Rosetta Stone's (RST) CEO Stephen Swad on Q2 2014 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

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Rosetta Stone (NYSE:RST)

Q2 2014 Earnings Call

August 05, 2014 5:00 pm ET


Steve Somers - Vice President of Corporate Development, Investor Relations & Treasury

Stephen M. Swad - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Thomas M. Pierno - Chief Financial Officer and Principal Accounting Officer


Nick Nikitas - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division

Matt Blazei - Lake Street Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Peter P. Appert - Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division

Joseph D. Janssen - Barrington Research Associates, Inc., Research Division


Greetings, and welcome to the Rosetta Stone, Inc. Second Quarter 2014 Financial Results Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. It is now my pleasure to introduce your host, Steve Somers, IR for Rosetta Stone, Inc. Thank you, Mr. Somers, you may begin.

Steve Somers

Good afternoon, and let me welcome you to Rosetta Stone's second quarter 2014 earnings call. I'm Steve Somers, Vice President of Corporate Development and Investor Relations. And I'm joined today by Steve Swad, Rosetta Stone's President and CEO; and Tom Pierno, our CFO, to discuss the operations and financial results for the second quarter and our outlook.

In addition to our commentary, we have made our 2Q14 earnings results press release and a slide deck supporting this webcast available on our IR website at Please review them to find important additional information.

There are or will be forward-looking statements in our press release, slides and conversation today. We offer these statements under the safe harbor provided by U.S. law. Of course, risks and uncertainty is attached to any forward-looking statement. A detailed discussion of such risks and uncertainties is contained in our Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013, filed with the SEC in March 2014, which is available on the Investor Relations section of our website.

We ask that you review those risk factors before making any investment decision. Please note, these forward-looking statements reflect our opinions only as of the date of this presentation, and we undertake no obligation to provide or publicly release the results of any revision to the forward-looking statements in light of new information or future events.

We also use non-GAAP numbers in our presentation. The definition of those numbers and their reconciliation to GAAP numbers are available in today's press release, on our website and as filed with the SEC today on Form 8-K.

Now here's Steve.

Stephen M. Swad

Thanks, Steve, and welcome, everyone. Second quarter performance reflected the continuation of our transformation. Most importantly, the quarter highlighted solid progress on our strategic focus to grow our Enterprise & Education business, which we call E&E. In addition, we made meaningful operational progress around initiatives that enable sales of more than one product to our customers. These initiatives will lead to the consumer business stabilizing and modestly growing incoming quarters.

On the E&E side of the business, we continue to move towards higher-quality SaaS-based recurring revenue. That business grew 73% on a reported basis and 8% on a pro forma basis, which assumes we purchased Tell Me More and Lexia at the beginning of 2013. This was the biggest E&E bookings quarter in the company's history. Importantly, both the Literacy and Language side of the business produced positive pro forma growth year-over-year on a more efficient cost base. For the 6-month period, that business has generated almost $48 million of bookings, up about 70% over last year and represents 40% of the $115 million full year target we laid out at the beginning of this year. This is encouraging progress, given that Q3 is E&E's seasonally biggest quarter. Also, this marks the first full quarter where we have both Tell Me More and Lexia as part of the company. And I feel pretty good about where we stand with both of these businesses.

In the second quarter, we completed the refresh of the Tell Me More product including all of the mobile applications. We also re-branded all of our products, including Tell Me More, giving us a comprehensive set of language solutions that we offer consistently around the globe. The Tell Me More solution is now called Rosetta Stone Advantage within the expanded suite of language-learning products, while TOTALe has been renamed as Rosetta Stone Foundations in the E&E segment, reflecting its suitability for beginning learners.

Even before the introduction of unified branding and product feel, we have seen the benefits of a more complete and robust portfolio. We were very pleased to win a 7-figure multi-year deal in the U.S. K-12 vertical that was originally sourced by Tell Me More and closed jointly with the now combined Rosetta Stone team. I'm convinced that the expanded product set will enable us to participate in many more large comprehensive deals, which were not available to us a year ago because our product portfolio was not as robust as it is now.

Overall, in terms of integration and progress, we have met or exceeded our expectations for the Tell Me More transaction. This gives us confidence for the continued acceleration of growth in the second half so that we exit the year at double-digit rates in the E&E Language business.

Our E&E Literacy business, which is Lexia, again produced really impressive results. Growth was again near 35%, reflecting the growing recognition and acceptance of the Core5 reading product in the K-12 market. We rolled out additional apps for Core5 in the quarter, making the product more accessible to teachers and students, and began developing a reading assessment product in partnership with the Florida Center for Reading Research, the leading center of its kind in the country.

We've now owned Lexia for a year, and we're very happy with the progress and contribution from this acquisition. The addition of Lexia has elevated Rosetta Stone's capabilities, which we are leveraging to deliver a Kids Reading offering at the end of 2014 to the consumer market. In summary, the E&E business is performing well and gathering momentum for a strong second half of the year.

On the North American consumer side, results were lower-than-expected, principally due to continued headwinds from lower retail and call center sales. Our strategy on the consumer side is to leverage the power and recognition of the Rosetta Stone brand. This means selling new products to our growing customer base. We are just beginning to build momentum and executing against this strategy, with sales of our newly acquired Fit Brains product. In the fourth quarter, we'll introduce a new reading product for kids. These new products, along with our world-class set of Language products, will enable us to sell more than one product to our customer base, thereby gaining efficiencies in our marketing spend as we generate additional sales to revitalize this business.

During the quarter, we made strides toward expanding the customer ecosystem, which now has a user base of 9.5 million, and we increased our presence in the App Store with over 4 million Fit Brain downloads this year in a sharp pick up in downloads of Rosetta Stone Course app, which were over 1.2 million in the first half of this year. This is important because it gives us a low-cost touch with customers and a solid base to offer our full suite of products.

With Fit Brains, we introduced a high-end browser-based product to go along with our suite of mobile apps. This has the effect of significantly increasing Fit Brains ARPU and going head-to-head against market leader, Lumosity. In addition, we also launched a new version of our website that enables sales and marketing of multiple products, which now represent a storefront for our company, in a place where millions of people come each year. Improving the conversion of this traffic is key to the strategy.

With the significant pullback from Asia, the Rest of World Consumer business is performing pretty much as expected with more streamlined operations.

From a financial results perspective, we again generated results that were within our guidance for both bookings and adjusted EBITDA. Even with the softer-than-expected results in North America Consumer, growth on the E&E side balanced that out, enabling us to meet our guidance.

As I look at the remainder of the year, I have the following 2 priorities: first, continue growing the E&E business, keep the trends that you're seeing in this quarter moving forward, with growth in Language accelerating as we continue to digest the Tell Me More business and at least high-teen growth from Lexia.

Second, stabilize the consumer business with the refresh of our media messaging and improved segmentation to strengthen our Language business, while also introducing sales of Fit Brains and Kids Reading into the mix.

Before I turn the call over to Tom, let me provide a high-level view of what we've accomplished since 2012. Because we've made a lot of changes to the business, the strides we've made sometimes get lost in all the activity, and I think a brief summary would be helpful. This isn't meant to be an exhaustive list but a representative list of a few key items.

We've put greater emphasis on our E&E segment, which has more predictable recurring revenues. This has included changing the go-to-market model to a hunter/farmer approach, investing in sales force talent, and deploying systems to manage the pipeline, renewals and commissions in a more disciplined way. We increased E&E through the acquisition of Lexia and Tell Me More, almost doubling the size of this segment to $115 million. We revamped our product organization to make sure we've got the right type of product development, talents and skill sets. This has helped -- moved us to be more agile and flexible.

This remaking also involves the acquisition of Livemocha and its platform capabilities to power the next generation of products. We streamlined our international operations in Asia, better aligning our costs with our areas of focus and opportunities. We've expanded our consumer product delivery options to be focused more online and digital, including shifting distribution by shuttering the kiosk channel and developing new partner relationships. And we've expanded beyond language into Literacy and Brain Fitness with the aim of leveraging the power and equity of the Rosetta Stone brand.

In summary, there's been a lot of positive actions taken in the business to reposition the company. Not all of the benefits of these actions have yet evidenced themselves in the financial results, as we are still in the early stages in many cases. But we are on a path to move this business forward, helping us achieve our financial and strategic goals this year and beyond.

Now here's Tom.

Thomas M. Pierno

Thanks, Steve, and good afternoon, everyone. Financial results in the second quarter were in line with our guidance for the quarter, with bookings of $69 million versus guidance of $68 million to $72 million, and breakeven adjusted EBITDA compared with guidance of negative $2 million to positive $2 million.

In terms of guidance for the segments, we achieved 73% E&E bookings growth versus guidance of 55% to 75%, while pro forma bookings growth for Lexia was 38% versus mid-teens guidance, and pro forma E&E Language growth of 2% met our guidance of flat to positive growth. Where we were off was in North America Consumer, which was down 10% versus guidance of flat-to-down single-digit percents. Rest of World Consumer was in line with our guidance. Overall, compared with guidance, we were comfortably within our ranges and have been generally tracking towards our full-year guidance. Because this is the last quarter in which we are comping the closure of the kiosk channel in North America, there is still about $600,000 of Kiosk bookings in the second quarter 2013 results.

Total consolidated bookings in the second quarter of $69 million were up 9% versus the prior year, primarily reflecting the acquisitions of Lexia and Tell Me More in the E&E segment, offset in part by decreases in consumer. Our reported E&E segment bookings grew 73% versus a year ago due to the aforementioned acquisitions. Within E&E, Language grew 35% on a reported basis to $22.9 million versus $16.9 million a year ago. On a pro forma basis, assuming we had owned Tell Me More a year ago, growth was positive 2% in the quarter. This result represented sequential improvement in growth rate and was consistent with guidance of flat to positive pro forma growth for the quarter. It is also consistent with our plan that growth would be lower in the first half due to integration disruption with Tell Me More, with accelerating growth through the second half of the year, as that disruption wanes and the combined team becomes more effective.

Steve made mention of a large multi-year deal that we closed in the second quarter, which we view as a strong sign of acceptance in the market for our portfolio of solutions and what we think is a positive indication of things to come.

On the Literacy side, Lexia delivered $6.3 million of bookings and pro forma growth of 38%, well ahead of our mid-teens percentage guidance. This growth reflects the strong reception in the marketplace for the Core5 reading product and the rapid adoption of the subscription model.

In our North America Consumer segment, bookings were $34.8 million, down $4.5 million or 12% from a year ago, or down 10% excluding Kiosk. The business continues to be impacted by softness in retail, which was down $3.2 million or 32%, and lower call center volume, reflecting changes in consumer purchase behavior and changes to our media mix away from this channel. Web channel growth was up slightly, reflecting overall higher volume compared with the year ago, but was largely offset by lower pricing. Partially offsetting the decrease in the North America Consumer Language business was a $1.2 million contribution from Fit Brains, which reflected over 100% growth on a pro forma basis. In the Rest of World Consumer segment, bookings were down 27% to $5 million in the quarter versus $6.9 million a year ago, and was consistent with our expectation for bookings to be down about 25%. This decrease was driven by our Asia markets, following our decision, in the first quarter, where we shut down our company-owned operations in Japan and moved to a third-party model and downsize Korea to focus more on our proctor-assisted Learning channel. We anticipate that decreases will ease in the back of the year to meet our guidance of flat-to-down 10% on a full year basis.

In looking at our consumer product unit and paid online learner metrics, total product units decreased 12% to 130,000 units, compared with 149,000 units a year ago. While still down in aggregate, on an adjusted basis, taking into account the effect of the closure of Kiosk in Japan on units, units were down 10%. The year-over-year decrease reflects decreases in the retail and call center channels in North America, as well as lower Rest of World volume in the U.K. and Korea.

Average revenue per product unit, or ARPU, decreased 13% to $238 from $275 in last year's second quarter. Paid online learners grew 27% to 108,000 at the end of the quarter, while monthly ARPU declined $19 -- to $19 compared with $25 a year ago, due to lower pricing and introduction of longer-term plans at lower monthly rates. Revenue from paid online learners was down 7% to $5.8 million from last year.

Consumer revenues from online learners and digital offerings moved up to 43%, compared with 42% in the first quarter of 2014, and were up from 25% a year ago. Adjusted EBITDA on the quarter was essentially breakeven, which was in the middle of our guidance and compares to $3.7 million a year ago. Compared with the second quarter of 2013, the decrease in adjusted EBITDA, primarily, reflects the lower contribution from North America Consumer, partially, offset by an increase in contribution from E&E. The lower contribution from North America Consumer is primarily due to the $4.5 million of lower bookings in the quarter, mostly from the retail channel, combined with higher sales and marketing costs of approximately $2.4 million. The net effect is a $6.5 million decrease in segment contribution from North America Consumer. This was partially offset by a $3.7 million increase in segment contribution from E&E.

The improvement in E&E segment contribution is starting to reflect efficiencies in the business, resulting from higher sales productivity from a smaller combined sales force.

Contribution from our Rest of World Consumer segment was negative $800,000, flat with a year ago, as softness in Europe offset improvements from the rightsizing of our Asia operations. As we have completed many of the operational changes in the business, including workforce realignment, closing the kiosk channel, space consolidations and winding down our integration activities over the past year, our one-time adjustments to EBITDA are now starting to get smaller, and we were $600,000 compared with $2.5 million in the second quarter 2013 and $8 million in the first quarter of 2014. While we still expect to incur some additional onetime charges from remaining integration activities, the bulk of these items are now behind us for this year.

We ended the quarter with $46.8 million of cash on the balance sheet, compared with $56 million at March 31, 2014, and continue to have no debt. As a reminder, we have said that June and July are our seasonal low points for cash during the year with all of our cash generation to come in the back half of the year as expected.

Deferred revenue increased $11.7 million in the quarter to $93.2 million, compared with $81.5 million at March 31, 2014, reflecting the growth in E&E over the past year. Over 80% of this deferred revenue balance is expected to be recognized over the next 12 months.

Free cash flow in the second quarter was negative $7.7 million, compared with positive $800,000 a year ago, but was a sequential improvement of $7.3 million compared to the first quarter of 2014.

Recall that we have talked about how our cash flow is highly seasonal, tied to our earnings and generated in the back half of the year. The year-over-year decline in free cash flow reflects the impact of lower adjusted EBITDA, a $1.5 million increase in capital expenditures to $3.2 million, and an increase in working capital as we transition the larger portion of our business to E&E.

Normalizing free cash flow from one-time cash items in each quarter would result in free cash flow of negative $6.8 million in the second quarter of 2014 versus positive $1.6 million a year ago. We also paid out $1.7 million of cash related to the holdback for the Lexia acquisition, which didn't affect free cash flow but did contribute to the lower cash balance.

Based on the results for the first half of the year, we are again confirming our fiscal year 2014 guidance with bookings to continue to be in the range of $315 million to $325 million, and adjusted EBITDA to be in the range of $18 million to $22 million. We still anticipate CapEx to be between $10 million and $14 million. Although results from North America Consumer had been softer than planned through the first half, continued strength from E&E and contribution from new consumer initiatives are expected to offset that weakness allowing us to hold our guidance for the year.

Because our adjusted EBITDA is all generated in the second half of the year, let me layout the factors that provide confidence as to why we are comfortable with that outlook. The first factor is that our business is highly seasonal with an average 90% of our adjusted EBITDA having been produced in the second half of the year in 2012 and 2013. The second factor is that the benefit from the acquisition of Tell Me More should accelerate in the back half of this year as we have now worked through most of the integration and are selling a suite of language learning solutions in E&E, and should begin to realize some of the costs rationalization benefits. This is evidenced by the accelerating pace of bookings growth in the E&E Language, which was negative 4% in the first quarter, positive 2% in the second quarter, and we expect to be between 5% and 6% in the third quarter, so that we exit the year at a 10%-plus rate. The third factor is the introduction of a kids reading product in the fourth quarter, when we will start to realize bookings after having carried the development costs throughout the year without any top line. We are also in the process of launching a new marketing campaign aimed at Millennials and are further refining our media mix, which we expect will drive new interest and growth. The last major factor is that we anticipate benefit from Fit Brains as it builds greater scale in the back half of the year.

In short, our adjusted EBITDA results this year are even more skewed to the back half, resulting from seasonality, the impact of acquisitions and the timing of new product launches, which all converge in the second half.

For the third quarter, we expect total bookings to be between $80 million and $90 million. We'll start to lap the acquisition of Lexia in the third quarter so top line E&E bookings growth will be about 45% to 55%. This reflects high-teens percentage growth from Lexia and an acceleration of growth from E&E Language to mid-to high single-digit percent on a pro forma basis.

North America Consumer bookings are expected to be up mid-single digit percent, reflecting the impact of a lower pricing strategy even as we expect volume to largely offset the price decline. Rest of World Consumer booking should be down mid-teens percent, reflecting the effect of the downsizing in Asia. Adjusted EBITDA will start to move into more meaningful positive territory, and we expect it to come in between $4 million to $7 million for the quarter.

Thank you. And we're happy to now take your questions.

Question-and-Answer Session


[Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from the line of Nick Nikitas with Robert W. Baird.

Nick Nikitas - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division

Just looking at the consumer segment, both rev per user and product units again are going to step down during the quarter. Could you just talk more about the trajectory there and expectations going forward?

Stephen M. Swad

Yes. Nick, this is Steve. The pricing -- on the pricing side, that's -- a big picture is the trends we've seen the last couple of quarters continued, and so we saw price declines continue. We did see units tighten up. Some of that tightening was due to lack of Japan but even -- and lack of Kiosk, even removing that stuff, we saw units decline. And the biggest contributor to that decline was lower retail channel, and that's also a trend, and then our call center units were down. And so the headwinds that we've seen the last couple of quarters in that business continued, and that's affecting the units. As I said in my comments, the -- our focus is on introducing new products under our brand and also improving the Creative. You'll see that we just released a new Creative, a Smaller World Creative that's getting some traction around Millennials. We're increasing our segmentation. And we think those efforts, along with the multi-sales of Fit Brains plus reading, will help bring that business back.

Nick Nikitas - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division

Okay. And then could you just talk more about the 3-year product that you guys mentioned. It did seem like the online users did uptick a little bit in the quarter, the growth went from, I think, 25% to 27%. Did you see any change in demand from consumers with that introduction?

Stephen M. Swad

We did a little bit. The idea there is at what point do the customers feel comfortable moving from a perpetual CD to a duration-based offering. And so we're testing -- we're always testing that point. And the 3-year is a point where we're seeing traction. It's also an efficient acquisition. If -- it takes this notion of extreme time management out of the equation. And so just think about a customer that's going to buy a 6-month offering, for example, they're going to say, "Okay, I got to work late this week. I got to do this, this next week. I'm on vacation." So what we try to do is extend the duration enough to take -- to get into the zone with the customer. And we're finding the 12-month offering does that. And then, for a segment of folks, we saw the multi-year 3-year deal do that as well.

Nick Nikitas - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division

Okay. Just within E&E, can you talk a little bit more about what's driving the Lexia performance? And is this sales force productivity or you're just seeing solid demand from the product within any particular end market?

Stephen M. Swad

No, this is another trend that we've seen for many quarters. And there's good news on multiple fronts with Lexia. The product is being well received. We're seeing, although albeit very small levels, we're seeing nice renewals. Customer satisfaction is high. And then our sales force productivity is up. We're seeing productivity up on the direct sales force side, and then our indirect sales force had a very strong quarter as well.


Our next question comes from the line of Matt Blazei with Lake Street Capital Markets.

Matt Blazei - Lake Street Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

I just wanted to clarify a couple of things on your comments. Did you say that you see adjusted EBITDA in the $4 million to $7 million range in Q3?

Thomas M. Pierno

Yes, Matt.

Matt Blazei - Lake Street Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

That's correct? Okay. And out of curiosity, on the free cash flow, where do you expect your free cash flow for the year to be, for the entire fiscal '14?

Thomas M. Pierno

All right. So given what we've guided to $18 million to $22 million in adjusted EBITDA, we look at that kind of the midpoint of $20 million. Our CapEx of $10 million to $14 million, so midpoint of $12 million, that leaves about $8 million. And then there's cash onetime items that the bulk of which were in the first half of this year. We had about $4 million in the first quarter and maybe low-single digits for the rest of the year, and so it will be slightly positive.

Matt Blazei - Lake Street Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

So you'll end the year somewhere in the $70 million range again in cash?

Thomas M. Pierno

Yes. In that zone is our expectation right now.

Matt Blazei - Lake Street Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Okay. And it looks like the difference between your bookings and your revenues, at least on a year-over-year basis, is starting to show some meaningful difference. Is that sort of the trend we should look at going forward?

Thomas M. Pierno

In the near term, Matt. That's a function of the acquisitions that we did. Especially the significant ones, which were on the E&E side. And I think we've talked a little bit about this before, when you buy these businesses through purchase accounting, you've got to write down the deferred revenue that they have on their balance sheet at the opening -- on our balance sheet. Then we take them in to fair value, which is nominal. It's, basically, the hosting costs associated with the duration of the deferred revenue that were on their books. And so you're taking tens of millions of dollars of deferred revenue that in the absence of the transaction would have continued to flow off the balance sheet into the P&L, and basically, resetting that to near 0. And so we're in a process of building that up. It's one of the main reasons why we pivoted this year to a bookings-based metric of adjusted EBITDA versus revenue-based, because the revenue for this year and, probably, for the next 12 to 24 months is really not a good indicator for the business activity that's occurring in the business. We think bookings are the best indicator of that, and so that's why we've pivoted to that metric.


[Operator Instructions] Our next question comes from the line of Peter Appert with Piper Jaffray.

Peter P. Appert - Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division

So, Steve, can you just give us your current assessment of competitive dynamics in the various markets, and particularly focused on the North American Consumer in terms of what do you think the continuing weakness there is a function of; changed competitive environment or is it really more just about the macro environment and execution issues?

Stephen M. Swad

Peter, good question. The retail trends that we're seeing seem to be macro trends. That the retail channels are performing worse in many software and software-as-a-service categories. And so we're experiencing that softness as well. And the same is true on the call center side, that our own media is pushing more to the web and people are just less interested in dialing up. And so that -- we're seeing most of the weakness in that channel come from those 2 sub-channels under North America. We are moving more energy toward the App Store in mobile because we think that's where that traffic is going, and we were slow to that. So if you recall we launched our first app about a year ago, and I reported in my comments that our Course app had 1.2 million or over 1.2 million downloads in the first half of the year, which isn't bad for something that's less than a year old. And Fit Brains continues to have millions of downloads. So my view is that we're experiencing some trends. We call it shifts in channels, and we're moving from channels that are brick-and-mortar and physical to those that are digital, and you're seeing leakage along the way. My expectation is that, that leakage slows and then reverses with the introduction of Reading and Fit Brain as a -- and a number of bundles. And -- but that's what you're seeing right now.

Peter P. Appert - Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division

Okay. That's helpful. And how about, you've had some good early success here with Lexia and the other acquisitions. What's the appetite for more, from an M&A standpoint?

Stephen M. Swad

Peter, I've been telling folks that we've got our heads down and we're in execution mode. I think you'll see more green arrows this quarter than you did last because we were heavy in execution. Well we've got a lot behind us, we've got more to go but we've got a lot behind us. So our heads our collectively down right now, we're just executing against the strategy. We'll kind of assess, pull our heads up in a quarter or 2 and see how we're doing on the integration of what we have. We'll have some proof points on the strategy and then we'll figure out how to accelerate that. And acquisition is always a lever that we can use. And I think we've proven that we're pretty good at it. At the moment, I feel very, very pleased with the acquisitions that we've done.

Peter P. Appert - Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division

So, Steve or Tom, the [indiscernible] the flow-through of bookings to revenues, could we look at the -- I don't know how to do this exactly, but maybe the second half trend in bookings would be indicative of how the calendar '15 reported revenues would go?

Thomas M. Pierno

Second half trend in bookings indicative of how the revenues would go. Yes, but it is a -- it would, but at a lower rate. Because, yes, when we -- even within -- as seasonal as the business is from a quarterly perspective, it's also seasonal within the quarter. And so the book, the -- a large percentage of the bookings come in the last month of the quarter. And so that quarter, any particular quarter, ends up with relatively small amount of revenue recognized on that quarter's bookings. Especially if most of the deals we do are 1 year in duration. So there will be a lag effect.

Stephen M. Swad

Peter, the way I do it, and I'm not the CFO, nor do I want to be, but I think of -- like the trend that Core -- we call it the pro forma bookings growth. That is an indicator of had we owned the business last year and this year, here's the growth we would have seen. And then -- and so that gives you kind of the gross amount of business coming in as though we owned them both years. And then I look to the relationship of current and long-term on the balance sheet, and Tom commented, that about 80% of that comes over the next 12 months. And so it's -- I don't know that I could do your model for you, but if you look at pro forma bookings, I think that's a key metric. And I think the relationship of current deferred to long-term deferred is the second one, and between those 2, I bet you could build a model that gets close.


Our next question comes from the line of Alex Paris with Barrington Research.

Joseph D. Janssen - Barrington Research Associates, Inc., Research Division

It's actually Joe filling in for Alex. I've been jumping between earnings calls here, so I apologize if it's already been asked. But with Tell Me More, I just want to -- some of your previous comments you'd said it was a significant effort to kind of integrate this business, you expected a lot of that heavy-lifting to be done in the first half. One, I guess, is that done? And two, are you still forecasting growth in the back half of the year for this?

Stephen M. Swad

Yes and yes. There has been a lot of heavy-lifting. The majority of it is behind us. The way I say it -- remember this is the first quarter that we've been together. We've had a full 90 days together. But the way I say it is everyday the team is working more as one than it did the prior day, and you're going to see benefits from that. But we've done heavy, heavy-lifting around sales force management, around general ledgers, around post-sale support, around conforming policies, around conforming products. And I feel pretty good about where we are, we're exactly where I thought we'd be, we're actually a little bit better than where I thought we'd be at this time. And then as it relates to growth, I believe that we are forecasting the growth to accelerate in Q3 and in Q4. We said we'd exit at a double-digit exit rate, and that is largely because we are working better together as a team, and we see it every day. The -- we've done some deals together and then we share best practices among ourselves around the globe, and then more of those deals come in. And so I feel like we are picking up momentum on that front. I'm also quite pleased with the health of the pipeline as that sits today. It's very healthy right now.

Joseph D. Janssen - Barrington Research Associates, Inc., Research Division

Okay. And then Lexia, you've had success there. It's been growing at a pretty decent rate. You've talked about renewal rate success. Is this a function -- is this growth a function that's coming from existing accounts, better penetration or is it a combination of both or you're seeing new clients come into the platform?

Stephen M. Swad

That's a good question. Just to set the expectation. Remember, this is a company that is moving from what -- a significant portion of its business was a perpetual business to one that is now almost entirely a SaaS-based business. And with that, in my mind, comes the expectation of shrinkage, not growth. In that environment, we posted 35% growth this quarter, and we posted over 35% growth last quarter. That is well beyond our expectations and it speaks to the product. The product is amazing and it works, and there's demand for that product. You've heard me say more than half the kids in the U.S. in fourth grade are reading below grade level. That is more than half. And so we are attacking that problem with this product and we've seen nice results with Kansas, which is a statewide deal. And so we're penetrating new accounts, and digital is becoming more common in the classroom. And then this is a big problem that needs to be solved and we're solving it. So demand exists.


We have no further questions in queue at this time. I would like to hand the floor back over to management for closing remarks.

Stephen M. Swad

I just want to say thank you, and we'll speak to you next quarter. Take care.


This concludes today's teleconference. You may disconnect your lines at this time, and thank you for your participation.

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