AOL: Earnings Beat Forecast, Shares Rise

Advertising up, sales fall, but still exceed forecasts

Rising online advertising fees boosted first-quarter results at America Online (NYSE:AOL).

The company reported that its profits soared to $21.1 million, more than four times the $4.7 million recorded during the same period last year.

AOL Looks Like a Big Juicy Short
AOL Looks Like a Big Juicy Short

AOL shares rose about 5% in early Wednesday trading.

EPS for the first quarter was 22 cents, which bested analysts’ forecast of 17 cents, according to Bloomberg. First-quarter EPS last year was just 4 cents.

Total sales for the quarter were $529.4 million, down 4% from $551.4 million in 2011, but still enough to beat analysts who had predicted $525.2 million.

Advertising sales rose 5% during the quarter to hit $330.1 million. However, display ads slipped 1% to $118.9 million, the first drop in five consecutive quarters, Bloomberg noted.

The previously announced $1.06 billion sale of 800 patents to Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) will be finalized later this year, according to AOL. The company noted that a $211.2 termination fee is attached to the deal.

Last week, Arianna Huffington publicly denied rumors that she intended to purchase the Huffington Post back from AOL. The company has been attempting to rebrand itself as a digital media provider as its dial-up internet connection business disappears.

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