AOL Slows Revenue Decline In Q2 As Ad Sales Grow

You look for good news where you can find it. And for AOL, it’s in a 6% increase in global ad sales in Q2 — and the $1.1B it received from its patent sale to Microsoft. That jolt of cash enabled the Internet company to report Q2 net income of $970.8M vs its $11.8M loss in the period last year, on revenues of $531.1M, -2%. The revenue figure beats the $519.4M that analysts expected. Wall Street forecast earnings per share to come in at 10 cents a share; AOL’s reported figure — $10.17 — includes the Microsoft cash and isn’t comparable. But if you dig into the report, the company says that the unusual items added $9.94 to the EPS. Do a little subtraction, and you get EPS of 23 cents, well above the consensus. Along with the extra funds, AOL says it spent $8.8M on its recent proxy fight, $7.6M to settle a Virginia tax matter, and $5.6M in costs related to the patent sale. While AOL saw strong growth in sales of display ads overseas, in the U.S. display was flat and search and contextual ads were -1%. Subscription revenues fell 13% to $175.3M as the number of people buying AOL’s domestic Internet access service declined 3% vs the end of Q1 to 3.0M. CEO Tim Armstrong says the latest report is a “significant milestone” because it’s the first time in four years that the company showed growth in adjusted OIBDA — a measure of cash flow. “The strong results and consumer performance we announced today are clear signs our strategic and operating efforts are translating into significant financial progress.”

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