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Lycos posts 4Q profit as sales surge

Lycos Inc. (Nasdaq: LCOS) reported its first operating profit in a year and a half Tuesday with fourth quarter earnings of $600,000, or a penny a share, on sales of $45.1 million.

First Call consensus was break even for the portal. Analysts were expecting sales of roughly $38 million.

Including a host of one-time items, Lycos lost $21.4 million, or 24 cents a share.

For the quarter ending July 31, revenue was up 29 percent from the third quarter and 137 percent from a year ago. Advertising represented the bulk of Lycos' sales at $31.64 million. "E-commerce, license and other" revenue was $13.45 million.

Lycos also reported strong metrics. Average daily page views for the quarter came in at 70 million and registered users were 32.4 million. Both tallies were above expectations. Page views were up 17 percent sequentially.

The fourth quarter was the first since the Lycos-USA Networks merger was scrapped amid shareholder gripes. Lycos announced several key agreements in the quarter including a $135 million e-commerce agreement with WingspanBank.com. The portal also created Lycos Ventures, a $70 million Internet venture capital fund.

For the year Lycos reported sales of $135.5 million, compared to $56.1 million a year ago. Lycos lost $4.2 million, or 5 cents a share, excluding charges. Including charges, Lycos lost $52 million.

The company had $153 million in cash at the end of the fourth quarter.


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