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Auction house


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posted third-quarter earnings that missed analysts' estimates by 7 cents. Results were hampered by costs of the company's civil antitrust and shareholder litigation settlements and its Internet auction initiative, the company said.

The company, which together with its former president and CEO, Diana Brooks, pleaded guilty on Oct. 5 to a multimillion-dollar price-fixing scheme with rival


, also said it plans to restructure its auction segment and record a material restructuring charge in the fourth quarter. As a result, it expects fourth-quarter and full-year 2000 earnings to be down "significantly" on a year-to-year basis.

Net loss for the third quarter was $184.2 million, or $3.13 a share, compared with a net loss of $23.8 million, or 41 cents a share, in the same period last year. Excluding a pre-tax charge of $184.8 million, or $2.68 a share, the company lost 45 cents a share, falling short of the

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consensus estimate of two analysts, which called for a loss of 52 cents a share.

Revenue for the quarter was $42.6 million, down from $45.3 million last year.

Sotheby's also reported that it incurred special charges of $188.6 million in the first nine months of 2000, mainly from the settlement of the civil antitrust class action lawsuit and the shareholder class action lawsuit, as well as its plea agreement with the Department of Justice.

The company's net cash outlay as a result of these settlements will be $50 million, and the company will include $140 million in special charges for the nine months and third quarter ended Sept. 30. Included in that total is a $34.1 million charge, a portion of a $45 million fine assessed over a period of five years for the violation of U.S. antitrust laws relating to auction commissions.

Shares of Sotheby's closed yesterday at $24.31 on the

New York Stock Exchange