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Broderbund stock drops

The software company sees its shares tumble 9.8 percent after it reports a multimillion-dollar second-quarter loss.

Broderbund Software (BROD) today saw its shares tumble 9.8 percent, after reporting a second-quarter multimillion-dollar loss which it attributed partly to an acquisition of Living Books and to missing analysts' revised estimates.

The software company closed at 20-3/4, down 2-1/4, following the release of its quarterly results after the market's close.

Broderbund, which has suffered sagging sales, reported a net loss of $3.5 million, or 17 cents a share, for the quarter ending February 28, compared with net profits of $18.8 million for the quarter a year ago. Excluding a one-time charge of $9 million for the Living Books acquisition, the educational software maker would have posted profits of $3.2 million, or 15 cents a share.

Those figures were slightly off projections by Wall Street, which had anticipated net gains of 18 cents a share.

Revenues, meanwhile, reached $44.3 million for the quarter, down from $48 million a year ago. The software maker, best known for its blockbuster CD-ROM game Myst, has seen four consecutive quarters of lower revenues when compared with figures a year ago.

"We are continuing to address the changing market conditions and find new ways to extend our brands and improve our market position," said Joe Durrett, Broderbund chief executive, in a statement.

During the quarter, Broderbund released a new product, the Print Shop Press Writer. That product is expected to help drive unit sales in the company's productivity division, said Lew Alton, an analyst with L.H. Alton in San Francisco.

Broderbund spokesman Eric Winkler said the sales to date have performed well for Print Shop Press Writer.

And Alton said the company's outlook appears much brighter, as it gears up this summer to release the sequel to its popular Myst game, titled Riven.

"The sequel to Myst will be a blockbuster for Christmas," Alton said. "There's never been an instance in the entertainment industry when a popular sequel hasn't done better than the original."

Winkler said the company expects to see significant financial improvements by the first quarter of 1998, as it evens out its product pricing with its unit volumes. The company last Christmas slashed the price of its products by more than 50 percent to around $20 to move inventory. But Winkler said the pricing will gradually return to around $30.