InterActiveCorp

(IACI)

swung to a first-quarter profit as its home shopping and travel segments helped juice a 6% sales gain over last year's charge-soaked period.

Barry Diller's Internet commerce juggernaut earned $38 million, or 5 cents a share, in the latest quarter compared with a loss of $110 million, or 23 cents a share, last year. The year-ago period had a $245 million charge related to the company's holding in Vivendi Universal Entertainment. Revenue rose to $1.47 billion from $1.19 billion last year.

Adding back big expenses for noncash compensation and amortization primarily related to its repurchase of former publicly traded subsidiaries, InterActiveCorp earned $141.4 million, or 18 cents a share, in the latest quarter. On that basis, analysts were expecting earnings of 16 cents a share on revenue of $1.44 billion.

On an adjusted, comparable basis, the year-over-year revenue gain was 23%. Using that format, the company's travel unit's revenue rose 41% to $494 million; its electronic commerce segment's revenue rose 11% to $588 million; its ticketing revenue rose 4% to $202 million; its personals unit rose 19% to $48.8 million; and its local marketing segment's revenue rose 282% to $32.1 million.

"HSN U.S. recorded solid top-line growth and margin expansion, with revenue, operating income and operating income before amortization up 13%, 53% and 36%, respectively," the company said. "Ticketing had a good quarter, with operating income and operating income before amortization up 19% and 13%, respectively. IAC Travel increased revenue on a comparable net basis by 41% to $494 million, operating income by 21% to $85 million and operating inome before amortization by 23% to $128 million, driven by growth in its merchant hotel, packages and international businesses."

InterAtiveCorp's bottom line was hurt by big jumps in its cost of product sales, to $366.9 million from $319.4 million, and in selling and marketing costs, to $309.4 million from $189.4 million.

The company said it was reaffirming a 2004 operating income before amortization estimate for a range of $1 billion to $1.2 billion, with operating income in the range of $415 million to $615 million.