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reported a narrower-than-expected third-quarter loss and reached about 4.6 million paying subscribers as of Sept. 30.

The Internet service provider said the third-quarter loss, excluding acquisition and merger costs, was $41.3 million, or 33 cents a share, compared with a loss of $8.2 million, or 7 cents a share, last year. Analysts expected the company to lose 37 cents a share, according to

First Call/Thomson Financial


Revenue was $249.3 million, which includes the results of the

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acquisition, compared with $177.8 million last year.

The company also forecast a fourth-quarter loss, excluding merger and acquisition costs, of 48 cents to 53 cents a share, on revenue of $290 million to $295 million, with a loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $47 million to $52 million.

EarthLink expects to end the year with 4.7 million to 4.8 million subscribers.


First Call/Thomson Financial

survey of 10 analysts produced an estimated loss of 49 cents a share for the company's fourth quarter. The company said it targeting to become EBITDA positive during the second half of 2001.