Yahoo! Back! In! The! Black!

Reasons to be cheerful

Yahoo!, the world's biggest Internet portal (whatever MSN claims), is on the road to recovery, reporting a 24 per cent advance in Q2 revenues to $225.8m (Q2 2001: $182.2m) and making its first profit in six quarters.

The boost may be almost entirely down to HotJobs, bought in Q1, but sales are up, and that's what counts in these days of dotcom gloom. Yahoo! is looking more confident too: a few months ago it was forecasting $750m-$800m revenues in 2002. Since then the figures have been revised upwards twice - yesterday the company forecast 2002 revenues of between $900m and $940m.

Q2 earnings before bad stuff (EBS) - interest, depreciation, amortization and, interesting one this, stock compensation expenses - was $36.1m, against an EBS loss of $38m in Q2 last year. The latter figure includes $45.5m of restructuring and acquisition-related costs, Yahoo! notes - in other words, underlying operational performance was better than the splash of red ink suggests.

The company's core advertising revenues appear to have stabilised (we say 'appear' because there is no indication of how many annual contracts are up for renewal in Q3), down 4 per cent in Q2 last year to $135.7m. Advertising from Internet companies is down, but this is offset by higher revenues to SMEs "realized through Yahoo!'s sponsored search services and inside sales organization".

Fees and listings were $74.1m, 109 per cent up on the same period last year. This is attributed to the HotJobs acquisition, the monetisation of Yahoo! Personals and higher take-up for Yahoo's other paid-for services - the company says it has one million paying customers and hopes to hit 2 million by the end of the year. Ecommerce revenues were $16m, 179 per cent up on last year. ®

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