Today Google reported fourth quarter revenues of $14.42 billion, and earnings per share of $10.65 on a non-GAAP basis, or $8.62 using GAAP measurements. Analyst had expected that Google would have revenues of $12.3 billion.

Operating income for the quarter was $3.39 billion, and Google’s GAAP net income was $2.89, not discounting for Motorola Home.

On Friday, Google released a note to investors, stating that, due to accounting rules, revenues and earnings from the pending sale of its Motorola Home division would be listed separately from its other revenues and incomes. This matters, as Google pointed out, “a majority of Wall Street analysts who cover Google have not reflected the Home business as discontinued operations in their estimates.”

Or, put another way, Google was gently telling Wall Street that it had its math wrong. Google is in the process of selling Motorola Home in a large deal that will return a chunk of its initial expenditure into Motorola proper:

Motorola cost Google some $13 billion when it was purchased. Google is therefore remunerating itself to the tune of 18% of the initial price. According to the official release, Google will collect $2.05 billion in cash, and $300 million in Arris stock. Google will retain a 15.7% share in Arris after the transaction.

If Google had been allowed to include the revenue from Motorola Home in its revenue figures for the quarter, it would have hit $15.24 billion in turnover for the three-month period. The company’s stock has been in a general decline these last few weeks. In after-hours trading following this release, Google’s stock is up over 3.5%.

For the full year, Google passed $50 billion in revenue for the first time, calling it “not a bad achievement in just a decade and a half.” Understatement apparently is part of Google’s PR strategy.

For the quarter, revenues from its own sites were up 18% to $8.64 billion. Revenues from sites that are part of its network came to $3.44 billion, up 19%. Other revenues, just 6% of the total, were up 102%, when compared to the year ago quarter.

Interesting to Google’s current performance is how flat its international/domestic revenue split has maintained: “Google revenues from outside of the United States totaled $6.9 billion, representing 54% of total Google revenues in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to 53% in the third quarter of 2012 and 53% in the fourth quarter of 2011.” In short, roughly half and half, and not budging an inch.

Here are Google’s key metrics:

  • Paid clicks: Up 24% of Q4 2011, and up 9% over Q3 2012.
  • Cost-Per-Click: Down 6% compared to Q4 2011, and up 2% compared to Q3 2012.
  • Traffic acquisition costs: 25% of revenue, up 1% from 24% of revenue for Q4 2011.

While somewhat mixed, those numbers are stable enough for Google rest to easy. That said, operational expenses at the company are up sharply:

Other cost of revenues, which is comprised primarily of data center operational expenses, amortization of intangible assets, content acquisition costs, credit card processing charges, and manufacturing and inventory-related costs, increased to $3.14 billion, or 22% of revenues, in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $1.25 billion, or 12% of revenues, in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Such a sharp increase could harm the company’s ability to maintain margins in the future. This could limit its potential profitability.

Following the above news, Google’s market cap is $231 billion.

What follows is Google’s full release:

Google Inc. reported consolidated revenues of $14.42 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2012. Consolidated revenues would have been $15.24 billion had Motorola Home been included.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – January 22, 2013 – Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) today announced financial results for the quarter and the fiscal year ended December 31, 2012.

“We ended 2012 with a strong quarter,” said Larry Page, CEO of Google. “Revenues were up 36% year-on-year, and 8% quarter-on-quarter. And we hit $50 billion in revenues for the first time last year – not a bad achievement in just a decade and a half. In today’s multi-screen world we face tremendous opportunities as a technology company focused on user benefit. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be at Google.”

Q4 Financial Summary

In December 2012, we entered into an agreement with Arris Group, Inc. and certain other persons to dispose the Motorola Home business for a total consideration of approximately $2.35 billion in cash and stock, subject to certain adjustments. The transaction is expected to close in 2013. As a result, financial results related to the Home business are presented as net loss from discontinued operations on the consolidated statements of income, and are excluded from all other results unless otherwise noted. Assets and liabilities of the Home business are not presented separately because they are not material.

Google Inc. reported consolidated revenues of $14.42 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2012, an increase of 36% compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. Google Inc. reports advertising revenues, consistent with GAAP, on a gross basis without deducting traffic acquisition costs (TAC). In the fourth quarter of 2012, TAC totaled $3.08 billion, or 25% of advertising revenues.

Operating income, operating margin, net income, and earnings per share (EPS) are reported on a GAAP and non-GAAP basis. The non-GAAP measures, as well as free cash flow, an alternative non-GAAP measure of liquidity, are described below and are reconciled to the corresponding GAAP measures at the end of this release.

  • GAAP operating income in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $3.39 billion, or 24% of revenues. This compares to GAAP operating income of $3.51 billion, or 33% of revenues, in the fourth quarter of 2011. Non-GAAP operating income in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $4.27 billion, or 30% of revenues. This compares to non-GAAP operating income of $4.04 billion, or 38% of revenues, in the fourth quarter of 2011. Had we included Home, non-GAAP operating income in the fourth quarter of 2012 would have been $4.31 billion.
  • GAAP net income including net loss from discontinued operations in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $2.89 billion, compared to $2.71 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011. Non-GAAP net income in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $3.57 billion, compared to $3.13 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011.
  • GAAP EPS including impact from net loss from discontinued operations in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $8.62 on 335 million diluted shares outstanding, compared to $8.22 in the fourth quarter of 2011 on 329 million diluted shares outstanding. Non-GAAP EPS in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $10.65, compared to $9.50 in the fourth quarter of 2011.
  • Non-GAAP operating income and non-GAAP operating margin exclude stock-based compensation (SBC) expense, as well as restructuring and related charges recorded in our Motorola Mobile business. Non-GAAP net income and non-GAAP EPS exclude the expenses noted above, net of the related tax benefits, as well as net loss from discontinued operations. In the fourth quarter of 2012, the expense related to SBC and the related tax benefits were $700 million and $152 million compared to $536 million and $114 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. In the fourth quarter of 2012, restructuring and related charges recorded in our Motorola Mobile business were $178 million, and the related tax benefits were $65 million. In addition, net loss from discontinued operations, in the fourth quarter of 2012, was $21 million. In the fourth quarter of 2012, non-GAAP operating income with Home included the impact from Home of $35 million and excludes the above SBC expense and restructuring and related charges.

Q4 Financial Highlights

Revenues and other information – On a consolidated basis, Google Inc. revenues for the quarter ended December 31, 2012 was $14.42 billion, an increase of 36% compared to the fourth quarter of 2011.

  • Google Revenues (advertising and other) – Google revenues were $12.91 billion, or 89% of consolidated revenues, in the fourth quarter of 2012, representing a 22% increase over fourth quarter 2011 revenues of $10.58 billion.
    • Google Sites Revenues – Google-owned sites generated revenues of $8.64 billion, or 67% of total Google revenues, in the fourth quarter of 2012. This represents a 18% increase over fourth quarter 2011 Google sites revenues of $7.29 billion.
    • Google Network Revenues – Google’s partner sites generated revenues of $3.44 billion, or 27% of total Google revenues, in the fourth quarter of 2012. This represents a 19% increase from fourth quarter 2011 Google network revenues of $2.88 billion.
    • Other Revenues – Other revenues from Google were $829 million, or 6% of total Google revenues, in the fourth quarter of 2012. This represents a 102% increase over fourth quarter 2011 other revenues of $410 million.

    Google International Revenues – Google revenues from outside of the United States totaled $6.9 billion, representing 54% of total Google revenues in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to 53% in the third quarter of 2012 and 53% in the fourth quarter of 2011.

    Foreign Exchange Impact on Google Revenues – Excluding gains related to our foreign exchange risk management program, had foreign exchange rates remained constant from the third quarter of 2012 through the fourth quarter of 2012, our Google revenues in the fourth quarter of 2012 would have been $130 million lower. Excluding gains related to our foreign exchange risk management program, had foreign exchange rates remained constant from the fourth quarter of 2011 through the fourth quarter of 2012, our Google revenues in the fourth quarter of 2012 would have been $193 million higher.

    • Google revenues from the United Kingdom totaled $1.30 billion, representing 10% of Google revenues in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to 10% in the fourth quarter of 2011.
    • In the fourth quarter of 2012, we recognized a benefit of $37 million to Google revenues through our foreign exchange risk management program, compared to $25 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.

    Reconciliations of our non-GAAP international revenues excluding the impact of foreign exchange and hedging to GAAP international revenues are included at the end of this release.

    Paid Clicks – Aggregate paid clicks, which include clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of our Network members, increased approximately 24% over the fourth quarter of 2011 and increased approximately 9% over the third quarter of 2012.

    Cost-Per-Click – Average cost-per-click, which includes clicks related to ads served on Google sites and the sites of our Network members, decreased approximately 6% over the fourth quarter of 2011 and increased approximately 2% over the third quarter of 2012.

    TAC – Traffic acquisition costs, the portion of revenues shared with Google’s partners, increased to $3.08 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $2.45 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011. TAC as a percentage of advertising revenues was 25% in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to 24% in the fourth quarter of 2011.

    The majority of TAC is related to amounts ultimately paid to our Network members, which totaled $2.44 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012. TAC also includes amounts ultimately paid to certain distribution partners and others who direct traffic to our website, which totaled $634 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.

  • Motorola Mobile Revenues (hardware and other) – Motorola Mobile revenues were $1.51 billion, or 11% of consolidated revenues in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Other Cost of Revenues – Other cost of revenues, which is comprised primarily of data center operational expenses, amortization of intangible assets, content acquisition costs, credit card processing charges, and manufacturing and inventory-related costs, increased to $3.14 billion, or 22% of revenues, in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $1.25 billion, or 12% of revenues, in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Operating Expenses – Operating expenses, other than cost of revenues, were $4.81 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, or 33% of revenues, compared to $3.38 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011, or 32% of revenues.

Amortization Expenses – Amortization expenses of acquisition-related intangible assets were $289 million for the fourth quarter of 2012.  Of the $289 million, $153 million was as a result of the acquisition of Motorola, of which $116 million was allocated to Google and $37 million was allocated to Motorola Mobile.

Stock-Based Compensation (SBC) – In the fourth quarter of 2012, the total charge related to SBC was $708 million, compared to $536 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.

We currently estimate SBC charges for grants to employees prior to January 1, 2013 to be approximately $2.5 billion for 2013. This estimate does not include expenses to be recognized related to employee stock awards that are granted after December 31, 2012 or non-employee stock awards that have been or may be granted.

Operating Income – On a consolidated basis, GAAP operating income in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $3.39 billion, or 24% of revenues. This compares to GAAP operating income of $3.51 billion, or 33% of revenues, in the fourth quarter of 2011. Non-GAAP operating income in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $4.27 billion, or 30% of revenues. This compares to non-GAAP operating income of $4.04 billion, or 38% of revenues, in the fourth quarter of 2011.

  • Google Operating Income – GAAP operating income for Google was $3.75 billion, or 29% of Google revenues, in the fourth quarter of 2012. This compares to GAAP operating income of $3.51 billion, or 33% of Google revenues, in the fourth quarter of 2011. Non-GAAP operating income in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $4.42 billion, or 34% of Google revenues. This compares to non-GAAP operating income of $4.04 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011, or 38% of Google revenues.
  • Motorola Mobile Operating Loss – GAAP operating loss for Motorola Mobile was $353 million, or -23% of Motorola Mobile revenues in the fourth quarter of 2012. Non-GAAP operating loss for Motorola Mobile in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $152 million, or -10% of Motorola Mobile revenues.

Interest and Other Income, Net – Interest and other income, net, was $152 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to an expense of $18 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Income Taxes – Our effective tax rate was 18% for the fourth quarter of 2012.

Net Income – GAAP net income in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $2.89 billion, compared to $2.71 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011. Non-GAAP net income was $3.57 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to $3.13 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011. GAAP EPS in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $8.62 on 335 million diluted shares outstanding, compared to $8.22 in the fourth quarter of 2011 on 329 million diluted shares outstanding. Non-GAAP EPS in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $10.65, compared to $9.50 in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Cash Flow and Capital Expenditures (including Home) – Net cash provided by operating activities in the fourth quarter of 2012 totaled $4.67 billion, compared to $3.92 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011. In the fourth quarter of 2012, capital expenditures were $1.02 billion, the majority of which was for production equipment, data center construction and facilities-related purchases. Free cash flow, an alternative non-GAAP measure of liquidity, is defined as net cash provided by operating activities less capital expenditures. In the fourth quarter of 2012, free cash flow was $3.65 billion.

We expect to continue to make significant capital expenditures.

A reconciliation of free cash flow to net cash provided by operating activities, the GAAP measure of liquidity, is included at the end of this release.

Cash – As of December 31, 2012, cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities were $48.1 billion.

Headcount – On a worldwide basis, we employed 53,861 full-time employees (37,544 in Google and 11,113 in Motorola Mobile and 5,204 in Motorola Home) as of December 31, 2012, compared to 53,546 full-time employees as of September 30, 2012.

Top Image Credit: Karen Horton