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Google issues rare estimate advisory to Wall Street

The Google sign is seen at the company’s headquarters in New York.

ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

Google Inc. issued a rare advisory to Wall Street on Friday that analyst estimates for its fourth quarter financial results are flawed.

The world's No.1 search engine, which reports its quarterly results on Tuesday, said most analysts have not adjusted their estimates to reflect the pending $2.35-billion sale of the Motorola Home business.

The business must be presented separately from the results of Google's continuing operations under U.S. accounting rules, Google Treasurer Brent Callinicos wrote in a post on Google's investor relations Web page on Friday.

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"As of this writing, a majority of Wall Street analysts who cover Google have not reflected the Home business as discontinued operations in their estimates," Mr. Callinicos wrote.

The discrepancy means the fourth-quarter net revenue that Google reports on Tuesday could appear to be less than the $12.34 billion average that analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S are expecting.

Raymond James analyst Aaron Kessler says his fourth-quarter net revenue estimate includes nearly $900-million from the Motorola Home business.

"They're saying that the headline number is going to be less than what most analysts have for Q4," said Mr. Kessler.

The advisory is a rare move for Google, which does not provide financial forecasts and typically has limited interactions with analysts. The company has in the past provided accounting advisories to analysts about the Motorola Mobility business, which Google acquired for $12.5-billion in May.

Google bought Motorola Mobility primarily for its large portfolio of communications patents and its mobile phone business.

In December, Google agreed to sell the Motorola Home television set-top box business to Arris Group Inc for $2.35-billion in cash and stock.

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Analysts expect Google to report adjusted earnings of $10.56 per share for the fourth quarter.

"It's a little surprising that they're doing this the Friday before the report," said Mr. Kessler. "They should have put it out a week ago if they wanted analysts to change their numbers."

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