Ask Jeeves Inc. registered earnings that topped financial expectations by Wall Street and raised its quarterly and full-year forecasts, citing increased Internet traffic and web advertising revenue spending and sales.
The search engine companie’s shares about 4 percent in trading after the positive news from the Ask Jeeves company, rumored in some arenas to be acquition bait for Microsoft or Yahoo (again, rumors).
Ask Jeeves had a profit from continuing operations of $13.4 million, or 23 cents per diluted share, compared with its year-earlier income from continuing operations of $8.5 million, or 17 cents per diluted share. The year-earlier results included an acquisition-related gain of 10 cents per share.
Revenue was up almost 73 percent, to $39.2 million from $22.7 million last year. Rueters reports that Ask Jeeves’s advertising partnership with Google Inc., the No. 1 Web search provider, has contributed 69 percent of overall revenue.
Ask Jeeves surprised a large part of the search market by gobbling up Interactive Search Holdings Inc. for about $328 million. The Ask Jeeves acquisition of Interactive Search Holdings opened the Ask Jeeves umbrella over their new BIG and branded properties- iWon, Excite and My Search.
The acquisition of iWon, Excite and MySearch essentially doubled the Ask Jeeves’ market share to 7 percent of the search engine industry (figure from CNN). Between all of its brands, Interactive Search had 700 million searches in the fourth quarter of 2003- 20 million more than the 680 million searches that Ask Jeeves pulled in over the same time span.