CyberSource Corp. has taken another high-profile step to drive revenues as it struggles to reach profitability, announcing that Microsoft Corp.s e-commerce software for businesses will link to its payment processing services.
A provider of so-called gateway payment processing services for businesses, CyberSource already counts among its customers some of the largest companies in the world including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Nike Inc. but its anemic stock has been moored around $1 for most of the year.
CyberSource of Mountain View, Calif., acts as a conduit between merchants and payment processors such as First Data Merchant Services. It also offers a range of related services, including fraud prevention, tax calculation, risk management, and fulfillment.
Since July, CyberSources payment services have been offered as part of an enterprise resource planning product called Great Plains eSell that Microsoft acquired five months ago when it bought Great Plains Software Inc. of Fargo, N.D. eSell is software for companies needing a fast way to bring their businesses to the Internet, with applications such as electronic commerce accounting, human resources, payroll, and supply chain management.
Under the eSell deal, which was announced Thursday, Microsoft has embedded a link to CyberSource in the eSell package so that, when a company starts to activate payment services, CyberSource is the primary choice.
Getting baked into a Microsoft product that is likely to be widely deployed is very important for us, said Steve Klebe, the vice president of strategic alliances at CyberSource. Anything that makes it easier for merchants to use CyberSource out of the box means good things for the company; it helps drive revenues and profitability.
Merchants have the option to install another gateway provider, but the default account-activation choice is CyberSource, which makes money based on transaction volume.
Lori Fett, the senior product manager of e-commerce at Microsoft, said the software giant chose CyberSource because its product lets merchants link their Internet consumer interfaces which she called storefronts with their back-office functions such as inventory management and payment settlement. Thus, a merchant can display current inventory on the online storefront, and customers can authorize and settle payments online because the storefront is connected to the merchants back office.
Before adding CyberSource, eSell had a gateway product that didnt link consumer front ends with merchants back-office operations, she said.
The reason that we were looking for a different solution is because the big value of eSell is the integration between the storefront and the back-office functions of enterprise resource planning systems, Ms. Fett said. Microsoft also wanted to add services such as fraud protection that CyberSource offers, she said.
The announcement of the Microsoft deal probably accounted for a rise in CyberSources share price, $1.19 at Thursdays close, up 8%. The stock, which hit a 52-week low of 84 cents in July, closed Friday at $1.19, down 11% from the previous weeks close.
Its low stock price is in sharp contrast to the companys steady growth and large cash reserves. At the close of the second quarter, CyberSource had cash reserves of about $73.4 million and had processed a record 60.8 million transactions during the period, a 75% increase from a year earlier.
CyberSource may be a dollar stock, but its fairly high-profile in what they do, and if someone is looking for that service, this is one of the top-tier players, said Alex Arnold, an analyst at Adams, Harkness & Hill in Boston. He said 23% of domestic e-commerce transactions are handled by CyberSource on their way to be processed.
But the financial picture is not all rosy, as the company continues to lose money. During its second-quarter-earnings conference call, on July 17, it said it would not reach the break-even point in cash flow this year, as it had planned, Mr. Arnold said.
The pro forma net loss for the second quarter was $9.2 million, or 26 cents per share, compared with a loss of $10.3 million, or 40 cents per share, a year before.