Yahoo Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), the No. 3 search engine, said fourth-quarter earnings breezed past analyst estimates mainly due to sales of its minority investment in China’s Alibaba Group as revenue inched up narrowly.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., company reported fourth-quarter earnings of 32 cents a share, 4 cents ahead of analyst estimates, compared with 25 cents a year earlier. Revenue rose 2 percent to $1.36 billion, its first gains since 2008. Search revenue rose 4 percent and paid clicks gained 11 percent.

“I’m proud of Yahoo’s 2012 and fourth-quarter results,” said new CEO Marissa Mayer, 37, who also noted she’d made “tremendous internal transformation in the culture, energy and execution of the company.”

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Yahoo’s net income include a $2.75 billion one-time gain related to the sale of the company’s 24 percent interest in Alibaba Group, a private e-commerce site.

Full-year net income rose to $3.95 billion, or $3.28 a share, from the prior-year’s $1.05 billion, or 82 cents, also because of the divestiture.

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Yahoo said its cash and equivalents rose to $6 billion on Dec. 31. It had spent $1.5 billion to buy back 80 million shares during the fourth quarter alone. For the full year, Yahoo said it spent $2.2 billion to buy back 126 million shares.

Shares of Yahoo jumped 4 percent in after-hours trading to $21.14, up 83 cents, after closing at $20.31 in regular trading. They’ve gained 29 percent in the past 52 weeks.