Twitter rockets more than 20 percent after the company reports first-ever net profit

Key Points
  • Twitter says it earned 19 cents per share in the fourth quarter, 5 cents above expectations.
  • Revenue was $732 million compared with analyst projections of $686.1 million.
Twitter beats Street, active users up from a year ago
Twitter beats Street, active users up from a year ago

Twitter shares jumped more than 20 percent Thursday after the social media company reported a net profit for the first time and returned to revenue growth.

Here's what Twitter reported before the opening bell:

  • Earnings: 19 cents per share, 5 cents above expectations of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.
  • Revenue: $732 million vs. the consensus estimate of $686.1 million in the Thomson Reuters survey.
  • EBITDA: $308 million vs. $241 million estimated by per FactSet and StreetAccount.
  • Monthly active users: 330 million vs. 332.5 million estimated by FactSet and StreetAccount.

The news rocketed Twitter's stock price by more than 23 in early trading Thursday.

The company said during its earnings report in October that if it hit the high end of its estimates of $220 million to $240 million in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in the fourth quarter, it could be profitable under generally accepted accounting principles. The company's adjusted EBITDA for Q4 was $308 million, ahead of the estimated $241 million analysts were predicting. GAAP net income was $91 million, while non-GAAP net income was $141 million.

Though monthly active users grew only 4 percent year-over-year, daily active users went up 12 percent. (The company does not elaborate on exactly how many users use its platform each day.) Twitter said MAUs were lower due to a number of reasons including a crackdown on fake accounts and malicious activity, which made up less than 5 percent of its MAUs. It also said Q4 was traditionally a weak season for the company, and noted a change to Safari's third-party app integration impacting about 2 million MAUs.

Twitter said total revenue increased 2 percent from a year earlier, and advertising revenue increased 7 percent year over year. It emphasized that 2018 will be an investment year, with the company putting money back into improving "information quality" by removing malicious content, spam, fake accounts as well as making it easier to identify credible accounts. It also will put money toward driving engagement and growing its sales team.

Despite hitting profitability, Twitter will soon have to navigate its future business without Chief Operating Officer Anthony Noto. The executive announced in January he would be taking over as CEO of finance startup SoFi beginning March 1.