Mattel Stock Surges on CEO Rumors and Amazon.com Posts Earnings - TheStreet

Amazon.com (AMZN) - Get Report posted a pro forma fourth-quarter loss of 55 cents a share, wider than both the 28-analyst estimate of a 48-cent loss and the year-ago 7-cent loss. During a conference call with investors, CFO Warren Jenson said that, "Q4 of 1999 was a high point for the overall level of operation losses as both a dollar amount and as a percentage of sales." Jenson and CEO Jeff Bezos said they see operating losses as a percentage of revenues declining from more than 20% in the fourth quarter to the single digits by the end of 2000.

Despite the fourth-quarter shortfall, investors like Brian Gilmartin, portfolio manager at

Trinity Asset Management

took some confidence out of the conference call. "The big news is that the U.S. retail build-out is complete for all practical purposes. No new distribution centers will be constructed and capital spending is going to decline in 2000. Its business has reached scale, which means that they will start to gain operating leverage and operating losses will start to decline."

Mattel

(MAT) - Get Report

shares rocketed higher during today's session, ending up 1 7/16, or 13.9%, to 11 13/16 on rumors that CEO

Jill Barad

may be leaving the company.

Barad has been at the helm of the struggling toymaker since March 1997 after she was widely credited for the resurrection of the company's struggling Barbie product lines. Since then, though, the company's fortunes have turned and Barad has been blamed for many of those problems.

TheStreet.com's

Herb Greenberg wrote a

piece on Mattel's struggles late last year and the company is slated to release its earnings for the fourth quarter next week.

In other postclose news (earnings estimates from

First Call/Thomson Financial

; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified):

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

BP Amoco

(BPA)

and

Atlantic Ritchfield

(ARC) - Get Report

said they would fight a

Federal Trade Commission

decision to prevent their planned merger.

The FTC voted 3-2 to block BP Amoco's $27 billion purchase of Atlantic Richfield after determining that the merger would trigger a rise in gasoline prices and would give BP Amoco an upper hand in controlling prices. The two companies contend however, that the merger would not hinder competition in the gasoline market on the West Coast because their business lines are not conflicting.

Separately, the FTC said it would seek a preliminary injunction in federal district court to stop the merger.

Meditrust

(MT) - Get Report

said it has sold

Paramount Real Estate

and most of its medical office building portfolio for cash and debt valued at $204 million.

The company said the sale includes Paramount Real Estate, 23 medical office buildings and three medical building mortgage loans. Meditrust said it would use the sale's profits to pay back some of its debt. Board member William Byrnes has been tapped to serve as the company's interim CEO after Meditrust's president and CEO David Benson stepped down on Jan. 28.

Sony

(SNE) - Get Report

said that its

Sony Music

and other entertainment assets are not on the auctioning block, in response to rumors that began after

Time Warner's

(TWX)

announcement last week to link with

EMI

. Today,

The Financial Times

reported that German-based Bertelsmann and Sony had held talks regarding cooperation in their music businesses.

Warner-Lambert

(WLA)

has accepted an $85 billion takeover bid by

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, but needs approval from its former merger partner

American Home Products

(AHP)

before it can move forward, according to

Reuters

.

Pfizer upped its bid to 2.75 shares for each share of Warner-Lambert, from its initial 2.5 per share offer.

All three companies declined to comment on the merger. However, people close to the matter say that Pfizer and Warner-Lambert were not expected to unveil their merger plans until they set an agreement with American Home.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Gap

(GPS) - Get Report

said that January same-store sales rose 11%.

Hot Topic

(HOTT)

said that January same-store sales rose 30.5%.

MetaCreations

(MCRE)

reported a fourth-loss of $1.59 a share due to charges, compared with a year-ago loss of 15 cents, also on charges. No per share figures from operating income were provided. The three-analyst expectation was for earnings of 1 cent a share.

Persistence Software

(PRSW)

reported a fourth-quarter loss of 19 cents a share, wider than the three-analyst expectation of a loss of 16 cents a share, and the year-ago pro forma loss of 3 cents.

Printware

(PRTW)

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 8 cents a share, which includes an inventory writedown, compared with year-ago earnings of 17 cents a share. The lone-analyst estimate called for earnings of 1 cent a share.

Tekelec

(TKLC)

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 20 cents a share, beating the five-analyst estimate of 18 cents and up from the year ago 24-cent profit, which included a gain.

Value City Department Stores

(VCD)

said January same-store sales increased 20%.

XL Capital

(XL)

warned investors that losses from severe weather conditions would slash its fourth-quarter net operating earnings by 97 cents a share after taxes.

The company said that losses from two windstorms in Europe dented its books of business for

XL Mid Ocean Reinsurance

,

NAC Re International

and

Le Mans Re

. Without the storms, the company maintains it would have met the 9-analyst consensus estimate of $1.19.

Offerings and stock actions

Robertson Stephens

priced a 5 million-share IPO for

Centra

(CTRA) - Get Report

at $14 a share.

Miscellany

Daisytek

(DZTK)

said it has tapped James Powell as it president and CEO.

Financial Federal

(FIF) - Get Report

said its CEO Clarence Palitz has retired. The company said that it has not tapped a successor for Palitz, who will remain its chairman, but said its president and COO Paul Sinsheimer would manage the company.

For a look into this evening's after-hours trading action, please check out

TheStreet.com's

The Night Watch.