SAN FRANCISCO — Google parent company Alphabet Inc. on Monday sent its share price skyrocketing more than 5 percent in after-hours trading after revealing the revenue of its non-advertising businesses for the first time. Those so-called moonshots are posting strong growth, but they are costing the search giant a bundle as losses on the efforts widen.
For the final quarter of 2015, Alphabet posted $21.3 billion in revenue on $8.67 in earnings per share, blowing past analysts' estimates of $20.77 billion in revenue and $8.10 in earnings per share. For the full year, the tech giant reported $74.99 billion in revenue, ahead of analysts' expectations of $74.42 billion.
Shares of Alphabet popped after hours, unseating Apple Inc. for the moment as the world's most valuable company.
For the first time Alphabet's numbers include "other bets," which analysts and investors have never before been able to take into account.
They include businesses like Google Fiber, Calico life extension, Internet of Things unit Nest and endeavors like Google's self-driving car. The "bets" brought in $448 million in revenue in 2015, up 37 percent year to year. But while revenue growth is strong, so are the operating losses, which came in $3.6 billion for the year. That's up more than 89 percent from 2014.
"Granted, the Bets part (which include self-driving cars) posted an operating cost of $3.56 billion (for the past year), but this should actually be a positive," said Tom Taulli, analyst for InvestorPlace.com. "It shows that Alphabet remains focused on finding the next breakout idea, which will drive long-term growth."
Ruth Porat, CFO of Alphabet, said the bulk of the other bets’ revenue came from Nest, Fiber and Verily, a health business. Nest makes its revenue from selling smart thermostats, smoke detectors and video cameras for the home. Fiber offers internet and television services in certain markets across the U.S. Verily, meanwhile, is involved in large deals with giants from the health industry, including Novartis, Dexcom and Sanofi.
Alphabet's Google business, meanwhile, remains strong. The company saw robust fourth-quarter revenue growth of 18 percent year over year, with Alphabet attributing much of that to healthy and growing mobile and YouTube advertising businesses.
"Our very strong revenue growth in Q4 reflects the vibrancy of our business, driven by mobile search as well as YouTube and programmatic advertising, all areas in which we've been investing for many years," Porat said in a statement. "We're excited about the opportunities we have across Google and Other Bets to use technology to improve the lives of billions of people."
In 2015, Alphabet's YouTube ad revenue grew more than 40 percent, bringing in $4.28 billion globally, according to eMarketer. That growth is expected to continue in 2016. "As Google continues to diversify its ad offerings, we expect YouTube to play an increasingly important role in Alphabet's earnings," said eMarketer analyst Martin Utreras. "Additionally, mobile search should continue to increase as more content within apps gets indexed by Google."
Google's mobile ad revenue will see annual growth of more than 40 percent in 2016, generating more than $34 billion for the company, eMarketer predicts. That's key for Alphabet, considering mobile ads now make up more than 60 percent of Google's worldwide ads business.
Additionally, Gmail now has more than 1 billion monthly active users, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said. With the addition of Gmail, Google now owns seven products exceeding a billion users, the other services being Search, Maps, Chrome, YouTube, Android and Google Play.
Alphabet is "very well positioned to continue to grow in 2016 and beyond," said Matthew Tuttle, CEO of Tuttle Tactical Management. "The stock remains a standout leader in the highly coveted online search business, and the company continues to fire on nearly all cylinders."