Two of the Internet's most prolific companies -- eBay
However, there are so many differences between the two reports that I figured I would contrast the meandering stateside giant with the Chinese rock star.
Let's start overseas with Baidu, where revenue soared 74% to $282.3 million, with earnings more than doubling to $123.5 million -- or $0.36 a share on a non-GAAP basis. Analysts were banking on an adjusted profit of $0.31 a share on $276.7 million in revenue.
Naturally, Baidu's heady growth will make most domestic dot-coms look like slackers in comparison. Good luck finding a stateside speedster checking in with 44% in net profit margins! However, eBay didn't fare all that badly; especially once you back Skype out of the equation, since eBay is down to just a minority stake in the voice chat platform.
Excluding Skype, eBay's adjusted profit climbed 18% to $0.40 a share, with revenue inching 15% higher to $2.22 billion. Wall Street was expecting a tweaked profit of $0.38 a share on $2.17 billion. It's true that eBay simply bested analyst targets -- while Baidu blasted past the pros -- but it's still a decent quarter on its own for eBay.
It's true that the valuations are also mismatched. Based on last night's close -- and last night's forward expectations -- Baidu was trading at 37 times next year's projected profitability. eBay was fetching a mere 11 times 2011's bottom-line target. Is Baidu worth a multiple that is 3-4 times greater than eBay's valuation? Growth stock investors would argue that Baidu is more than worth the premium, since it's growing its top and bottom lines at an even greater multiple than eBay.
There is also a wide disparity in the company's namesake businesses. Baidu's search engine stands to grow market share, given Google's
Then again, investors may appreciate the variety in eBay. Baidu's smaller rivals are all over the place. Sogou.com parent Sohu.com
Risk-tolerant growth investors who don't mind flooring it in the pursuit of market-thumping returns would be naturally drawn to Baidu. China's Internet migration is still in its infancy, and Baidu should have several years of explosive growth on its hands. Value investors would be more comfortable with eBay, though they are best served appreciating it for the market-leading presence of PayPal than its original marketplace site.
There are different dot-com strokes for different dot-com folks.
Do you think eBay or Baidu is the better investment? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.