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Engage Technologies&#039 3Q loss smaller than expected

Engage Technologies posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its third quarter Monday, losing $38.3 million, or 22 cents a share, on sales of $58.7 million.

First Call Corp. consensus expected Engage (Nasdaq: ENGA), which is a majority-owned unit of CMGI (Nasdaq: CMGI) to lose 27 cents a share in the quarter.

Ahead of the earnings report, Engage shares fell 1 9/16 to 16 15/16 after announcing it will buy MediaBridge Technologies Inc. in a $268.25 million deal.

The $58.7 million in sales represents a 1,034 percent explosion from the year-ago quarter when it lost $14.3 million, or 19 cents a share, on sales of $5.2 million.

Including a variety of charges, Engage posted a loss of $196.5 million, or $1.14 a share, in the quarter.

"This quarter marked a turning point for Engage," said CEO Paul Schaut in a prepared release. "We effectively transitioned from a pure technology company to an integrated, results-oriented online marketing solutions company, as evidenced by our expanded business model, broadened capabilities, strategic partnerships and name change."

In the quarter, Engage added more than 1,300 new customers, bringing its total customer base to just north of 6,600. Of these 6,600 customers, roughly 1,850 are direct customers, and 4,750 are through channel partners.

Last quarter, Engage topped analysts' estimates when it checked in with a loss of $27.4 million, or 52 cents a share, on sales of $12.8 million.

Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of 94 1/2 in March after falling to a low of 11 9/16 in August.

All nine analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."