Maybe they have already. I've seen hints from 16
to 24 cents here and there. They aren't going to
come out on the Yahoo board and say "REAL AOL EMPLOYEE
HERE". If there hasn't been any real AOL employee, maybe
they don't want to risk it. i don't know.
Strong advertising growth boosts AOL past 1Q
By Larry Barrett ZDII
Online Inc. (NYSE: AOL) hustled past analysts' estimates
in its first quarter Wednesday, raking in $184
million, or 15 cents a share, on sales of $1.5 billion.
Its shares closed up 5 3/4 to 121 ahead of the
First Call consensus pegged the
world's largest online service provider for a profit of
13 cents a share in the quarter though so-called
"whisper" estimates were closer to 15 cents a share.
After watching its stock price slide for more than five
months, AOL answered its critics with impressive growth
in several key areas.
First of all, the $1.5
billion in sales represents a 47 percent improvement
compared to the year-ago quarter when it earned $50
million, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $1 billion.
In the quarter, AOL added another 1.1 million new
members worldwide, including a better-than-expected jump
of 378,000 CompuServe 2000 members.
popular ICQ service ended the quarter with more than 45
million registered users.
By adding a total of
1.1 million subscribers this quarter, AOL now has
more than 19 million registered users. And those
registered users accounted for almost $1 billion of its
Advertising revenue soars
In the quarter, AOL reported more than $350 million
in advertising and e-commerce sales, doubling the
$175 million it did in the year-ago period.
if that weren't enough, AOL also said it exited the
quarter with a $2 billion backlog in advertising orders
it had yet to place.
"Our growth is
accelerating across the board," said COO Bob Pittman in a
prepared release. "We are confident that new services,
products and initiatives across our brands will continue
to build our success in all meaningful markets for
Last quarter, AOL earned $156
million, or 13 cents a share, on sales of $1.4 billion.
Not only did AOL add more subscribers this quarter,
but those subscribers stayed online longer than they
ever had before. This quarter, AOL users spent an
average of 55 minutes online daily compared to 52 minutes
Operating income jumped 244
percent to $265 million or 18.1 percent of revenue, up
from 7.7 percent a year ago. EBITDA rose to a record
$386 million for the quarter, a 152 percent increase
over a year ago, and EBITDA margins increased to 26.3
Jim Preissler, an analyst at PaineWebber,
had pegged AOL for total sales of $1.44 billion and
predicted it might beat the Street estimate by a penny a
"We believe AOL will continue to find a
balance that can satisfy both near-term investors'
expectations, as well as provide enough long-term re-investment
to continue to grow the business at a rapid rate,"
Preissler said in a research note. "We would expect to see
this continued "brute-force" strength in operating
results reflected in ongoing growth."
calls the stock his "best pick" and has set a 12-month
price target of $215 a share.
The stock hit a
52-week high of 175 � in April after trading at a low of
25 1/8 last October.
Forty of the 43
analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or
"strong buy" recommendation.