Mediaplex Bests Third Quarter Performance

Online marketing technology firm Mediaplex, known for its MOJO advertising, landing page and promotional offer personalization technology, made the Street’s estimates Wednesday, ending speculation about the firm’s performance during a quarter in which it announced cost-cutting and new products.

For the fourth quarter of 2000, the San Francisco-based firm reported revenue of $15.3 million, which translated into a quarterly loss of $4.1 million, or $0.12 per share, excluding one-time charges for bad debts, restructuring, and non-cash charges.

Despite the loss, the news is good: in December, the company laid off 40 employees and said in a statement that it would incur a fourth-quarter restructuring charge that would lower EPS figures. And it’s a positive development in that Mediaplex has had difficulty meeting analysts’ revenue expectations in the past. Last quarter, the firm narrowly missed Wall Street revenue estimates — though it still produced EPS numbers above consensus.

Mediaplex attributed the revenue improvements to increased savings from those staff reductions, as well as improved margins and better-than-expected results from its subsidiary, AdWare Systems. Mediaplex last summer acquired the Louisville-based company, which offers services to ad agencies that allow them to manage campaign workflow.

“We are pleased with our results for 2000,” said Mediaplex chairman and chief executive Gregory Raifman. “By quickly responding to the softness in the online advertising market, Mediaplex was able to reduce its operating expenses below our initial forecasts allowing us the flexibility to continue our investments in new technology and products.”

Last quarter, the firm posted a before-charges loss of $5.3 million, or $0.15 per share, on revenues of $13.5 million; during the fourth quarter of 1999, Mediaplex lost $4.3 million, or $0.19 per share, on $12.5 million in revenues.

Including the one-time and non-cash charges, the net loss for the fourth quarter of 2000 was $9.4 million, or $0.26 per share.

For the full year, the company reported an increase in revenue of 141 percent, to $63.6 million. Overall, the company posted a loss, minus one-time charges, of $18.1 million, or $0.54 per share. Including charges, the firm reported a net loss of $37.5 million, or $1.11 per share.

“The year 2000 was challenging for companies in the online media industry, but our acquisition of AdWare in July enables us to diversify our products and revenue streams beyond online advertising,” Raifman said.

For the coming year, Mediaplex said it anticipates continued growth from its new outsourced MOJO ASP product, revenue from upcoming technology products, and AdWare revenues.

The company said it anticipates that these new sources of revenue offset a previously forecast revenue decline in the online media market. As a result, the year 2001 revenue is expected to be in the range of its 2000 revenue levels, totaling $60 to 65 million for 2001.

Mediaplex said it expects first quarter 2001 revenue to decline to $7.5 to 8.5 million. Due to the restructuring costs, the firm also said its first quarter EPS would decline $0.01 to $0.02 per share, to a loss of $0.13 to $0.14 per share before charges.

Raifman said Mediaplex “remains committed” to being profitable before non-cash and one-time charges in fourth quarter 2001. The firm also expects full-year per-share results, before non-cash items, to improve to a per share loss of $0.26 to $0.30.

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