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UPDATE 3-Google's Q4 results shine after ad rate decline slows
January 22, 2013 / 10:09 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 3-Google's Q4 results shine after ad rate decline slows

* Shares climb after-hours on strong results
    * Core revenue, costs-per-click surpass expectations
    * International markets grow, holiday season helps

    By Alexei Oreskovic
    SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Revenue from Google Inc's
 core Internet business outpaced many analysts'
expectations during the crucial holiday quarter and advertising
rates fell less than in previous periods, pushing its shares up
more than 4 percent. 
    The world's largest Internet search company introduced new
product listings during the fourth quarter - typically its
strongest - and also benefited from business growth in
international markets, analysts said.
    Excluding traffic-acquisition costs, the business generated
net revenue of $9.83 billion, up from $8.13 billion a year
earlier, Google reported on Tuesday. That surpassed a $9.6
billion average forecast from six analysts polled by Reuters.
    "Business looked really strong, especially from a
profitability perspective. They really grew their margins in the
core business," said Sameet Sinha, an analyst with B. Riley
Caris. "Most of that strength seems to be coming from
international markets which grew revenues quite substantially:
up 23 percent year over year, versus the 15 percent growth in
the third quarter."
    Average cost-per-click, a critical metric that denotes the
price advertisers pay Google, declined 6 percent from a year
ago, the fifth consecutive quarter of decline.
    Google executives told analysts on a conference call that
the company had focused on improving the metric - shoring up
margins - while lowering the overall growth rate of paid clicks
in the holiday quarter.
    "Click prices are still declining, but it's better than
expected," said BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis. 
 
    MOTOROLA MOBILITY "STILL LOSING MONEY"
    Consolidated net income in the fourth quarter was $2.89
billion or $8.62 per share, compared with $2.71 billion, or
$8.22 per share, in the year-ago period when Google had not yet
acquired Motorola.
    Excluding certain items, Google said it earned $10.65 per
share in the fourth quarter.
    "The core business is a great business and the
fourth-quarter is always a time for Google to shine. However,
Motorola is still losing money and click rates still declined.
They only declined 6 percent, but go back four or five quarters
and click prices were improving. So mobile is still pressuring
click prices," Gillis said. 
    The company posted consolidated revenue - which includes its
Motorola Mobility mobile phone business but not the television
set-top box business it recently agreed to sell - of $14.42
billion on Tuesday.
    Motorola Mobility had an operating loss of $353 million
during the quarter. 
    Shares of Google were up roughly 4.5 percent at $734.46 in
after-hours trading on Tuesday.

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