Akamai Shares Jump as Fourth-Quarter Sales Top Analyst Estimates

Akamai Technologies Inc. (AKAM), the operator of a server network that lets businesses speed data delivery, rose in extended trading after quarterly sales and profit topped estimates, boosted by holiday online shopping.

The shares jumped as much as 14 percent to $39.40 in late trading yesterday following the report. They had gained 2.4 percent to $34.44 at the close in New York. The stock has climbed 6.7 percent this year.

Akamai, whose customers include Apple Inc. (AAPL), is benefiting from rising demand for its services as companies seek ways to push data-heavy digital content, such as videos, around the world more quickly. A surge in Web shopping bolstered Akamai’s results during the holiday season, said Mark Kelleher, an analyst at Dougherty & Co. in Boston.

“They are at the core of the Internet,” Kelleher said. “Anything that moves across the Internet they see and they have the ability to help, to facilitate.”

Fourth-quarter revenue climbed 14 percent to $323.7 million, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company said in a statement yesterday. That surpassed the $311.7 million average analyst estimate compiled by Bloomberg. Profit excluding some costs was 45 cents a share, exceeding the 40-cent average projection.

Online retail spending during the fourth quarter surged 14 percent to $49.7 billion, according to researcher ComScore Inc. (SCOR)

New Digital Services

Akamai also offers newer services such as security and digital-rights management. The company said in December it was buying closely held Cotendo, which was emerging as a bigger threat to the new services, Kelleher said.

Net income in the fourth quarter increased to $60.1 million, or 33 cents a share, from $52.5 million, or 27 cents, a year earlier, the company said.

First-quarter revenue is forecast to be $305 million to $313 million, and profit before certain costs will be 36 cents to 39 cents a share, Akamai said on a conference call yesterday. That compares with analysts’ average estimates of $304.6 million in sales and 39 cents in profit.

Separately, Akamai said it named Senior Vice President James Benson as its new chief financial officer, succeeding J. Donald Sherman, who is leaving the company to become president and chief operating officer of software maker HubSpot Inc.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Womack in San Francisco at bwomack1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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