Baidu.com's Revenue Nearly Doubles

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Shares of Baidu.com ( BIDU) spiked higher in after-hours action on Monday after the Chinese Internet search company said its fourth-quarter revenue nearly doubled from last year's equivalent period.

Baidu.com said it earned $175.9 million, or 50 cents per American Depositary Share, in the three months ended Dec. 31 on revenue of $371.3 million. The revenue total was 94.4% higher than its performance in the year-ago fourth quarter. On a non-GAAP basis, excluding share-based compensation expense, the company earned 52 cents per ADS.

ThinkEquity, which reiterated its buy rating and $135 12-month price target ahead of the report, said it was expecting GAAP earnings of 48 cents a share from Baidu.com in the December quarter with total gross revenue projected at $365 million. The firm said Wall Street's consensus view called for revenue of $349.5 million and earnings per share of 45 cents a share in the period.

Baidu.com said traffic acquisition cost declined on a both a year-ago and sequential basis to 8.1% of total revenue from 8.9% in the third quarter and 16% in the same period a year earlier.

The stock was last quoted at $117.50, up 8.1%, on volume of 2.1 million, according to Nasdaq.com. Based on a regular session close at $108.63, the shares had gained 10% so far in 2011, and were up nearly 160% in the past year, hitting a 52-week high of $115.04 back in November.

For the current first quarter ending in March, Baidu.com said it expects revenue of $360.6 million to $371.2 million.

"This has been another quarter of outstanding performance for Baidu, with marketmomentum and our continued improvement in monetization fuelling top linegrowth," said Robin Li, Baidu's chairman and CEO, in a statement, adding later" "Looking forward we will further integrate search with online activities such as e-commerce and social networking and I am confident that Baidu will remain at the center of China's Internet ecosystem."

At current levels, Baidu.com shares are trading at a forward price-to-earnings multiple of around 45X, compared to 42X for Sina Corp. ( SINA), 17.5X for Sohu.com ( SOHU), 15X for Google ( GOOG), and 18X for Yahoo! ( YHOO).P/>-- Written by Michael Baron in New York.

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