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Seagate hurdles 3Q estimates, but sales, profits slip

Seagate Technology beat analysts' estimates in its third quarter Wednesday despite a decline in both sales and earnings from the year-ago quarter. This will likely mark the disk-drive maker's last quarter as a publicly traded company.

In the quarter, Seagate (NYSE: SEG) earned $46 million, or 20 cents a share, on sales of $1.57 billion.

Its shares closed off 2 to 49 3/4 ahead of the earnings report.

First Call consensus expected Seagate to rake in 15 cents a share in the quarter.

In the year-ago quarter, Seagate posted a profit of 49 cents a share on sales of $1.81 billion.

Last month, Seagate stunned Wall Street by announcing a complicated $20 billion deal that would take the company private while selling its one-third stake in Veritas Software Inc. (Nasdaq: VRTS) back to Veritas.

Including one-time items, Seagate earned $136 million, or 58 cents a share. Those figures include a restructuring charge of $49 million, a charge of $105 million for the write-off of in-process research and development in connection with the company's acquisition of XIOtech Corp., a gain on sale of a portion of its investment in SanDisk Corp. of $453 million, and charges related to its investment in Veritas Software Corp. of $78 million.

In the year-ago period, including one-time items, Seagate had net income of $82 million, or 34 cents a share.

Seagate shares moved up to a 52-week high of 76 in March after falling to a low of 25 1/8 in July.

Ten of the 13 analysts tracking the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.