Judging by Tuesday's action, Motorola ( MOT) chief Ed Zander already may have earned his lavish pay package. The onetime Sun Microsystems ( SUNW) executive raised some eyebrows last month with the disclosure that he'd earn up to $24 million in his new post. But the naysayers were nowhere to be found after a mind-bogglingly good quarter -- the first full period with Zander at the helm -- ignited a rally that added nearly $10 billion to Motorola's market capitalization. Motorola shares continued rising Wednesday morning, recently up $3.04, or 18%, to $19.26. Now the Schaumburg, Ill., tech titan -- long the butt of jokes among investors for its many pratfalls -- is reborn as a high achiever, courtesy of some missteps by handset rival Nokia ( NOK) and some stoked-up demand in the chips business. "It's stunning," said Sanford Bernstein analyst Paul Sagawa, who rates Motorola stock sell. "Every business beat by a lot -- not just handsets. Shows you just how quickly market share can shift around based on new product deliveries in this market." "The bar just got set higher," said Zander, on a postclose conference call with analysts. Motorola shares surged 20% after the impressive first-quarter beat and improving second-quarter guidance.
Beating by a Buck
For its first quarter ended in March, the wireless giant reported earnings of $609 million, or 25 cents a share, on revenue of $8.6 billion. That's well ahead of the year-ago profit of $169 million, or 7 cents a share, on sales of $6 billion. The latest-quarter profit included about 7 cents of income from gains. On an operating basis, Motorola earned 18 cents a share in the period, which is miles ahead of the 7-cent Wall Street consensus as posted by Thomson First Call. The news only got better for investors, as Motorola followed news of the blowout first quarter with a substantial bump in second-quarter earnings guidance. The company said strong performances at its handset and soon-to-be-separated semiconductors units led the advance.
Even though AT&T tried a last-minute bribe of promising 5,000 new U.S. jobs to help gain support for the deal, the Justice Department filed a complaint to fight the combination of the nation's No. 2 and No. 4 wireless carriers.