Google (s goog) announced earnings a few hours early Thursday, posting revenues and earnings below expectations. Earnings per share came in at $9.03, well below analysts estimates of $10.65. And revenue minus traffic-acquisition costs (the important number in evaluating Google’s financial performance) came in at $11.33 billion, short of estimates for $11.8 billion.
It wasn’t immediately unclear if the early announcement was a mistake, but it took a toll on Google’s stock price, which is down about 8 percent before trading was halted.
Google later blamed the early release on its printing contractor, RR Donnelly. “Earlier this morning RR Donnelley, the financial printer, informed us that they had filed our draft 8K earnings statement without authorization. We have ceased trading on NASDAQ while we work to finalize the document. Once it’s finalized we will release our earnings, resume trading on NASDAQ and hold our earnings call as normal at 1:30PT,” Google said in a statement provided to several outlets including AllThingsD.
Google’s third-quarter operating income on a GAAP basis was $2.74 billion, down from $3.06 billion in the third quarter of 2011. GAAP net income was $2.18 billion, down from $2.73 billion in the same period the year before.
One of the other important pieces of Google’s financial performance — cost per click — continued to slide, something that has worried financial analysts in the past with respect to Google earnings. CPC was down 15 percent compared to the same period last year, and 2 percent compared to the second quarter of this year.
Revenue from Motorola — which wasn’t reported last quarter as Google waited for regulatory approval to purchase the phone maker — came in at $2.58 billion, split between the phone division ($1.78 billion) and the home division ($797 million). In the first quarter of 2012, Motorola reported revenue of $3.8 billion, split between the phone division ($2.2 billion) and the home division ($884 million).
Google’s stock has actually had a good run this year, but investors were not pleased with the early release as well as the numbers.
Update: the official release from Google is now available on the company’s website.