Summary:

Online auction site eBay reported that Q4 earnings climbed 53 percent, ending the year on a positive note. The timing was also good for CEO…

Online auction site eBay reported that Q4 earnings climbed 53 percent, ending the year on a positive note. The timing was also good for CEO Meg Whitman, as the company confirmed she would be retiring. As expected, John Donahoe, the president of the company’s auction unit, will succeed her. As for the numbers, eBay posted net income on a GAAP basis of $531 million ($0.39 per diluted share), compared to $346.5 million a year ago. Meanwhile, revenues gained 27 percent, coming in at $2.18 billion versus last year’s $1.72 billion . The company cited across the board revenue growth from PayPal, StubHub, Skype, classifieds and advertising, the latter category rising 49 percent over Q406. As for the highlights from eBay’s Q4:

Analysts’ estimates: On a non-GAAP basis, eBay earned $611 million in Q4, compared to $431 million in the same period last year. That number beat analysts’ estimates, Marketwatch reported, citing Thomson Financial.

Skype: The online communications service added $115 million in revenue, about a 76 percent gain in year-over-year growth. Skype ended Q4 with ended roughly 276 million registered users.

PayPal: The online payment system posted successful quarter, coming in with $563 million in revenues, up 35 percent over the previous year.

Weaker Q1 Outlook: For this year, eBay expects net revenues in the range of $8.5- to $8.75 billion. But for Q1, the auctioneer anticipates net revenues ending somewhere between $2- to $2.05 billion, which is less than what previous analysts’ had been forecasting, WSJ reported.

Retired, but not gone: Donahoe, who came to the company in Feb. 2005, officially takes the CEO seat on March 31, ten years to the month after Whitman joined eBay (NSDQ: EBAY). Whitman will remain on the board. More details in a separate release (PDF).

Earnings release (PDF) | Webcast | Transcript (via SeekingAlpha)

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