SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- EBay Inc. said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter revenue rose, as the healthy holiday shopping season bolstered growth in its PayPal online payments business and online marketplace.
The company's profit fell, since the year-ago quarter included a large gain from the sale of Internet communications business Skype. Excluding special items such as the Skype gain, eBay's fourth-quarter profit shot up 24 percent.
For the quarter that ended Dec. 31, the online marketplace operator's revenue rose 5 percent from the year-ago quarter to $2.50 billion.
Analysts polled by FactSet expected $2.48 billion in revenue, on average.
San Jose-based eBay's profit fell during the quarter, since the fourth quarter of 2009 included a $1.4 billion gain from the sale of online communications service Skype.
The company earned $559.2 million, or 42 cents per share, compared with $1.35 billion, or $1.02 per share, in the year-ago quarter.
However, excluding one-time items, such as Skype, eBay earned 52 cents per share in the latest quarter, compared with 42 cents per share in 2009.
Analysts were expecting an adjusted profit of 47 cents per share.
Revenue from eBay's marketplace business, which is its largest unit and includes its namesake website, rose 4 percent to $1.52 billion.
The company said gross merchandise volume, which measures the value of all goods sold on eBay, excluding vehicles, increased 6 percent to $15 billion.
EBay.com counted 94.5 million active users at the end of the year, up 5 percent from the same quarter in 2009.
The company has been working to improve eBay.com by cutting upfront listing fees it charges sellers and revamping its home page.
EBay's second-largest business, online payments, reported $971 million in revenue - an increase of 22 percent from 2009. This unit includes PayPal and short-term credit service Bill Me Later.
Total payment volume rose 26 percent to $26.9 billion, eBay said, and PayPal had 94.4 million active registered accounts at the end of the year.
The online payments unit has grown speedily even while eBay's marketplace has struggled to bring in and retain buyers and sellers. Within the next few years, eBay expects this business' revenue to surpass the marketplace unit.
Looking at the current quarter, eBay is projecting a profit of 34 cents to 36 cents per share, or 44 cents to 46 cents per share when excluding one-time items, on $2.40 billion to $2.50 billion in revenue.
Analysts expect an adjusted profit of 45 cents per share on $2.42 billion in revenue.
EBay shares rose 83 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $29.93 in after-hours trading. The stock finished regular trading down 35 cents at $29.10.
For the full year, eBay earned $1.80 billion, or $1.36 per share, compared with $2.39 billion, or $1.83 per share in 2009.
Revenue rose 5 percent to $9.16 billion in 2010.
Jessica Wilson/ KETKnbc.com