Yahoo Q4 2013 Earnings Slide 6% To $1.27B On EPS Of $0.46, Display Ads Down 6%

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Yahoo today reported its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2013, where it reported GAAP revenues of $1.27 billion and non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.46. Excluding traffic acquisition costs, revenues were $1.2 billion. Sales were down by 6% but EPS was up 31%.

Non-GAAP income from operations was $330 million, down 3% on a year ago.

Based on First Call analysts estimates — which put ex-TAC revenues $1.201 billion, non-GAAP Operating Income at $249.7 — this was a mixed bag. Analysts estimated EPS at $0.38. The figures fell well within the guidance given by Yahoo of revenue ex-TAC of $1,180 – $1,220 and Yahoo’s exceeded non-GAAP operating income estimates of between $240 – $260 million.

Full-year figures, also being reported today, show revenues at $4.7 billion, down 6%; and net income of $590 million, up 4%.

Display advertising, excluding traffic acquisition costs, was $491 million down 6% compared to $520 million for Q4 of 2012. Display revenue ex-TAC was $1,737 million for the full year of 2013, a 9 percent decrease compared to $1,899 million for the prior year.

Search was a bit more of a brighter picture. Yahoo said search revenue ex-TAC was $461 million for the fourth quarter of 2013, up 8% compared to $427 million for the fourth quarter of 2012. Search revenue ex-TAC was $1,699 million for the full year of 2013, a 6 percent increase compared to $1,611 million for the prior year.

With Yahoo’s revenues last quarter barely beating estimates on sales of $1.08 billion and display advertising declining 7% to $421 million (ex-traffic acquisition costs), all eyes are on whether Yahoo has managed to reverse the course of its main revenue driver. This quarter was mixed in that regard.

Earlier this month the company announced a new ad exchange and ad manager to buy across native, audience, premium and search products. It’s also now powering the sponsored posts on Tumblr — part of its larger plan to ramp up its presence in Tumblr ads this year. The effects of developments like these probably won’t trickle into results for some time, though.

Under Marissa Mayer as CEO, the company has been on an acquisition tear, with eight acquisitions in the last quarter alone — Aviate (ThumbsUp Labs), PeerCDN (Instant IO), Evntlive, Ptch, SkyPhrase, LookFlow, Bread Labs and Hitpost. Combined with continued investment in Yahoo’s products and share repurchases, these three areas have reduced the company’s cash position to about $5 billion, down by $1 billion from a year ago.

One thing that can provide a boost to that cash position could be patent sales down the line. CFO Ken Goldman, during the conference call, said that the company was looking at patent sales later this year, and emphasized that they would be to operating companies — not enforcement entities.