Microsoft will report its financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter and year this afternoon — providing the latest glimpse of Windows 8’s uptake and the performance of the rest of its business.
The report will be the first for new Microsoft finance chief Amy Hood. It comes a week after the company announced a giant internal reorg. The financial reporting structure is expected to continue to reflect the company’s existing divisions, for now, but the reorg is likely to be a key topic on the company’s earnings conference call.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect Microsoft to report earnings of 75 cents a share for the quarter, up 12 percent, on revenue of $20.7 billion, an increase of 15 percent. Much of that growth would come from factors other than Windows sales: PC shipments, which continue to be a major driver of Microsoft’s business, fell 11 percent in the quarter.
Looming in the background is an expected attempt by ValueAct Capital to seek a board seat and lobby for the company to return more of its cash to shareholders. The investment firm earlier this year said it had taken a $2 billion stake in the company.
Rick Sherlund, a longtime analyst now with Nomura Research, reiterated this week that he expects ValueAct to make its move as early as next month.
“We expect to hear more, possibly in August, about shareholder activism as ValueAct is expected by us to seek board representation, potentially through a proxy solicitation,” wrote Sherlund in a note to clients this week. “This should benefit the stock if there is an articulation of the potential for realizing greater shareholder value, which we expect could come from greater share repurchase and potentially a larger dividend if foreign source income can be returned to the US.”
Check back this afternoon for the full rundown on Microsoft’s results.