Equifax calculates massive data breach will cost company at least $140 million

After security breach costs, Equifax clears Q3 with $96M profit

Equifax Inc on Friday warned that this year's massive data breach will harm future sales, saying it will reduce revenue in the current fourth quarter by 3 percent to 4 percent.

Credit reporting company Equifax Inc. corporate offices are pictured in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., September 8, 2017.

While analysts say the long-term financial impact of the breach on the company, or on consumers, will not be known for several quarters, the credit reporting firm may give an estimate on expected costs.

Equifax reported $834.8 million in revenue in its third quarter, which is up 4 percent from the same time a year ago; analysts had expected this, as the bulk of the company's money comes from selling services to other business, not consumers.

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Equifax estimated a range of additional costs between $56 million and $110 million to continue providing the free services.

Equifax has given customers until January 31 to sign up for the free service and estimates it could eventually cost the company between $56 million and $110 million.

Eric Johnson, dean of Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management, said that uncertainty could cost Equifax future business.

"The Equifax breach in particular exposed the limits of the Federal Trade Commission's ability to protect (consumers) and impose penalties on companies that treat our data with negligence and recklessness", said U.S. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Wednesday, during the hearing. Still, it lost $87.5 million from the breach and missed analyst expectation on both the top and bottom lines.

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Atlanta-based Equifax reported a 3 percent drop in its US revenue in the third quarter to $308 million, but was able to make up the difference and then some from its global services, resulting in an overall 4 percent increase in revenue to $835 million.

The company gathers data on consumers to help lenders determine borrowers' creditworthiness.

The company said it has insurance coverage for cybersecurity, crime, general liability and other areas, but it is unclear how much of the hack-related costs will be covered. Shortly after news of the breach broke, reports circulated that top officials had sold Equifax stock after the company found out about the breach, but before disclosing it to the public. Profits, however, were down 27 percent from the previous year at $96.3 million - in large part due to the breach.

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