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Electronic Arts, BackWeb, Quest top earnings forecasts

Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS) lost less than analysts expected in the second quarter.

After market close Wednesday, the largest independent publisher of game software reported a fiscal second quarter net loss of $35 million, or 27 cents per share, excluding special charges. First Call''s survey of 14 analysts predicted a loss of 30 cents per share for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

Shares of Electronic Arts traded at 46.25 in afterhours activity on the Island electronic communications network, following the release of quarterly results. Electronic Arts stock closed Wednesday''s regular trading down 3.1875 to 46.1875 ahead of the quarterly report.

Including amortization and other non-cash expenses, Electronic Arts lost $38.9 million, or 30 cents per share.

Second quarter revenue fell to $219.9 million from $338.9 million in the comparable period a year earlier. Europe saw the biggest year-over-year decline, down 44 percent, followed by North America at 32 percent, Asia Pacific at 30 percent and Japan with 22 percent.

Observers of the game software industry generally expected soft sales in the September quarter, as consumers await the worldwide release of Sony''s Playstation 2 console. Electronic Arts'' core business lost $17.4 million on sales of $211.2 million, down from $334.7 million in the second quarter of the previous fiscal year.

The company''s online unit, EA.com, saw revenue nearly double to $9.3 million from $4.8 million in the year-ago quarter. EA.com lost $17.6 million, before amortization.

Other companies reporting quarterly results Wednesday:

  • BackWeb Technologies (Nasdaq: BWEB)
  • beat consensus forecasts by a penny in the third quarter.

    The push technology provider reported a third quarter loss of $500,000, or a penny per share, excluding amortization. First Call''s survey of five analysts predicted a loss of 2 cents per share for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

    Including all charges, BackWeb lost $1.5 million, or 4 cents per share.

    Third quarter revenue increased 89 percent year-over-year and 10 percent sequentially to $11.7 million.

  • Quest Software (Nasdaq: QSFT)
  • also did a penny better than the consensus predication in the third quarter.

    The vendor of software for maximizing the performance of databases and applications reported a third quarter profit of $4.4 million, or 5 cents per share. First Call''s survey of seven analysts predicted a profit of 4 cents per share for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

    Revenue in the third quarter increased 141 percent year-over-year to $44.1 million.

  • Digitas (Nasdaq: DTAS)
  • met analyst estimates in the third quarter.

    The Internet consultant for traditional companies reported third quarter net income of $5.3 million, or 7 cents per share, not counting special charges and unusual events. That was in line with First Call consensus.

    Including all items, Digitas lost $4.9 million, or 9 cents per share.

    Third quarter revenue increased 48 percent year-over-year to $75.5 million.>