Google Inc.’s quarterly revenue beat Wall Street’s target despite a sharp decline in prices for its online ads and deepening losses at Motorola, the handset-making division to be sold to China’s Lenovo.
Paid clicks on Google’s online ads jumped 31 per cent during the typically busy holiday quarter, but the average cost per click that marketers paid the company slid 11 per cent.
Motorola, which Google has agreed to sell to China’s top PC maker for $2.91-billion (U.S.), saw operating losses of $384-million in the quarter, more than double the $152-million loss from a year earlier.
The Internet search giant has struggled to turn the unit around in the face of steep competition from Apple Inc., and the sale of the loss-making unit is considered a positive for Google.
Google’s consolidated revenue, which includes the money-losing Motorola smartphone business, rose to $16.86-billion from $14.42-billion in the fourth quarter of 2012. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S were looking for $16.75-billion.
Revenue in Google’s core Internet business totalled $15.7-billion in the last three months of the year, up 22 per cent from the $12.91-billion in the year-ago period.
Google’s consolidated profit was $3.38-billion or $9.90 per share, compared to $2.89-billion or $8.62 in the year-ago period. Excluding certain items, Google said it earned $12.01 per share, below analysts’ expectations for about $12.20.
Shares of the world’s No.1 Internet search engine rose slightly to $1,143 in after-hours trading on Thursday.