EarthLink

(ELNK)

Tuesday missed Wall Street's earnings and revenue expectations but posted subscriber growth that was in line with estimates.

The high-speed Internet service provider said its fourth-quarter loss narrowed to $73.9 million, or 55 cents a share, from $105.5 million, or 87 cents a share a year earlier. Revenue jumped 14% from a year earlier to $327 million.

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But excluding acquisition and merger-related expenses, EarthLink said its loss narrowed to $19.5 million, or 13 cents a share, from $52.2 million, or 40 cents a share. Wall Street analysts expected the company to post a loss of 11 cents a share on revenue of $332 million, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

EarthLink shares slipped 3% in after-hours trading, dropping to $9.86.

Analysts pay particularly close attention to the number of net new high-speed Internet subscribers the company adds each quarter. The 65,000 the company announced are above what analysts from J.P. Morgan and Jeffries were expecting.

The company also offered fiscal 2002 financial guidance that was broadly in line with estimates. EarthLink said it expects to lose between 5 and 25 cents a share on a pro forma basis excluding certain costs; analysts expect a 13-cent loss. For its first quarter ending in March, EarthLink expects to lose 10 to 13 cents a share on revenue of $340 million; analysts forecast an 8-cent loss on revenue of $347 million.