Earnings: Yahoo 4Q06 Revenues Up 13 Percent; Profits Hit Hard By Option Expenses, Down 61 Percent

Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) boosted revenue by 13 percent in 4Q06 to $1.7 billion from $1.5 billion in the same period last year but it doesn’t show in the bottom line. Yahoo’s profit was less than half that in the same quarter in 2005 — $269 million, or $0.19 per share compared to $683 million, or $0.46 per share, down 61 percent due to a sharp hike in options expenses combined with slower sales growth. Some details:
— Revenues excluding traffic acquisition costs (TAC) were $1.2 billion, up 15 percent from $1.06 billion the previous year.
— U.S. revenue was up 8 percent, to $1.2 billion from $1.06 billion in 4Q05.
— International revenues of $558 million were up 25 percent compared to $445 million in the same quarter last year.
— For the year, U.S. revenue hit $4.3 billion, up 19 percent over $3.7 billion in 2005. International revenues rose 30 percent to $2 billion from $1.6 billion in 2005.
— The Thompson First call estimate was 13 cents per share so Yahoo came out ahead on that. Revenues were in line with expectations.
— As Marketwatch points out, 4Q05 included a $340 million investment gain.
Earnings call: Listening to Chairman and CEO Terry Semel as he makes his prepared remarks to analysts during the earnings call brings to mind Wimpy, Popeye’s friend who is always willing to pay Tuesday for a hamburger today. It may not be a fair comparison — after all, Semel and company truly intend to pay — but Yahoo wants us to believe that moves made now and in the past few quarters really will pay off sooner rather than later. In other words, 2006 was about positioning and fixing while 2007 is supposed to be about actual results from all that positioning and fixing.
— Semel said Yahoo will launch its new search marketing ranking model Feb. 5 because migration so far has exceeded target. The new model adds quality ranking to keyword bid price, which Semel said results in higher quality ads. More details in a separate release.
More to come.
Release | Webcast | Slides

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