Strong ad sales boost Google’s Q4 profits

Google has reported a 17 per cent increase in its fourth quarter revenues, boosted by improved ad sales.

The search engine giant announced in its fourth quarter and annual results that its Board of Directors had approved a stock split, which will take place on 2 April.

"We ended 2013 with another great quarter of momentum and growth. Google's standalone revenue was up 22 per cent year on year, at $15.7 billion (£9.5 billion)", said Larry Page, CEO of Google.

"We made great progress across a wide range of product improvements and business goals. I'm also very excited about improving people's lives even more with continued hard work on our user experiences."

Page was not able to discuss the results further, reportedly due to health issues concerning a chronic throat condition.

Google's total advertising revenue in 2013 increased from $10.6 billion (£6.4 billion) in 2012 to $37.5 billion (£22.8 billion). As expected, this leaves the company still top of the list of digital advertising sellers worldwide.

Earlier this week, it was announced that search engine rival Yahoo had suffered poor quarterly results, with its total revenue falling by $80 million (£49 million) in the fourth quarter. This was due in part to falling ad sales.

Google's results revealed an increased loss in its Motorola Mobility unit from $152 million (£92.4 million) to $384 million (£233.3 million).

Such figures go some way to explaining the surprise announcement on Wednesday that the California-based company had sold the smartphone business to Lenovo for $2.91 billion (£1.75 billion).