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Yahoo Quarterly Earnings Fall, But Results Hit Wall Street Projections

Shares rise on news company will sell off smaller stake in Alibaba

Earnings and revenue at Yahoo fell during the company’s third quarter, but the mediocre results were roughly in line with Wall Street’s projections.

Profits at the company, which is undergoing a closely watched turnaround attempt led by new CEO Marissa Mayer, hit 28 cents a share for the three-month period ending in September, while revenue fell 1 percent $1.08 billion. Adjusted earnings per share was 34 cents, the company said.

In contrast, earnings hit $2.64 in the year-ago quarter while revenues were $1.09 billion for the same quarter the previous year.

Analysts had projected that Yahoo would show earnings of 33 cents a share and revenue of $1.08 billion.

Under Mayer, Yahoo has been investing heavily in technology and has tried to bolster its content offerings as a way of growing the internet portal’s ad sales and mobile presence.

Also read: How Twitter Can Avoid Facebook’s IPO Nightmare

Perhaps equally important as its balance sheet, Yahoo said it will not have to sell as many shares of Alibaba as part of its pending IPO as it had previously announced.

Yahoo has a 23 percent stake in the Chinese e-commerce company, a source of growth that investors find attractive.  Yahoo said it has amended its share repurchase and sale agreement with the company to reduce the maximum number of shares it is required to sell in connection with the public offering. Instead of 261.5 million shares, it now needs to sell 208 million shares.

The company currently has 523.6 million shares in Alibaba.

“I’m very pleased with our execution, especially as we’ve continued to invest in and strengthen our core business,” Mayer said in a statement. “In Q3, we launched new user experiences across many of our digital daily habits — Yahoo Screen, My Yahoo, Fantasy Sports, and more.”

Mayer noted that Yahoo’s traffic now hits 800 million monthly users, a 20 percent increase over the past 15 months. That larger audience had only a modest impact on ad revenue, however. Display ad sales dropped 7 percent to $470 million, while search revenue dropped 8 percent to $435 million.

Total ads sold increased 1 percent compared to the third quarter of 2012, but the price-per-ad fell 7 percent.

Shares of Yahoo were up 0.78 percent in after-hours trading on the earnings report and news of the company’s altered agreement with Alibaba.