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DoubleClick Beats Estimates, Trims Forecasts

Revenue estimates will have to be trimmed after the fourth-quarter press release.

Online advertising outfit DoubleClick (DCLK) on Tuesday posted a minuscule fourth-quarter pro forma profit, but revenue continued to deteriorate amid a nationwide ad-spending slump.

Still, the results beat Wall Street's expectations, and the stock held its ground in after-hours trading. After rising 28 cents during Tuesday's regular Nasdaq session to close at $12.63, the stock was quoted at $12.84 after hours, a rise of 21 cents.

The New York-based company posted a pro forma profit, excluding noncash and nonrecurring items, of $1.7 million, or a penny a share, in the lastest period. Wall Street analysts, on average, had expected DoubleClick to post a loss of 5 cents a share, excluding items, on revenue of $88 million, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

(Be sure to check out former sell-side analyst David Doft's

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real-time reaction to the DoubleClick earnings conference call on RealMoney.com.)

Including charges, DoubleClick's bottom-line loss narrowed to $64 million, or 48 cents a share, from $104.8 million, or 85 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue fell to $96 million from $132.3 million a year earlier.

The company, which has been struggling with the sharp downturn in advertising, has been paring back much of its media business, which has been hardest hit by the ad slump, including selling its European media operations.

DoubleClick also cut revenue expectations for its first quarter and 2002 fiscal year. The company expects to lose 3 to 6 cents a share on a pro forma basis for the first quarter ending in March; analysts expect a 4-cent loss. Revenue will come in a $82 million to $87 million, which puts the midpoint slightly below the $86.5 million analyst consensus. Year-ago revenue was $114 million.

For the year, DoubleClick expects to report revenue of $330 million to $400 million, toward the low end of the analyst range, whose mean estimate is $388 million.