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Facebook profit powers past forecasts
by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) Oct 30, 2013


BlackBerry, Facebook met over potential bid: report
New York, United States (AFP) Oct 30, 2013 - BlackBerry executives met with their counterparts at Facebook last week over a potential bid for the struggling Canadian phone-maker, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Although BlackBerry is weighing a sale, it was unclear whether Facebook plans to bid on the company, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The leading social network has made a priority of following its more than one billion members onto smartphones and tablets, and of finding ways to make money from visits by users on mobile devices.

Blackberry has $2.6 billion in cash, though that figure is eroding as the smartphone-maker loses traction in the market.

The company's patents, with an estimated value of between $1 billion and $3 billion, are likely the most attractive BlackBerry asset for Facebook, the Journal speculated.

The patents namely cover security-network technology and smartphone component patents, which would be key to a company seeking to get a head start in the competitive smartphone market. BlackBerry also has about 70 million subscribers.

Last month, the company reached a preliminary deal for a $4.7-billion buyout by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, but also left the door open to other offers.

The Journal separately reported earlier this month that Chinese computer giant Lenovo Group Ltd. was mulling a possible counterbid to buy Blackberry, and BlackBerry has signed a nondisclosure agreement with distressed asset specialists Cerberus Capital Management LP.

Facebook on Wednesday announced strong earnings on the back of soaring advertising revenue, nearly half of it from smartphones or tablet computers.

The world's leading online social network reported profit of $425 million in the quarter that ended on September 30, compared with a loss a year earlier of $59 million.

The third quarter results for the California-based firm were well ahead of most forecasts, with revenues rising 60 percent from a year ago to $2.016 billion.

The company also disclosed increases in the number of users to 1.19 billion.

Facebook shares jumped more than nine percent to $53.43 in after-market trades that followed release of the earnings figures.

"For nearly 10 years, Facebook has been on a mission to connect the world," said co-founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.

"The strong results we achieved this quarter show that we're prepared for the next phase of our company, as we work to bring the next five billion people online and into the knowledge economy."

The number of people who use the social network daily in the quarter was 728 million in a 25 percent increase from the same quarter a year earlier, according to Facebook.

About 1.19 billion people used Facebook monthly in a rise of 18 percent from the same period in 2012, the company reported.

Meanwhile, the ranks of Facebook members connecting to the social network with mobile devices at least once a month soared 45 percent to 874 million people.

On average, more than a half-billion people daily accessed Facebook using smartphones or tablets, according to the earnings report.

Advertising revenue in the quarter rose to $1.8 billion, up 66 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Some 49 percent of that advertising money was made on marketing messages delivered on mobile devices.

The figure promised to appease investors keen to make sure Facebook's business model is adapting to the trend of modern lifestyles increasingly revolving around accessing the Internet using smartphones or tablets.

Shares in Facebook struggled after the company's keenly anticipated public offering in May 2012. The stock fell by some 50 percent last year, before turning sharply higher and hitting record levels in recent weeks.

Facebook is expected to take a 5.41 percent share of all global digital ad revenues this year compared with the 32.84 percent stake going to Google, according to industry tracker eMarketer.

Meanwhile, the social network was forecast by eMarketer to end the year with a 15.8 percent share of mobile ad spending worldwide while Google lays claim to a dominant 53.17 percent of the $16.65 billion market.

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