Updated from 4:23 p.m. to include comments from the conference call.
Mountain View, Calif.-based Google earned on a non-GAAP basis $12.01 per share, generating $13.55 billion in revenue, excluding traffic acquisition costs (TAC). In a survey from Thomson Reuters, analysts expect the Internet search giant to earn $12.21 per share on $16.753 billion in sales, including TAC. Excluding TAC, revenue estimates were $13.41 billion.
"We ended 2013 with another great quarter of momentum and growth. Google's standalone revenue was up 22% year on year, at $15.7 billion", said Larry Page, CEO of Google in a press release. "We made great progress across a wide range of product improvements and business goals. I'm also very excited about improving people's lives even more with continued hard work on our user experiences."
Google noted that cost-per-click, a key advertising metric, fell 11% year-over-year and 2% sequentially, but that paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of our Network members, increased approximately 31% over the fourth quarter of 2012, and 13% sequentially.
The company ended the quarter with $58.72 billion in cash and cash equivalents, and had 47,756 full-time employees, including 3,894 in Motorola Mobility, which it recently announced it was selling to Lenovo for $2.91 billion.
On the conference call, Nikesh Arora touched on the Nest acquisition, which Google recently announced it will buy for $3.2 billion in cash.
Nikesh says Nest and Google share common vision. Google wants to help Nest scale. Mentions Tony and Matt by name.Chris Ciaccia (@Chris_Ciaccia) January 30, 2014
Despite the fact that Google has a mountain of cash, CFO Patrick Pichette said the cash is reviewed regularly by the board, and is considered a strategic asset. "It's reviewed regularly to make sure we get the best ROI [return on investment] for investors."
--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York
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