NBC Internet

(NBCI)

posted a third-quarter loss of 88 cents a share, better than Wall Street expected, and the company said it'll reach profitability earlier than anticipated.

Analysts had expected that the company would post a loss of $1 a share, according to

First Call/Thomson Financial

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. NBC Internet's loss, which excluded certain items, equaled $54.8 million, compared with a loss of $17.1 million, or 87 cents a share, a year earlier, which also excluded certain items.

Revenue climbed to $31.3 million from $19.8 million a year ago.

NBC Internet also said it expects to reach profitability before noncash charges in next year's fourth quarter or the first quarter of 2002, about two quarters ahead of schedule. The company said a deal that moves

AllBusiness.com

off its books, as well as its recent job cuts and international pullback, will enable it to hit the magic profitability target sooner.

In addition, NBC Internet said it expects to post a loss of 75 cents to 85 cents a share in the fourth quarter, better than the First Call consensus estimate of a loss of $1.11 a share. Next year, it estimates it will post a loss of $2.05 to $2.25 per share, compared to the First Call consensus of a loss of $3.01 a share. The company also expects fourth-quarter revenue to be about the same as the third quarter's. Next year it expects about $150 million in revenue.