eBay earnings beat for Q4, 2009; credits PayPal's "exceptional performance"

eBay beats Wall Street's estimates for the fourth quarter and full year 2009.

eBay beat Wall Street's expectations, reporting a net income of $585 million, or 44 cents per share, for the fourth quarter, a 9 percent jump over the same quarter a year ago. Revenue for the quarter was $2.4 billion, up 16 percent increase from ta year ago. Analysts had expected earnings of 40 cents per share on sales of $2.29 billion. (Statement)

For the full year, eBay reported net income of $2.1 billion, or $1.58 per share, on sales of $8.7 billion.  Analysts had been expecting an eps of $1.54 on sales of $8.65 billion.

The company said revenue growth was driven by "exceptional performance" by PayPal and "excellent growth" by StubHub. The payments unit saw year-over-year revenue growth of 28 percent and net total payment volume increase 34 percent.

In a call with analysts, President and CEO John Donahoe boasted PayPal's increased global presence and said it processed more than $20 billion in total payment volume in a quarter for the first time. He called the unit a "truly global" service, highlighting 24 currencies in 190 markets. In addition, he said that 25 percent of the total payment volume stemmed from cross-border transactions.

Donahoe also said that more than 12,000 developers are tapping into the open payments platform to build PayPal-integrated apps.

Marketplaces, which includes eBay and StubHub, saw a 15 percent revenue growth over the year-ago quarter and said it benefited from strong growth in its fixed-price format.  StubHub ticket sales were up 54 percent and the classifieds business was up 20 percent.

Also see: eBay: Does it have any answers for Amazon?

The big headline related to the communications unit during the quarter was the completion of the sale of 70 percent of Skype, which resulted in a cash benefit of $1.9 billion. Skype contributed $112 million in revenue during the quarter, through the final sales date.

Looking ahead, the company estimates first quarter net revenues to be in the range of $2.1 billion to $2.2 billion and earnings per share to be between 39 cents and 41 cents. For the full year 2010, it estimates net revenues to be in the range of $8.8 billion to $9.1 billion and eps to be between $1.63 and $1.68.

For the first quarter outlook, Wall Street had been expecting earnings of 39 cents on sales of $2.15 billion. For the full year 2010 outlook, Wall Streets estimates were earnings of $1.60 per share on sales of $9.03 billion,

Shares of eBay were down more than 4 percent in regular trading, closing at $22.23. Shares were up slightly, less than one percent, in after-hours trading. The company will host a conference call with analysts this afternoon.