or ongoing changes in ad unit formats; the Company’s dependence on various agreements with a specific business partner for a significant portion of its advertising revenue; the effects of shifting consumption of media content and online shopping from desktop to mobile devices and/or social media platforms; the Company’s history of incurring net operating losses; the Company’s ability to obtain capital when desired on favorable terms; potential write downs, reserves against or impairment of assets including receivables, goodwill, intangibles (including media content) or other assets; the Company’s ability to effectively integrate, manage, operate and grow acquired businesses; the Company’s ability to retain key personnel; the Company’s ability to prevent any actual or perceived security breaches; the Company’s ability to expand its business internationally; the Company’s ability to generate long-term value for its stockholders; and ongoing actions taken and any future actions that may be taken by activist stockholders. From time to time, the Company may consider acquisitions or divestitures that, if consummated, could be material. Any forward-looking statements regarding financial metrics are based upon the assumption that no such acquisition or divestiture is consummated during the relevant periods. If an acquisition or divestiture were consummated, actual results could differ materially from any forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statement made by the Company in this press release is based only on information currently available to the Company and speaks only as of the date on which it is made. The Company undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking information, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as required by law, and may not provide this type of information in the future.(Tables Follow)
Leaf Group Ltd. and Subsidiaries
Unaudited Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations
(In thousands, except per share amounts)

Leaf Group Ltd. and Subsidiaries
Unaudited Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets
(In thousands)
      Leaf Group Ltd. and Subsidiaries
Unaudited Condensed Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
(In thousands)

Leaf Group Ltd. and Subsidiaries
Unaudited Reconciliations of Non-GAAP Financial Measures
(In thousands)
(1) For the nine months ended September 30, 2020, we had $1.5 million in cost savings, which included temporary salary cuts of our executive team and salaried direct workforce (whose salaries were reinstated effective with payroll paid on June 30, 2020) and compensation cuts and deferrals of compensation of our independent directors (whose cash retainer compensation was reinstated, effective July 1, 2020), neither of which is expected to reoccur.
(2) Represents depreciation expense of the Company’s long-lived tangible assets and amortization expense of its finite-lived intangible assets, including amortization expense related to its investment in media content assets as included in the Company’s GAAP results of operations.
(3) Represents the expense related to stock-based awards granted to employees, as included in the Company’s GAAP results of operations.
(4) Represents such items, when applicable, as (a) legal, accounting and other professional service fees directly attributable to acquisition, disposition or corporate realignment activities, (b) employee severance, (c) contingent payments to certain key employees/equity holders of acquired businesses, and (d) other payments attributable to acquisition, disposition or corporate realignment activities. 

Leaf Group Ltd. and Subsidiaries
Unaudited Reconciliation of Segment Disclosure
(In thousands)
(1) Segment operating contribution reflects earnings before corporate and unallocated expenses and also excludes: (a) depreciation expense; (b) amortization of intangible assets; (c) share-based compensation expense; (d) interest and other income (expense); (e) income taxes; and (f) contingent payments to certain key employees/equity holders of acquired businesses.(2) Strategic shared services include shared operating expenses that are not directly attributable to the operating segments, including: network operations center, marketing, business development, product development, creative, financial systems, quality assurance, software engineering, and information systems. Corporate overhead includes general and administrative support functions that are not directly attributable to the operating segments, including: executive, accounting, finance, human resources, legal, and facilities. Strategic shared services and corporate overhead excludes the following: (a) depreciation expense; (b) amortization of intangible assets; (c) share-based compensation expense; (d) interest and other income (expenses); and (e) income taxes.(3) Strategic shared services and corporate overhead includes $2.1 million and $2.0 million in strategic shared services costs for the three months ended September 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively, and $5.1 million and $5.2 million in corporate overhead for the three months ended September 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Strategic shared services and corporate overhead include $6.0 million and $6.1 million in strategic shared services for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively, and $14.9 million and $16.2 million in corporate overhead for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 and 2019, respectively.(4) Represents such items, when applicable, as (a) legal, accounting and other professional service fees directly attributable to acquisition, disposition or corporate realignment activities, (b) employee severance, and (c) other payments attributable to acquisition, disposition or corporate realignment activities, excluding contingent payments to certain key employees/equity holders of acquired businesses.(5) Represents depreciation expense of the Company’s long-lived tangible assets and amortization expense of its finite-lived intangible assets, including amortization expense related to its investment in media content assets, included in the Company’s GAAP results of operations.(6) Represents the expense related to stock-based awards granted to employees as included in the Company’s GAAP results of operations.(7) Represents such items, when applicable, as (a) legal, accounting and other professional service fees directly attributable to acquisition, disposition or corporate realignment activities, (b) employee severance, (c) contingent payments to certain key employees/equity holders of acquired businesses, and (d) other payments attributable to acquisition, disposition or corporate realignment activities.  
                         
(8) For the nine months ended September 30, 2020, we had $1.5 million in cost savings, which included temporary salary cuts of our executive team and salaried direct workforce (whose salaries were reinstated effective with payroll paid on June 30, 2020) and compensation cuts and deferrals of compensation of our independent directors (whose cash retainer compensation was reinstated, effective July 1, 2020), neither of which is expected to reoccur.


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