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Infoseek beats estimates

Infoseek allayed some investors' fears as it beat analysts' estimates and narrowed its losses over the previous quarter.

Infoseek (SEEK) allayed some investors' fears today as it beat analysts' estimates and narrowed its losses over the previous quarter.

The search engine company reported a net loss of $4.5 million for the third quarter, or 17 cents per share, on revenues of $8.3 million. This is compared with a loss of $3.7 million dollars, or 14 cents per share, on revenues of $4 million for the same period in 1996.

The company was expected to report a loss of 18 cents per share for the quarter ended September 30, according to First Call's consensus of analysts. This would represent a significant improvement from last quarter's loss of 45 cents per share, or a net loss of $11.9 million.

Licensing of Infoseek's Ultraseek server software accounted for almost 10 percent of total revenue in the third quarter.

The company started the quarter on a high note, announcing the appointment of Les Wright as chief financial officer. This was the latest twist in a management shake-up that included the appointment of Harry Motro as CEO, after the ouster of former CEO Robin Johnson. Several executives handed in their resignations in the months that followed, including former CFO and chief operating officer Leonard LeBlanc.

Infoseek revamped its Web site at the end of August to include some new features, such as a "best bets" section, and more relevant search results. The site's traffic continued to increase in the third quarter, delivering approximately 10.1 million page views per day.

Infoseek has been the subject of takeover speculation during the last couple of weeks, and its stock briefly soared to 14 1/2 on October 14 as a result of the rumors and on anticipation of improved quarterly earnings. Among the rumored buyout candidates: CNET: The Computer Network, and Time Warner. Both companies denied having any interest in such a takeover.

Infoseek has joined the partnership frenzy that has infected most search engine sites in the last couple of months. Looking forward, relationships with Microsoft's Car Point and CMP Media are expected to bring additional content and traffic to Infoseek's site during the fourth quarter.

The company also has inked either advertising or content deals with Talk City, PeopleLink, Allstate, ABC, Cirrus Logic, Eddie Bauer, KPMG, Nasdaq, and Seagate Software.