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Audible Reworks Amazon.com Deal After Losses Widen

With fourth quarter net losses widening by some 35 percent, spoken word Web publisher Audible Inc. said today it had reworked its marketing deal with Amazon.com to save more than $7 million.

The original agreement, struck on January 31, 2000, required Audible to pay Amazon.com a minimum of $10 million in 2002, but the company said the amount has been reduced to a future minimum cash commitment of $2.5 million through 2002.

The deal allowed the New Jersey-based Audible to hawk downloadable spoken word products to Amazon.com's 30 million customers.

Audible CEO Donald Katz said the reworked Amazon deal, coupled with reduced quarter-to-quarter operating expenses, will have a positive effect on the company's business plan.

For the fourth quarter of 2000, Audible's net losses reached $7.1 million (27 cents per share), 34 per cent wider than the $5.3 million losses posted during the same year-ago quarter. Last year, the company's net loss was pegged at 21 cents per share.

The company's revenues during the quarter was $1.8 million, up from $420,000 raked in during 1999's fourth quarter.

Audible's cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled $16.2 million on December 31, 2000.