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Loss sends WebMD shares lower in after-hours trading

Shares of the health site fall in after-hour trading after the company reports earnings that miss Wall Street expectations.

    Shares of WebMD fell in after-hour trading Monday after the company reported earnings that missed Wall Street expectations.

    Excluding charges, the Atlanta-based company reported a third-quarter loss of $65.8 million, or 27 cents a share, which compares with a net loss of $55.5 million, or 28 cents, a share for the year-ago period. Revenue increased to $151.2 million from $28.7 million in the year-ago quarter.

    Analysts had been expecting WebMD to report a loss of 22 cents a share, according to a First Call/Thomson Financial survey.

    Including restructuring and non-cash charges, the provider of online health content reported a net loss of $786.9 million, or $3.17 a share, compared with $17.1 million, or 24 cents a share, for the previous third quarter.

    "This quarter's results are complicated by the September closing of the WebMD, Medical Manager, CareInsite and OnHealth merger transactions," Martin Wygod, WebMD's CEO, said in a statement released after the markets closed.

    WebMD took a restructuring charge of $44.9 million to account for the integration of the Medical Manager, CareInsite and OnHealth acquisitions, which were completed Sept 12.

    WebMD CFO Anthony Vuolo said in a statement that the most recent quarter was the "high water mark for the cash loss for the company on a pro forma basis."

    The company expects to post earnings by the end of 2001, excluding interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. WebMD also said it plans to take more integration and restructuring charges in the future, but "the amount of such charges is dependent on the conclusion of discussions with strategic partners," the company said.

    In after-market trading, WebMD's shares fell 25 cents to $9.88 on a volume of 214,355, according to Island ECN, which tracks trading on electronic networks. In regular trading Monday, the shares fell $1 to $10.13.

    In after-hours trading, the five most active Nasdaq stocks were Intel, down 6 cents, with volume of 1.81 million shares; Cisco Systems, down 25 cents, on volume of 1.23 million shares; PeopleSoft, up $2.38, with the exchange of 1.11 million shares; and Microsoft and Oracle on volume of 927,700 and 776,600 shares, respectively.