UPDATE 2-EBay beats in quarter on PayPal, e-commerce growth

Wed Jan 20, 2010 5:12pm EST

* Q4 adjusted EPS 44 cents versus Street's 40 cents

* Q4 revenue up 16 percent

* Sees 2010 EPS $1.63 to $1.68 vs view of $1.60

* Shares up 3.7 percent after earnings report (Recasts adding revenue, 2010 forecasts; adds estimates, detail, byline)

By Alexandria Sage

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 20 (Reuters) - EBay Inc (EBAY.O) beat Wall Street profit estimates in its holiday quarter, helped by double-digit revenue growth in PayPal and its main online marketplaces unit, and forecast 2010 results above expectations.

The company's shares rose 3.7 percent after Wednesday's earnings report.

EBay, which connects buyers and sellers over the Internet, has been overhauling its main marketplaces division to increase transactions on its site. Revenue rose 15 percent at that unit and 28 percent at PayPal, its fast-growing Web payments unit.

Gross merchandise volume, which measures the total value of goods sold on eBay, rose 24 percent in the quarter. That marked a huge improvement over the negative trends seen earlier in 2009.

"People are pleased to see things are actually pretty good and they are benefiting from the macro environment," said Benjamin Schachter, senior internet analyst with Broadpoint Amtech. "The core business is showing some rebound and PayPal is benefiting from e-commerce growth."

EBay recently unloaded its Skype Web telephone unit, deemed a bad fit with the company.

Fourth-quarter net profit was $1.4 billion, or $1.02 per share, up from $367 million, or 29 cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, profit was $585.8 million, or 44 cents per share -- above analysts' average forecast of 40 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue rose 16 percent to $2.37 billion, also above analysts' expectations.

EBay also beat its own forecasts for adjusted earnings of 38 to 40 cents per share and revenue of $2.2 billion to $2.3 billion.

Revenues rose 11 percent in the United States and 21 percent internationally.

Looking ahead, eBay said it expects full-year 2010 adjusted earnings of $1.63 to $1.68 per share on revenue of $8.8 billion to $9.1 billion. That was above the $1.60 per share expected, on average, by Wall Street.

Shares of eBay rose 69 percent in 2009, buoyed by early signs of a turnaround in its marketplaces division, where growth has slowed in recent years. But they are off a year high of $25.80 in late October on concerns that a still-weak economy would weigh on growth.

Shares rose to $23.06 after closing on the Nasdaq at $22.23, down 4.4 percent during the regular session. (Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Additional reporting by Gina Keating; Editing by Michele Gershberg, Gary Hill)

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