January 20, 2011 / 9:36 PM / in 7 years

Instant view: Google profit beats, Page becomes CEO

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Internet powerhouse Google Inc beat Wall Street’s quarterly sales and profit estimates, and announced that co-founder Larry Page would take on the role of chief executive, overseeing day-to-day operations of the company.

Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices Inc also announced earnings, warning that sales in the current quarter would be flat to slightly down sequentially. [ID:nN20160848]

The following are comments from investors and analysts:

GOOGLE

RYAN JACOB, PORTFOLIO MANAGER, JACOB INTERNET FUND

“They obviously are growing this company and establishing a more formal management structure.”

“I think it’s a good move. It (the triumvirate management structure) was always one of things that concerned us a little bit.”

“It should streamline the decision-making process. They’re in a fast-moving industry.”

AARON KESSLER, ANALYST, THINKEQUITY

“Very strong top-line growth. They’re investing pretty heavily still, but very robust bottom line growth too.”

On new CEO: “Initially Larry (Page) and Sergey (Brin) were pretty young when Google started, so maybe they weren’t prepared at that point to run the day-to-day operations of Google. But at this point they’ve been involved for several years now, and are in a better position to really run the company as opposed to just being in the founder role.”

On Page’s task ahead: “I think it’s executing on core search, innovating on core search, and executing on the non-search areas like display, mobile and local.”

ROBERT FRANCELLO, HEAD TRADER, APEX CAPITAL

“It looks like the numbers are better, EBITDA is slightly better and their paid clicks are slightly better, so they beat across the board. It’s trading up about $10 and that’s a pretty decent number, especially after the blowout by Apple.”

JOE KINAHAN, CHIEF DERIVATIVES STRATEGIST, TD AMERITRADE

On new CEO: “Obviously, the Street has a good view of this executive change. If this were a negative, no matter how good the earnings, the stock would have been down.”

“It is hard to say what the options action in Google will be tomorrow. We have January options expiration playing into this and in many of these situations, we see a contraction in volatility once the news is out.”

BRIAN PITZ, ANALYST, UBS

On CEO change: “The Street will think it’s a negative that there is probably some issue going on. Google is trying to get more efficient and trying to get a tech guy in the seat to compete with Facebook.”

“We are OK with the move. To be frank with you, pre-IPO one of the big issues on the stock was it was a triumvirate management team.”

“Look at (Facebook CEO) Mark Zuckerberg -- he is younger than all these guys and he’s running Facebook. I don’t think it changes anything strategically where the company is headed.”

MIKE HICKEY, ANALYST, JANCO PARTNERS

“When you see an executive change, you hesitate because generally, it’s a disruption at the top. Obviously the numbers look good, so it’s a balance between the two. ”

COLIN GILLIS, ANALYST, BGC PARTNERS

“It’s the holiday quarter, the biggest quarter of the year, and they delivered. We got a little upside on revenue, and on earnings.”

“There’s this notion that Google hasn’t produced good products on its own, that most of their wins have come from acquisitions.”

On new CEO: “It’s not like Larry (Page) wasn’t there. He’s not fresh blood. But it will be interesting to see what he’ll do that’s different, what he could not have done in his prior role.”

AMD

VIJAY RAKESH, ANALYST, STERNE AGEE

“Looks like decent numbers. It was slightly better than where the Street was but it was nothing to get excited about.”

“It was unsurprising. Going to be listening on the conference call for what they say about the management changes, who’s leading the team and the changes to the roadmap, particularly concerning the mobile and notebook product line.”

DOUG FREEDMAN, ANALYST, GLEACHER & CO

“The outlook of flat to down slightly is in line, maybe better than expected. The earning numbers were in line with my expectation, which were in the high end of the street, so the earnings results will be viewed as good. Operating controls appear to be coming through.”

On CEO departure: “I think the market put the risk into the equation when they announced the change, so from here on, we sort of have a bit of a clean operating slate. There will be an additional readjustment when we have to evaluate who gets the job. There’s probably one more risk quotient adjustment that will take place when they name the new person.”

Reporting by Jennifer Saba, Ritsuko Ando, Liana B. Baker, Doris Frankel, Alina Selyukh, Yinka Adegoke

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