CMGI Fourth Quarter Beats Wall Street Estimates

CMGI Inc.
, a bellweather
Internet stock that has been bruised since April,
reported fourth-quarter results that beat Wall
Street estimates. Chairman and CEO David
Wetherell also said five of the company’s six
business segments should be profitable by next
year.

The Andover, Mass., holding company posted a
net loss of $633.7 million, or $2.17 per share,
compared to a net loss of $428 million, or $1.53
per share, in the previous quarter. Analysts had
expected CMGI to lose $2.45 per share. Revenue
was $377.2 million, a jump of 62 percent from the
third quarter, led by strong results from the
company’s Internet professional services company,
CMGI Solutions, which gained 218 percent from
the third-quarter.

Two weeks ago, CMGI unveiled a streamlined
operating structure, aligning its 17 companies and
its venture capital arm into six distinct business
lines. They are: search and portals; infrastructure
and enabling technologies; Internet professional
services; e-business fulfillment; interactive
marketing; and venture activities — areas the
company sees the greatest potential for growth and
profitability.

“Looking forward to fiscal 2001, we will remain
focused on strong growth, the clear achievement of
leadership within our operating segments, and an
accelerated path to profitability,” Wetherell said.
“In fact, we expect four out of five operating
segments to begin to realize positive earnings
before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization,
and in-process research and development charges,
on a monthly run-rate basis by the end of the
current fiscal year.”

CMGI also offered additional details about its
restructuring. For example it eventually wants to
operate only one or two companies in each
business segment. MyWay.com,
an Andover provider of personalized Web portals,
and iCAST,
a Woburn multimedia entertainment site, are
among those CMGI is shopping.

CMGI also has a majority stake in search engine
AltaVista (which is in the IPO pipeline),
content-delivery site Activate, Web-hosting site
NaviSite and Tribal
Voice, a site hosting online communities. It also
owns interactive marketing firms AdForce, Engage
(which yesterday
announced it would lay off 175 workers> and
yesmail.com.

It also owns minority stakes in 53 other
companies, including Waltham portal Lycos and Ventro
, a
business-to-business firm that offers e-commerce
software.

While building a string of successes when Internet
companies were hot, CMGI also had some
failures, including ailing online vitamin seller MotherNature.com
, and retailer Furniture.com.
Both are based in Massachsuetts.

CMGI stock, which split 2-for-1 earlier this year,
had traded at a 52-week high of around 163, but
recently has traded in the 45 range. Shares CMGI
were unchanged at 36.4375 on Thursday.

Colin Haley is a writer with Boston Internetnews.com

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