Yahoo earnings hit target as revenue dips

New Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson said 2012 will be about "aligning resources behind key areas of focus to enable us."

Yahoo’s fourth quarter sales were light, but earnings were on target in Scott Thompson’s debut as CEO.

Thompson had little to do with the quarter given he was just hired, but he’ll be on the hook for future results.

The company reported earnings of $296 million, or 24 cents a share, on revenue of $1.17 billion, down 3 percent from a year ago. The revenue total excludes traffic acquisition costs.

Wall Street was looking for fourth quarter earnings of 24 cents a share on revenue of $1.19 billion.

In its statement, Yahoo outlined how its search deal with Microsoft impacts sales. Yahoo noted that the decrease in revenue was largely attributed to its Bing deal with Microsoft, which garners 12 percent of net revenue.

The fourth quarter results from Yahoo reflect $48 million in search operating cost reimbursements to Microsoft. These costs are expected to decline as Yahoo moves all markets to Microsoft’s search platform.

As for the outlook, Yahoo projected first quarter revenue of $1.025 billion and $1.105 billion excluding traffic acquisition costs. Wall Street was looking for revenue of $1.08 billion.

Thompson noted that 2012 will mean Yahoo will “be aligning resources behind key areas of focus to enable us.” His aim is to ultimately grow the business.

Here’s the outlook in depth.

This story originally appeared at ZDNet's Between the Lines under the headline "Yahoo's Q4 sales light as new CEO takes helm."


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