Pitney Bowes in 2012: Lost in the Mail


2012 is nearing its end, and now's a good opportunity to look at what happened throughout the year to the stocks you follow. If you know the important things that a company achieved, as well as any challenges it failed to overcome, then you can make a better decision about whether it really deserves a spot in your portfolio.

Today, I'll look at Pitney Bowes . Among dividend investors, Pitney Bowes is a favorite, thanks to its S&P 500-leading dividend yield. Yet that high yield comes largely from a big decline in the company's share price. Can the company that once revolutionized the way businesses send mail pull another trick out of its hat? Below, you'll find more on what moved shares of Pitney Bowes this year.

Stats on Pitney Bowes

Year-to-date stock return


Market cap

$2.17 billion

Revenue, past 12 months

$5.06 billion

Net Income, past 12 months

$611 million

1-year revenue growth


1-year net income growth


Dividend yield


CAPS rating (out of 5)


Source: S&P Capital IQ.

What crushed Pitney Bowes this year?
Pitney Bowes dominated its industry for decades, with its postage-meter mailing machines an omnipresent staple of corporate mailrooms. But lately, the company has suffered from a reduction in mail volume, and its annual earnings have shrunk this year and are expected to drop again next year.

One obvious place to look for an explanation is the rise of online postage services. Stamps.com and Newell Rubbermaid's Endicia.com have cut deeply into Pitney's home turf. Partnerships with FedEx and United Parcel Service haven't managed to restore Pitney's sales to previous levels.

But Pitney has tried to evolve past its postage business to become a more diversified company. A recent deal with Facebook aims to make use of Pitney's geocoding software prowess, helping to make Facebook's ad targeting more effective. Its document solutions and e-commerce services, along with analytics, marketing, and data management businesses, represent Pitney's attempt to become a one-stop shop for business customers.

In 2012 at least, Pitney's moves haven't inspired confidence among investors. Whether the company will see a better 2013 depends on how effective it is against the strong competition in the other areas it's pursuing.

Will Facebook save Pitney Bowes?
Pitney Bowes was smart to go after a partnership with the newly public social media giant, but will Facebook's strategic vision mesh well with Pitney's? Learn more about Facebook's game plan in our premium research report on the stock, which looks at whether Facebook is a buy after its post-IPO plunge and recent recovery. Access your report by clicking here.

Click here to add Pitney Bowes to My Watchlist, which can find all of our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.

The article Pitney Bowes in 2012: Lost in the Mail originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of and has options positions on Facebook. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Facebook and United Parcel Service. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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