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@Home reports loss in line with views

The data-over-cable company reports a fourth quarter loss in line with Wall Street's expectations after buying Excite in an $6.7 billion stock deal.

    @Home Network reported a fourth quarter loss in line with Wall Street's expectations today after buying Excite yesterday in an unexpected $6.7 billion stock deal.

    Excluding charges related to its ongoing distribution deal with Cablevision Systems and other items, @Home posted a loss of $7.6 million, or 6 cents a share--narrower when compared with a restated loss of $11.8 million, or 11 cents a share, for the like quarter a year ago.

    Financial analysts predicted the company would lose 6 cents per share, according to First Call.

    @Home ended the year with 331,000 subscribers, ahead of most expectations and leading its closest competitor Road Runner, which has 180,000 subscribers.

    Revenue for the quarter ended December 31 rose to $19.2 million from a restated $3.7 million last year.

    The earnings news comes one day after the data-over-cable company agreed to acquire Internet directory Excite.

    "With the announcement of our merger with Excite, @Home begins 1999 in an excellent position to become the new media network for the 21st century," @Home chief executive Tom Jermoluk said in a statement.

    The company also restated its earnings for the past four quarters dating back to 1997.

    @Home will spread out its payments to Cablevision over 57-months instead of writing it off over two quarters. Cablevision is one of @Home's 18 cable operators partners.

    For the company's third 1998 fiscal quarter @Home restated a loss excluding items of $9.7 million, or 8 cents a share, on revenue of $13.8 million.

    Because @Home will amortize the Cablevision deal over nearly five years, some analysts have pushed back their profit expectations for the company until the fourth quarter of the 2000 fiscal year. Many had previously expected @Home to report a profit by December of this year.

    During the quarter, @Home bought Narrative Communications and Full Force Systems.

    The company also inked distribution deals with Dell Computer and Compaq Computer and received an overseas investment from Intel

    For the 1998 fiscal year @Home posted a net loss of $40 million, or 35 cents a share, on $48 million in revenue. For the 1997 fiscal year, the company had a restated loss of $46.5 million, or 45 cents a share, on revenue of $7.4 million.

    Stock in @Home closed nearly 5 percent lower today at 109.75 ahead of the news. Shares have traded as high as 126.75 and as low as 22 in the past 52 weeks.