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Red Hat posts loss, sets 2-for-1 split

Third-quarter revenues jump 24 percent to $5.4 million from $4.4 million a year earlier, but the Linux reseller's loss of 5 cents a share is just below expectations.

Red Hat today posted a wider-than-expected third-quarter loss and set a 2-for-1 stock split.

Red Hat, the leading seller of Linux operating systems, said its third-quarter net loss was $3.6 million, or 5 cents a share, compared to net income of $100,000 in the same period a year ago. Analysts polled by First Call projected the company to post a net loss of 4 cents a share.

Red Hat's stock closed up 15.06 to 267.94 today.

Revenues for the third quarter ended Nov. 30 jumped 24 percent to $5.4 million from $4.4 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement.

Red Hat also said its board of directors has approved a 2-for-1 stock split, which will entitle each stockholder of record at the close of business on Dec. 27 to receive one additional share for each share of common stock. Currently, there are approximately 68.8 million shares of Red Hat outstanding, which will increase to an estimated 137.6 million shares after the stock split, the company said.

The company attributes its strong quarterly revenue growth partly to an increase in the number of total enterprise customers, to 60 from 34 last quarter; the expanded scope of service offerings it provides by supporting popular open source applications; and the recent acquisition of Cygnus Solutions.

Last month, Red Hat bought software company Cygnus for $674 million, giving Red Hat an entree into "embedded" devices, machines whose inner workings such as operating systems and hardware usually are hidden from the person using it. In the past, Red Hat has focused chiefly on the server market.

At the time, former CEO Bob Young, who was recently replaced by Matthew Szulik, said with the acquisition Red Hat would be able to take advantage of Cygnus' strong relationships with embedded systems programmers, companies such as Sony and Fujitsu that build embedded devices, and chip manufacturers such as Intel that build chips for those devices.

In recent days, Red Hat has been rumored to be interested in acquiring Be Incorporated, a maker of operating software to run computers. Last Friday, the acquisition rumors sent Be's stock on a wild ride.