May 1, 2003
USA Interactive, the parent company of Expedia, Ticketmaster and Hotels.com, said Thursday its Q1 net loss narrowed sharply as consumers flocked to its online services and drove revenue 40 percent higher from last year.
However, although the company said it expects to meet or beat its 2003 adjusted earnings per share outlook of 75¢, it said net earnings would be "significantly lower" than its previous estimate of 27¢ a share due partly to charges related to its stake in Vivendi Universal Entertainment.
For the first quarter, USA, which is in the process of buying back the publicly held stakes in both Expedia and Hotels.com, said its net loss after one-time charges narrowed to $112M, or 23¢ a share, from a loss of $438.6M, or $1.04 a share, in the same period a year ago.
Adjusted for noncash compensation, amortization of goodwill and marketing items, USA reported a profit of 16¢ a share, compared with a profit of 6¢ a share last year. Revenue jumped to $1.4B from $1B in the same period last year.
Wall Street analysts, on average, were expecting adjusted Q1 earnings of 14¢ a share and revenue of $1.28B, according to First Call.
Operating income for USA, which has one of the best-performing stocks in the Internet sector, rose to $93M in the first quarter from $28M last year.
The e-commerce company said strength at its travel services, ticketing and Home Shopping Network-related HSN International businesses offset costs related to marketing its personals business.
Expedia said its net income rose to $26.9M, or 20¢ a share, compared with $6.6M, or 5¢ a share, in the same period last year as revenue rose 71 percent.
The online travel company said that results were hurt by terrorism-related concerns during the quarter and that bookings in late March and early April were dampened by the war in Iraq. But it said bookings through April suggest Expedia is on track to meet its outlook.
Hotels.com said Q1 net income rose to $18.6M, or 32¢ a share, compared with $12.9M, or 22¢ a share, a year ago. Revenue grew 67 percent to $277.4M.
Now that USA has struck deals to buy the stakes in Expedia and Hotels.com that it did not already own, CEO Barry Diller told shareholders in a letter that there is only one more lingering piece of the puzzle that needed final resolution: the company's stake in Vivendi Universal's U.S. entertainment arm.
He said the stake is worth the equivalent of cash to USA and the company plans to monetize the interest or turn it into something of greater value over the next six to 12 months.
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