Yahoo Inc reported a stronger-than-expected first-quarter profit on Tuesday, results hailed by chief executive Marissa Mayer as showing growth in the Web giant’s “core” business.
The California Internet company said it earned US$312 million on revenue of US$1.1 billion, topping most forecasts.
Profits were down 20 percent from the previous year with revenues nearly flat for Yahoo, which has been making major shifts under Mayer, a former executive at rival Google Inc.
“If you look at our core businesses, which we define as search and display, you see an important shift,” Mayer said in an earnings call. “Our search revenue grew 9 percent year-over-year, marking our ninth consecutive quarter of growth.”
Mayer said Yahoo’s mobile service was attracting more than 430 million monthly users.
“More than half of Yahoo’s total monthly audience joins us on a mobile device,” she said.
Yahoo shares vaulted higher by 6.7 percent in after-hours trade following the release to US$36.50.
Under Mayer, Yahoo has been revamping many of its offerings, while emphasizing mobile services and using cash for a series of acquisitions.
Yahoo is also moving more into video, with plans for original television programs in the works.
Mayer said the company is making headway in boosting mobile, both in terms of search and in apps, which have leading positions on mobile platforms such as Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.
Yahoo has been sputtering as it tries to refocus after losing its position as the Web’s leading search engine to Google.
According to the research firm eMarketer, Yahoo’s share of worldwide digital ad revenues declined to 2.9 percent last year, down from 3.4 percent in 2012, while Facebook and Google boosted their positions.
Yahoo’s share is set to decrease further this year, eMarketer estimates. Yahoo’s share of US digital ad revenues dropped to 5.8 percent last year from 6.8 percent in 2012, according to the research firm.
Yahoo is also a key shareholder in Chinese Web giant Alibaba (阿里巴巴), which is in the process of launching an initial public offering (IPO) in the US.
After the IPO, Yahoo, one of the early investors in Alibaba, has the right to sell its remaining shares.
The Chinese firm has not yet released details on its financing, but Yahoo’s figures showed Alibaba made a profit of US$1.35 billion in the fourth quarter last year on about US$3 billion in revenue.
The IPO is expected to be the largest in the tech sector since Facebook’s in 2012, with Alibaba’s value estimated at about US$150 billion.
Yahoo has a 24 percent stake in Alibaba and is expected to sell about 10 percent of that at the time of the IPO.
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