Google Posts 12% Q1 Revenue Increase At $17.3B

Chris CrumBusiness

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Google just reported its Q1 financial results, with revenue up 12% year-over-year at $17.3 billion.

“Excluding the net impact of foreign currency headwinds, revenue grew a healthy 17% year on year,” said outgoing CFO Patrick Pichette. “We continue to see great momentum in our mobile advertising business and opportunities with brand advertisers.”

Google reported EPS of $6.57, which was slightly lower than forecasts.

Aggregate paid clicks were up 1% quarter-over-quarter and 13% year-over-year. Paid clicks on Google sites were up 25% year-over-year, while paid clicks on network sites were up 12%.

Average cost-per-click increased 7% year-over-year and 5% quarter-over-quarter. On Google sites it was up 13% year-over-year and 3% quarter-over-quarter. On network sites it was up 2% year-over-year and 11% quarter-over-quarter.

Here's the release in its entirety:

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – April 23, 2015 – Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG, GOOGL) today announced financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2015.

“Google’s first quarter revenue was $17.3 billion, up 12% year on year. Excluding the net impact of foreign currency headwinds, revenue grew a healthy 17% year on year,” said Patrick Pichette, CFO of Google. “We continue to see great momentum in our mobile advertising business and opportunities with brand advertisers.”

Q1 2015 Financial Summary

Operating income, operating margin, net income, and earnings per share (EPS) are reported on a GAAP and non-GAAP basis. Non-GAAP operating income and non-GAAP operating margin exclude stock-based compensation (SBC) expense from continuing operations. Non-GAAP net income and non-GAAP diluted EPS exclude SBC expense from continuing operations, net of the related tax benefits, as well as Net Loss from Discontinued Operations. These non-GAAP measures, as well as free cash flow, an alternative non-GAAP measure of liquidity, and non-GAAP constant currency revenues and growth, are described and reconciled to the corresponding GAAP measures at the end of this release. The following summarizes our consolidated financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2015 (in millions, except for per share and shares outstanding information; unaudited):

Three Months Ended March 31, 2014Three Months Ended March 31, 2015
Revenues$15,420$17,258
Increase in revenues year over year19%12%
Traffic acquisition costs (TAC)$3,232$3,345
GAAP operating income$4,115$4,447
GAAP operating margin27%26%
Non-GAAP operating income$4,954$5,650
Non-GAAP operating margin32%33%
GAAP net income*$3,452$3,586
Non-GAAP net income$4,299$4,532
GAAP diluted EPS*$5.04$5.20
Non-GAAP diluted EPS$6.27$6.57
Diluted shares (in thousands)685,212689,498
*GAAP net income and diluted EPS include Net Loss from Discontinued Operations for the three months ended March 31, 2014.

Q1 2015 Financial Highlights

Revenues and Monetization

Revenues by source are presented in the table below (in millions; unaudited):

Three Months Ended March 31, 2015Change from Q1 2014 to Q1 2015 (YoY)Change from Q4 2014 to Q1 2015 (QoQ)
Google websites$11,93214%(4)%
Google Network Members' websites*3,5761%(8)%
Total advertising revenues**15,50811%(5)%
Other revenues*1,75023%(2)%
Revenues$17,25812%(5)%
*Prior period amounts have been adjusted to reflect the reclassification primarily related to DoubleClick ad serving software revenues from Other Revenues to Advertising Revenues from Google Network Members' Websites to conform with our current period presentation.
**Advertising revenues are generally reported on a gross basis, consistent with GAAP, without deducting TAC.

Excluding hedging gains of $311 million related to our foreign exchange risk management program, had foreign exchange rates remained constant from the first quarter of 2014 through the first quarter of 2015, our revenues in the first quarter of 2015 would have been $795 million higher. Additionally, our constant currency revenue growth in the first quarter of 2015 was 17% year over year. Our constant currency revenues, which exclude the foreign exchange impact on our current period revenues and hedging gains, are presented in the financial tables following this release as well as in the accompanying materials on the Investor Relations website.

Paid clicks and cost-per-click information is in the table below (unaudited):

Change from Q1 2014 to Q1 2015 (YoY)Change from Q4 2014 to Q1 2015 (QoQ)
Aggregate paid clicks13%(1)%
Paid clicks on Google websites25%(3)%
Paid clicks on Google Network Members' websites(12)%4%
Aggregate cost-per-click(7)%(5)%
Cost-per-click on Google websites(13)%(3)%
Cost-per-click on Google Network Members' websites2%(11)%

Costs and Expenses

Traffic acquisition costs (TAC), other cost of revenues, operating expenses, stock-based compensation expense, and depreciation and amortization expense are presented in the table below (in millions; unaudited):

Three Months Ended March 31, 2014Three Months Ended March 31, 2015
TAC to Google Network Members$2,387$2,432
TAC to distribution partners$845$913
Total TAC$3,232$3,345
TAC to Google Network Members as % of Google Network Members' revenues*68%68%
TAC to distribution partners as % of Google Website revenues8%8%
Total TAC as % of advertising revenues*23%22%
Other cost of revenues$2,729$3,011
Other cost of revenue as % of revenues18%17%
Operating expenses (other than cost of revenues)$5,344$6,455
Operating expenses as % of revenues35%37%
Stock-based compensation expense**$839$1,203
Tax benefit related to stock-based compensation expense$(190)$(257)
Depreciation, amortization, and impairment charges**$1,086$1,177
*Prior period amounts have been adjusted to reflect the reclassification primarily related to DoubleClick ad serving software revenues from Other Revenues to Advertising Revenues from Google Network Members' Websites to conform with our current period presentation.
**Included in Cost of revenues and Operating expenses. Excludes impact from discontinued operations for the three months ended March 31, 2014.

Supplemental Information (in millions except for headcount data; unaudited)

Three Months Ended March 31, 2014Three Months Ended March 31, 2015
Cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities$59,379$65,436
Net cash provided by operating activities$4,391$6,617
Capital expenditures*$2,345$2,927
Free cash flow$2,046$3,690
Effective tax rate18%22%
Headcount46,17055,419
*For Q1 2015, our capital expenditures are primarily related to production equipment, data center construction, and facilities. We expect to continue to make significant capital expenditures.

Adjustment Payment in relation to Class C Capital Stock Distribution

In January 2014, our board of directors approved the distribution of shares of Class C capital stock as a dividend to our holders of Class A and Class B common stock (the Stock Split). The Stock Split had a record date of March 27, 2014 and a payment date of April 2, 2014. In accordance with a settlement of litigation involving the authorization to distribute Class C capital stock, at the close of trading on April 2, 2015, the last trading day of the 365 day period following the first date the Class C shares traded on NASDAQ (Lookback Period), we determined that a payment (the Adjustment Payment) in the amount of $522 million was due. The amount of the Adjustment Payment was based on the percentage difference that developed between the volume-weighted average price of Class A and Class C shares during the Lookback Period, as supplied by NASDAQ Data-on-Demand, and is payable to holders of Class C capital stock as of the end of the Lookback Period in cash, Class A common stock, Class C capital stock, or a combination thereof, at the discretion of our board of directors. On April 22, 2015, our board of directors approved the Adjustment Payment to be paid on or about May 4, 2015 in shares of Class C capital stock, and cash in lieu of any fractional shares of Class C capital stock.

WEBCAST AND CONFERENCE CALL INFORMATION

A live audio webcast of Google’s first quarter 2015 earnings release call will be available at https://investor.google.com/webcast.html. The call begins today at 1:30 PM (PT) / 4:30 PM (ET). This press release, the financial tables, as well as other supplemental information including the reconciliations of certain non-GAAP measures to their nearest comparable GAAP measures, are also available on that site.

We also announce investor information, including news and commentary about our business and financial performance, SEC filings, notices of investor events and our press and earnings releases, on our investor relations website (https://investor.google.com).

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. These statements include statements regarding our investments in areas of strategic focus and our plans to make significant capital expenditures. Actual results may differ materially from the results predicted, and reported results should not be considered as an indication of future performance. The potential risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from the results predicted include, among others, unforeseen changes in our hiring patterns and our need to expend capital to accommodate the growth of the business, as well as those risks and uncertainties included under the captions “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014, which is on file with the SEC and are available on our investor relations website at investor.google.com and on the SEC website at www.sec.gov. Additional information will also be set forth in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2015. All information provided in this release and in the attachments is as of April 23, 2015, and we undertake no duty to update this information unless required by law.

ABOUT NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES

To supplement our consolidated financial statements, which are prepared and presented in accordance with GAAP, we use the following non-GAAP financial measures: non-GAAP operating income, non-GAAP operating margin, non-GAAP net income, non-GAAP diluted EPS, free cash flow, non-GAAP constant currency revenues, and non-GAAP constant currency revenue growth. The presentation of this financial information is not intended to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for, or superior to, the financial information prepared and presented in accordance with GAAP.

We use these non-GAAP financial measures for financial and operational decision-making and as a means to evaluate period-to-period comparisons. Our management believes that these non-GAAP financial measures provide meaningful supplemental information regarding our performance and liquidity by excluding certain expenses and expenditures that may not be indicative of our recurring core business operating results, such as our revenues excluding the impact for foreign currency fluctuations or our operating performance excluding not only non-cash charges, such as SBC, but also discrete cash charges that are infrequent in nature. We believe that both management and investors benefit from referring to these non-GAAP financial measures in assessing our performance and when planning, forecasting, and analyzing future periods. These non-GAAP financial measures also facilitate management's internal comparisons to our historical performance and liquidity as well as comparisons to our competitors' operating results. We believe these non-GAAP financial measures are useful to investors both because (1) they allow for greater transparency with respect to key metrics used by management in its financial and operational decision-making and (2) they are used by our institutional investors and the analyst community to help them analyze the health of our business.

For more information on these non-GAAP financial measures, please see the tables captioned "Reconciliations of non-GAAP results of operations to the nearest comparable GAAP measures," "Reconciliation from net cash provided by operating activities to free cash flow," and "Reconciliation from GAAP revenues to non-GAAP constant currency revenues" included at the end of this release.

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Chris Crum

Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.