Google Q4 2012 Results Up on Slowed Ad Rate Declines

By David Radd

Posted January 23, 2013

Google saw generated net revenue of $9.83 billion, up from $8.13 billion a year earlier during the holiday quarter. This exceeding of the $9.6 billion average forecast from six analysts pushed shares of the company up 4 percent.

"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."

The average cost-per-click, a metric that denotes the price advertisers pay Google, declined 6 percent from a year ago, marking the fifth consecutive quarter of decline. Google says that the company has focused on improving the metric by shoring up margins and 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.

The Motorola Mobility division saw net income of $2.89 billion or $8.62 per share, compared with $2.71 billion, or $8.22 per share, in the period last year when Google had not yet acquired Motorola. Overall, 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,” Gillis said. “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.”

Consolidated revenue that includes the Motorola phone business was $14.42 billion. Motorola Mobility itself had an operating loss of $353 million during the quarter.



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