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Tech Industry

Earnings Roundup: Vignette, Marimba impress; uBid falters

    Vignette Corp. (Nasdaq: VIGN) posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its third quarter Wednesday, losing $4.8 million, or 19 cents a share, on sales of $24.2 million.

    Its shares closed up 10 7/32, or 9 percent, to 119 1/16 ahead of the earnings report.

    First Call consensus expected Vignette to lose 21 cents a share in the quarter.

    The $24.2 million in sales marks a 459 percent explosion above the year-ago period when it lost $6.5 million, or 35 cents a share, on sales of $4.3 million.

    "We are extremely pleased with our third quarter financial results and the momentum we are seeing in the marketplace as evidenced by the record 97 new customers we added in the quarter," said CEO Greg Peters in a prepared release.

    Vignette is currently rated either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation by each of the 11 analysts following the stock.

    Among other technology companies reporting earnings Wednesday:

  • Marimba Inc. (Nasdaq: MRBA) also posted a smaller-than-expected loss in its third quarter, losing $580,000, or 3 cents a share, on sales of $8.3 million.

    Its shares rallied up 4 5/8, or 15 percent, to 35 5/8 ahead of the earnings report.

    First Call consensus expected Marimba to lose a nickel a share this time around.

    Total sales rose 76 percent versus the year-ago period when it lost $1.5 million, or 15 cents a share, on sales of $4.7 million.

    Third-quarter license revenues were $6.3 million, up 66 percent from $3.8 million a year ago. Service revenues more than doubled to $2.0 million, up from $929,000 for the same quarter last year. Gross margin was consistent with the third quarter of 1998 at 90 percent.

    Marimba shares peaked at 74 3/8 after its May initial public offering.

    Four of the five analysts watching the stock rate it a "buy."

  • uBid Inc. (Nasdaq: UBID) wasn't as fortunate, checking in with a wider-than-expected loss in its third quarter.

    The online auctioneer lost $5.5 million, or 60 cents a share, on sales of $55.1 million.

    First Call consensus pegged it for a loss of only 53 cents a share this quarter.

    The $55.1 million in sales represents a 260 percent jump versus the year-ago quarter when it lost $1 million, or 15 cents a share, on sales of $15.3 million.

    In the quarter, uBid added 258,000 registered users, a 48 percent sequential improvement. It now has more than 790,000 registered users.

    uBid shares closed up 1 11/16 to 36 7/16 ahead of the earnings report.

    After peaking at an incredible $189 a share in December, uBid shares have steadily retreated.

  • Scient Corp. (Nasdaq: SCNT) reported a smaller-than-expected loss in its second quarter Wednesday, losing $1.6 million, or 4 cents a share, on sales of $30.8 million on a pro forma basis.

    First Call consensus expected Scient to lose 6 cents a share in the quarter.

    The $30.8 million in sales is a damn sight better than the $3.1 million it recorded in the year-ago quarter when it lost $1.3 million, or 21 cents a share.

    Its shares closed up 11 3/4, or 13 percent, to a 52-week high of 99 3/4 ahead of the earnings report.

  • MP3.com Inc. (Nasdaq: MPPP) also beat Street estimates in its third quarter, losing $19.8 million, or 33 cents a share, on sales of $4 million.

    First Call consensus expected the online digital music distributor to lose 34 cents a share in the quarter.

    In the year-ago period, it lost $33,000 on sales of $276,000.

    MP3.com shares soared to 105 after its July IPO before falling to a low of 23 5/16 in August.

    The stock closed off 7/8 to 36 7/8 ahead of the earnings report.

  • Drugstore.com Inc. (Nasdaq: DSCM) lost $42 million, or 72 cents a share, in its first quarter as a publicly traded company Wednesday, a penny above First Call estimates.

    Its sales more than tripled from $3.6 million in the year-ago quarter to $12.1 million this time around.

    Excluding charitable contributions and expenses related to stock-based compensation, Drugstore.com lost 72 cents per share. Including those expenses, it lost $1.04 a share in the quarter.

    Drugstore.com said it had served a total of 428,000 unique customers by the end of the quarter, up from 168,000 at the end of the second quarter.

    Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) owns 26 percent of Drugstore.com.

    Its shares closed up 9/16 to 38 15/16 ahead of the earnings report.

  • Multex.com (Nasdaq: MLTX) lost less money than analysts expected in the third quarter.

    After market close Wednesday, the online distributor of investment data reported a third quarter pro forma net loss of $4.7 million, or 15 cents per share, excluding one-time events. First Call's survey of four analysts predicted a loss of 22 cents per share for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

    Third quarter revenue nearly doubled year-over-year, to $10.9 million from $5.6 million. Sales grew 24 percent from $8.8 million in the second quarter. Business-to-consumer revenue led the way, with the MultexExpress and Multex Investor products seeing sequential revenue growth of 45 percent and 74 percent, respectively.

    Pro forma results include the businesses of Market Guide, which Multex bought last month. Not including Market Guide, Multex's continuing operations generated revenue of $8.1 million, up 132 percent from $3.5 million in the year earlier period and up 32 percent from $6.1 million in the second quarter. Market Guide's revenue rose 36 percent year-over-year.

    "We expect to generate significantly higher levels of growth from Market Guide as we dramatically expand the sales of Market Guide's products using Multex.com's large and growing sales force," said James Tousignant, president of Multex.com.

    The Multex Investor website boosted membership to 720,000 at the end of September from 460,000 in June.>