DoubleClick Cuts Net Loss

DoubleClick reported a narrower net loss for the fourth quarter, as the company completed its shift away from its media business.

For the quarter, DoubleClick had a net loss of $54 million, down from the $64 million it lost a year ago. Most of DoubleClick’s losses came from one-time charges, particularly a $65.8 million charge relating to real estate. On a pro forma basis, the company turned a profit of $7.4 million, compared to $1.7 million last year.

Revenues were also down, at $66.3 million, compared to $96.1 million in fourth quarter 2001, mainly because of DoubleClicks sales of its media, e-mail list and research businesses.

The results were slightly more positive than analysts polled by Thomson First Call predicted, yet DoubleClick continued to struggle with shifting its business.

“Our 2002 results show the culmination of our strategy to diversify our revenues into new markets, reduce our exposure to less profitable businesses, and improve profitability,” said Kevin Ryan, DoubleClick’s chief executive. “We’ve been able to carry out these goals while successfully operating in a difficult market environment.”

During the year, DoubleClick sold off its media business, which accounted for 28.3 percent of its revenues in fourth quarter 2001. This past quarter, media accounted for just 3 percent. Technology, meanwhile, rose as a percentage of revenues from 54 percent to 66 percent — despite declining in overall terms.

In the quarter, revenues from technology were $43.6 million, data revenues were $20.4 million, and media was $2.4 million.

Looking ahead, DoubleClick sees modest growth in the online advertising industry. The company expects first-quarter revenues to come in between $55 million and $60 million, with a small pro forma profit. For the year, DoubleClick forecasts revenues between $250 million and $300 million and a pro forma per-share profit of 5 cents to 15 cents.

DoubleClick expects its data business, which includes its Abacus unit, will account for 35 percent of its business in 2003, with technology making up the bulk of the rest.

The company maintained it huge cash pile, ending the year with $750 million.

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