managed to break even on an operating basis in the first quarter as revenue increased 23%, excluding the results of business to be sold to
The break-even result excludes charges related to accounting changes and writedowns. To provide even more clarity, the company earned 5 cents a share when various compensation, amortization and other costs are taken out. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call had been expecting the company to earn 2 cents a share.
Using generally accepted accounting principles, USA lost 75 cents a share, considerably wider than the loss of 15 cents a share the company saw last year.
The company's pro forma revenue, excluding the television channels USA Network and SciFi Network that will be transferred to Vivendi in a deal expected to close in May, grew 23% to $926.6 million from $751.1 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization increased 58% to $155.7 million.
The company expects to change its name to USA Interactive after the sale, which shareholders have now approved, and will consist of
Home Shopping Network
, among other properties.
On Tuesday, Ticketmaster, which is majority-owned by USA, posted a first-quarter loss but said revenue increased. Ticketmaster lost $119.7 million, or 84 cents a share in the latest quarter, compared with a loss of $39.6 million, or 28 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding various items, the company earned 11 cents a share, meeting Wall Street's expectations.
Shares of USA were gaining 4.5% to $31.81, but Ticketmaster was dropping 12.3% to $22.40.