Guidance Software (NASDAQ: GUID) and Actua Corporation (NASDAQ:ACTA) are both small-cap technology companies, but which is the superior investment? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their dividends, analyst recommendations, earnings, institutional ownership, valuation, profitability and risk.

Risk & Volatility

Guidance Software has a beta of 0.88, suggesting that its stock price is 12% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Actua Corporation has a beta of 1.68, suggesting that its stock price is 68% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

51.8% of Guidance Software shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 74.7% of Actua Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. 38.1% of Guidance Software shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 10.2% of Actua Corporation shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Earnings and Valuation

This table compares Guidance Software and Actua Corporation’s gross revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Guidance Software $108.61 million 1.99 -$971,000.00 ($0.25) -28.28
Actua Corporation $118.96 million 4.02 -$22.10 million $2.15 7.19

Guidance Software has higher revenue, but lower earnings than Actua Corporation. Guidance Software is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than Actua Corporation, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.


This table compares Guidance Software and Actua Corporation’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Guidance Software -4.73% -559.09% -6.73%
Actua Corporation 67.78% -5.42% -4.26%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current recommendations for Guidance Software and Actua Corporation, as provided by

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Guidance Software 0 3 4 0 2.57
Actua Corporation 0 1 0 0 2.00

Guidance Software presently has a consensus price target of $8.35, suggesting a potential upside of 18.10%. Actua Corporation has a consensus price target of $17.00, suggesting a potential upside of 10.03%. Given Guidance Software’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts clearly believe Guidance Software is more favorable than Actua Corporation.


Actua Corporation beats Guidance Software on 8 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Guidance Software

Guidance Software, Inc. is a technology company. The Company is a provider of endpoint investigation solutions for cybersecurity analytics, security incident response, e-discovery, data privacy and forensic analysis. The Company has five segments, which include Products, Subscription, Professional services, Training and Maintenance. The Company’s Products segment includes EnCase, EnCase Endpoint Security, EnCase eDiscovery, EnCase Forensic, EnCase Portable, Premium License Support Program and hardware sales. Its Subscription segment includes subscription services for cloud-based document review and production software. Its Professional services segment performs consulting services and implementations. Its Training segment provides training classes, by which the Company trains its customers to use its software products. Its maintenance segment provides software updates, telephone and e-mail support.

About Actua Corporation

Actua Corporation, formerly ICG Group, Inc., is a multi-vertical cloud technology company. The Company operates through two segments, which include the vertical cloud segment and the vertical cloud (venture) segment. The Company’s vertical cloud-based businesses include Bolt Solutions Inc. (Bolt), Folio Dynamics Holdings Inc. (FolioDynamix), GovDelivery Holdings, Inc. (GovDelivery) and VelocityEHS Holdings, Inc. (VelocityEHS), which operate in the commercial and personal property and casualty insurance, wealth management, government communications and environmental, health and safety (EH&S) markets, respectively. The vertical cloud (venture) businesses include InstaMed Holdings, Inc. (InstaMed) and Parchment Inc. (Parchment), which operate a cloud-based healthcare payments network and an education credentials technology, respectively.

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