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Ask Jeeves profit rise leaves market cold

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Ask Jeeves has posted a steep increase in revenue in Q4, boosted by better advertising sales, and the acquisition of Interactive Search Holdings.

It reported revenue of $86.1m for the quarter ending 31 December, up 170 per cent on the same period a year ago. Profits rose too, reaching $17.1m (on a GAAP basis), or 25c per share, up from $7.6m, or 13c per share for Q4 2003. Its partnership with Google, a deal which lasts until the end of 2007, contributed 70 per cent of its revenue.

Full year figures were also up. Ask Jeeves more than doubled revenues for the year, with $261m for 2004 against $107m in 2003. Profit from continuing operations was $52.4m (Q403 $24.8m).

Despite this, analysts had expected better after Google's record results announced earlier in the week, and shares in the company fell almost five per cent on the news. The global market in internet search grew 24 percent in the last quarter of 2004, and analysts pointed out that Ask Jeeves has not kept pace with that growth.

For Q105, the company said it expects revenues of $94m, and GAAP net income of 24c per share, approximately $16.8m. ®

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