Updated from 4:03 p.m. TheStreet.com Inc. ( TSCM), an online financial media company and the publisher of this Web site, swung to a loss in the fiscal first quarter and said revenue declined 26% from the same period a year ago. For the first quarter ended March 31, total revenue was $14 million, down from $18.9 million in the same quarter of 2008. TheStreet.com reported a loss of $3.1 million, or 10 cents a share, excluding a noncash impairment charge of $24.1 million, one-time restructuring costs and severance payments totaling $2.4 million, and a valuation allowance for a deferred tax asset of $16.1 million. Including those items, the company lost $45.7 million, or $1.50 a share, in the quarter. Of the impairment charge, $22.6 million was for goodwill and intangible assets, and $1.5 million was related to writing down a long-term investment. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were expecting a first-quarter loss of 3 cents a share, excluding items, and revenue of $15.4 million. For the year-earlier quarter, the company had net income of $2.4 million, or 7 cents a share. TheStreet.com had a loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, excluding certain charges and costs, of $600,000 for the quarter, as compared with adjusted EBITDA of $3.9 million for the first quarter of 2008. Shares in the company were down 5 cents in after-hours trading to $2.15. "This is clearly a time of great change within the Company," said Daryl Otte, TheStreet.com's interim chief executive officer. "In what was a very challenging quarter for the Company, we successfully managed our cost structure and delivered $4.7 million in free cash flow. We will continue to manage the relationship between revenues and costs, and invest in initiatives that will build shareholder value."
During the quarter, paid-services revenue, which is comprised of subscription, syndication, licensing and information services revenue, totaled $9.5 million, a decrease of 12% from a year earlier. Subscription revenue fell 16% to $6.8 million, while syndication, licensing and information services revenue rose 1% to $2.7 million. Marketing services revenue, which is made up of advertising and interactive marketing services revenue, totaled $4.5 million for the first quarter, down 45% year over year. Advertising revenue fell to $3.2 million, a 47% decline, and interactive marketing services revenue, derived from Promotions.com, was $1.4 million, a 39% decrease from the same quarter last year. Paid services and marketing services revenue in the first quarter accounted for 68% and 32% of total revenue, respectively. This compares to a revenue mix of 57% for paid services and 43% for marketing services in the first quarter of 2008. As of March 31, TheStreet.com's cash, cash equivalents, marketable securities and restricted cash stood at $80.1 million. "We've focused on opportunities to decrease operating expenses across the business," Eric Ashman, the company's chief financial officer, told investors in a conference call after the bell Tuesday, citing headcount reductions and a major data-center consolidation. "We certainly expect to see benefits
from those cost-saving measures in Q2 and subsequent quarters." Also on the call, Otte said that recruitment of the next CEO is well underway. "I think the process is going quite well," he said. "We're very excited by the caliber of the candidates we've seen so far."