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Alphabet beats Wall Street expectations with Q1 earnings but sees 'significant' slowdown in ad revenue (GOOG, GOOGL)

Sundar Pichai, Chief Executive Officer of Alphabet, gestures as he speaks during a session of the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 22, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
  • Alphabet announced its first-quarter results on Tuesday, giving us our first look at how the pandemic is affecting the company.
  • The company announced a revenue of $33.7 billion minus traffic-acquisition costs, beating Wall Street estimates. Its cloud and YouTube businesses also got a nice bump.
  • But Google acknowledged a "significant slowdown" of its ad revenue.
  • Analysts are keeping an especially close eye on Google's performance from mid-March onward, as this was when most of its workforce began working from home.
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Alphabet on Tuesday reported its first-quarter earnings for the year, with $33.7 billion in revenue minus traffic-acquisition costs, beating analyst estimates by about $1.1 billion. Shares were up 8% in after-hours trading.
As was expected, Google reported a slump in ad-revenue growth with $33.76 billion for the quarter, a sluggish 10% year-over-year growth from 2019 and a marked slowdown from the roughly 16% ad revenue growth rate that Google posted for the full 2019 year.
It also reported earnings per share of $9.87, missing analysts' target of $10.35.
"Performance was strong during the first two months of the quarter, but then in March we experienced a significant slowdown in ad revenues," Google Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said in a statement.
This is also the second time that Google has spun out earnings for YouTube and Cloud, with YouTube bringing in $4.04 billion and Cloud raking in $2.7 billion. That marks a 33% year-over-year growth increase for Google's YouTube ad revenue and a whopping 52% jump for Cloud. However, Porat added that YouTube's revenue growth slowed in the latter part of the first quarter.
Elsewhere, Google's "other" revenues, which covers things like hardware and Google Play purchases, were $4.44 billion for the quarter — up 23% year over year. As for Alphabet's "other bets" — such as Waymo and Verily — the company reported revenue of $135 million, down year over year by 21%.
Google's traffic-acquisition costs — money Google must spend on resources to acquire traffic — were up $7.45 billion, marking a 9% growth increase.
This is a huge moment for the company, which is grappling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on its ad business — something that is very evident in the earnings. But it's the second-quarter results that analysts believe will better reflect the extent of the damage.
On Alphabet's earnings call, CEO Sundar Pichai said that the company saw strong ad performance in January and February but a notable slowdown in March. "Even through March, our non-advertising revenue lines maintained a strong performance," Porat added.
Alphabet is the first tech giant to announce its first-quarter earnings and reveal the devastation of the pandemic on its business so far. Facebook shares were up 1.4% in after-hours trading after Alphabet's earnings release, and all eyes are on the company's earnings tomorrow to see how its digital-ad business is also faring.
Here are the full results and how they compare with the analyst forecasts:
  • Q1 revenue minus traffic-acquisition costs (TAC): $33.7 billion. Wall Street had predicted $32.5 billion.
  • Q1 earnings per share (GAAP): $9.87, slightly up from $9.50 in the first quarter of 2019.
  • Q2 revenue forecast (minus TAC): $29.86 billion. In the same period last year, Alphabet reported $31.7 billion on the same basis.
  • Q2 EPS (GAAP) forecast: $7.89 per share. Alphabet earned $14.21 per share for the same quarter last year.
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Source
https://www.businessinsider.com/alphabet-google-q1-earnings-revenue-profit-2020-4


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