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Sohu.com Q4 Profit Declines On Costs, Changyou Earnings Climb

Sohu.com Inc. (SOHU), a China-based online media, search, gaming, community and mobile service group, Monday reported a decline in fourth-quarter profit, reflecting higher costs and expenses, despite a 22 percent growth in revenues.

Meanwhile, Changyou.com Ltd (CYOU), Sohu's online game subsidiary, reported an increase in its fourth-quarter profit as revenues climbed 26 percent from last year.

Sohu's fourth-quarter net income attributable to the company declined to $23.06 million or $0.60 per share from $25.25 million or $0.65 per share in the previous year.

On a non-GAAP basis, net income attributable to Sohu.com was $0.73 per share in the recent quarter, while it was $1.36 per share in the prior year.

On average, eight analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings per share of $0.53 for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Meanwhile, quarterly revenues climbed 22 percent to $299.49 million, which also came above analysts' estimate of $292.46 million. Brand advertising revenues increased 6 percent from last year and Sogou revenues surged 78 percent. Online game revenues were up 29 percent from the preceding year.

Charles Zhang, chairman and CEO of Sohu.com stated, "By business units, for online video, we achieved initial success of our newly established dedicated sales team as the business returned to growth in the fourth quarter, and we expect the performance to further accelerate in 2013."

Gross margin was 69 percent, lower than 71 percent in the year-ago quarter. Operating expenses advanced 12 percent year-over-year.

Looking ahead to the first quarter of 2013, Sohu estimates non-GAAP earnings attributable to the company to be in the range of $0.50 to $0.55 per share. Total revenues are expected to be between $290 million and $299 million. Analysts project first-quarter earnings per share of $0.58, on revenues of $278.65 million.

Changyou's net income attributable to the company climbed to $75.16 million or $1.41 per ADS from $64.33 million or $1.21 per ADS a year earlier. Adjusted earnings were $1.42 per ADS for the period, while it was $1.33 last year. Six analysts, on average, expected earnings per ADS of $1.31 for the quarter.

Total revenues climbed 26 percent to $173.54 million, which also exceeded analysts' consensus estimate of $168.83 million.

For the first quarter, Changyou.com expects adjusted earnings per ADS to be in the range of $1.38 to $1.44. Revenues are expected to be between $168 million and $174 million. Analysts are looking for earnings per ADS of $1.38, on revenue of $166.90 million for the quarter.

SOHU closed Friday's regular trading at $49.22 on the Nasdaq, while CYOU ended at $31.30.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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