Google's 4Q earnings rise 7 pct; stock rises

Published:

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Google's fourth-quarter earnings rose 7 percent as online advertisers spent more money in pursuit of holiday shoppers.

The financial results announced Tuesday were a mixed bag. While the company's earnings topped analyst estimates, an accounting quirk caused net revenue to fall below the projections that guide investor expectations.

Wall Street still liked what it saw. Google's stock climbed $30.78, or 4.4 percent, to $733.65 in extended trading.

The most recent quarter didn't provide an apples-to-apples comparison to the previous year because the latest results included Motorola Mobility. Google didn't own Motorola Mobility in 2011, having completed its $12.4 billion acquisition of the handset maker eight months ago.

Things were further complicated by Google's recent agreement to sell a part of the Motorola Mobility division that makes cable TV boxes. That division is now accounted for as a discontinued operation.

Google earned nearly $2.9 billion, or $8.62 cents per share during the final three months of last year. That compared to net income of $2.7 billion, or $8.22 per share, at the same time last year.

If not for the costs of employee stock compensation and certain other accounting items, Google said it would have earned. $10.65 per share. On that basis, Google exceeded the average earnings estimate of $10.54 among analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Revenue surged 36 percent from the previous year to $14.4 billion.

After subtracting advertising expenses, Google's revenue totaled $11.3 billion. That figure was well below the average analyst estimate of $12.1 billion, according to FactSet.

But many of the analyst forecasts included revenue from Motorola Mobility's set-top division, which Google didn't include in its fourth quarter revenue. Had the set-top division been included, Google's net revenue would have matched analyst estimates.