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Tickets.com tops 1Q estimates, loss widens

    Tickets.com, Inc. (Nasdaq: TIXX) reported a first quarter loss of 30 cents a share Monday, as its ticketing and software services revenue boomed. First Call's consensus expected a loss of 35 cents a share for the quarter.

    Shares in the online ticket-seller have fallen sharply from a high of 32, despite a fourth-quarter report that topped estimates.

    Revenue in the first quarter increased to $14.1 million from $6.6 million, a 114 percent year over year increase and a 10 percent increase compared to 1999's fourth quarter.

    Growth was driven by a 61 percent increase in ticketing services revenue and a 291 percent increase in software services and other revenue. Total Internet revenue grew to $3.3 million, or 23.5 percent of total revenue, compared with $279,000, or 4 percent of total revenue, in the comparable year-ago period.

    The company's EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization of intangibles, and other expenses, loss for the quarter narrowed to $17.3 million, or 30 cents a share, about 8 percent less than the fourth quarter. But loss was $13.2 million wider than in the year ago comparable period, due to acquisition related costs, marketing expense, and investments in technological infrastructure, the company said.

    Pro forma loss before extraordinary items, excluding certain non-cash charges, was $16.3 million, or 28 cents per diluted share, compared with a loss of $4.9 million, or 77 cents per diluted share, in the prior year period.

    Highlights for the quarter include a favorable ruling on Ticketmaster Litigation. In March, a U.S. court ruled in favor of Tickets.com in a lawsuit filed by rival Ticketmaster Online CitySearch (Nasdaq: TMCS). Four of Ticketmaster's claims were dismissed and the judge ruled that "hyperlinking does not itself involve a violation of the Copyright Act."