Yahoo Q4-2013 profit up 28% at $352 mn despite revenue fall

Web pioneer Yahoo Inc has reported a 28-per cent rise in fourth quarter 2013 profit at $352 million, against a profit of $274 million in the year-ago quarter despite a decline in revenue year-on-year.

Marissa MayerExcluding certain items, Yahoo said it earned 46 cents a share and declined to provide a financial projection for the full year.

It said adjusted revenue for the quarter, excluding the cost of traffic acquisition, stood at $1.2 billion, down from $1.22 billion in the previous year quarter.

Yahoo's overall revenue for the quarter fell 6 per cent to $1.266 billion, for the fourth consecutive quarter, on the back of declining ad revenues.

Yahoo, which is struggling to return to its former glory under CEO Marissa Mayer, said prices for both online display ads and search ads declined in the fourth quarter.

While Mayer has moved aggressively with product makeovers, acquisitions and big media firing and hiring, ad sales business, its main revenue source continued to struggle at a time when rivals such as Google, Facebook and Twitter are posting strong revenue growth.

''I'm encouraged by Yahoo's performance in Q4 and 2013 overall. We saw continued stability in the business, and our investments allowed us to bring beautiful products to our users and establish a strong foundation for revenue growth,'' said Mayer.

''We are extremely heartened by the year-over-year traffic increase we experienced in 2013, an early sign of return on our investments and the acquisitions we've made.''

Yahoo! also repurchased $3.3 billion worth of its stock in 2013, the company said.

Yahoo!'s stock has more than doubled since Mayer took over as CEO in July 2012. But, analysts say the gains are due to the aggressive stock buybacks and the expected IPO of Alibaba, the Chinese company in which Yahoo owns a 24-per cent stake.

Alibaba's revenue rose 51 per cent year-on-year to $1.776 billion, although the growth rate was slower than the 61 per cent that Alibaba delivered in the second quarter and the 71 per cent growth rate in its first quarter.