Kara Swisher

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Time to Yodel? Yahoo Beats Street Expectations With Stronger Net Income and Better Outlook for Q4.

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Yahoo bested Wall Street expectations today, announcing stronger net income for its third quarter, despite an also expected decline in revenue.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo reported net income of 13 cents a share, or $186.1 million, on revenues of $1.13 billion for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2009, which was a decline from $1.33 billion the same period a year ago.

Wall Street estimated that Yahoo (YHOO) would earn just under seven cents a share on revenues of $1.12 billion.

The improvement includes a $98 million gain on a sale of the company’s stake in Alibaba.com in China, which is nonrecurring, as well as other cost-cutting by CEO Carol Bartz.

In addition, Yahoo’s expectations for the fourth quarter are more positive than those of investors.

Also in the earnings numbers: Yahoo had $4.5 billion in cash and marketable securities, as well as 13,200 employees.

But there was something to worry about: Search advertising revenue was off 19 percent and display was off eight percent at “Owned and Operated” sites on Yahoo.

Google (GOOG), in contrast, reported a seven percent rise in its recent third-quarter results last week, and its execs projected a mood of smooth sailing ahead and no more econalypse.

Nonetheless, overall, it was a solid performance from the Silicon Valley icon, especially compared to some of its recent and decidedly rockier earnings reports.

But, while investors can now breathe a little sigh of relief that the bleeding seems to have stopped, they will now likely focus on how much growth the Yahoo can have in the future.

That’s the next story for certain, starting with Yahoo’s analyst meeting next Wednesday, although today’s Yahoo management buzzword was “stablized.”

“With revenue coming in above our guidance and flat sequentially, we had a solid third quarter that signals our major businesses have stabilized,” said Bartz in a press release. “With new products like Yahoo! homepage, our brand revitalization campaign and expansion in the Middle East through Maktoob.com, our execution is improving and we’re focused on what we do best–being the center of people’s online lives.”

Added CFO Tim Morse: “In the third quarter we saw strength in key areas of our business. Our efforts to reposition Yahoo! are still in the early stages, but we’re confident that our investments in the business will enable us to capitalize on growth opportunities as the economy recovers.”

You can read all about it in Yahoo’s press release here, which includes performance tables of third-quarter results, or below without tables.

More to come at the conference call at 2 pm, which BoomTown will blog live!

Here is the Yahoo press release on the quarter:

YAHOO! REPORTS THIRD QUARTER 2009 RESULTS

Company Exceeds Revenue Outlook Maintains Strong Balance Sheet with over $4.5 Billion in Cash and Marketable Debt Securities

SUNNYVALE, Calif., October 20, 2009–Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) today reported revenues of $1,575 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2009, a decrease of 12 percent from the third quarter of 2008 and slightly above the second quarter of 2009. Excluding the impact of currency rate fluctuations and divested business lines, revenues for the third quarter of 2009 would have declined 7 percent compared to the third quarter of 2008.

Net income per diluted share for the third quarter of 2009 was $0.13, compared to $0.04 for the third quarter of 2008. Non-GAAP net income per diluted share for the third quarter of 2009 and 2008 was $0.15.

“With revenue coming in above our guidance and flat sequentially, we had a solid third quarter that signals our major businesses have stabilized,” said Yahoo! chief executive officer Carol Bartz. “With new products like Yahoo! homepage, our brand revitalization campaign and expansion in the Middle East through Maktoob.com, our execution is improving and we’re focused on what we do best–being the center of people’s online lives.”

:In the third quarter we saw strength in key areas of our business,” said Yahoo! chief financial officer Tim Morse. “Our efforts to reposition Yahoo! are still in the early stages, but we’re confident that our investments in the business will enable us to capitalize on growth opportunities as the economy recovers.

Revenues

* Marketing services revenues declined 12 percent and fees revenues declined 11 percent, compared to the third quarter of 2008.

* Marketing services revenues were flat and fees revenues increased 2 percent, compared to the second quarter of 2009.

* Marketing services revenues from Owned and Operated sites were $851 million for the third quarter of 2009, a 15 percent decrease compared to $1,002 million for the same period of 2008. The decrease was primarily driven by a 19 percent decline in search advertising revenue and an 8 percent decline in display advertising revenue.

* Marketing services revenues from Affiliate sites were $526 million for the third quarter of 2009, a 6 percent decrease compared to $561 million for the same period of 2008.

Cash Flow and Cash Balance

* Cash flow from operating activities for the third quarter of 2009 was $355 million, a 2 percent increase compared to $347 million for the same period of 2008.

* Free cash flow for the third quarter of 2009 was $258 million, a 20 percent increase compared to $215 million for the same period of 2008.

* Cash, cash equivalents, and investments in marketable debt securities were $4,503 million at September 30, 2009 compared to $3,522 million at December 31, 2008, an increase of $981 million.

Business Outlook

GAAP revenue for the fourth quarter of 2009 is expected to be in the range of $1,600 million to $1,700 million. Non-GAAP operating income before depreciation, amortization, and stock-based compensation expense for the fourth quarter of 2009 is expected to be in the range of $400 million to $450 million. Income from operations for the fourth quarter of 2009 is expected to be in the range of $135 million to $155 million.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus