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Net earnings: Sportsline.com tops estimates

Sportsline.com (Nasdaq: SPLN) handily beat estimates Thursday with a smaller-than-expected loss as traffic and revenue soared in the fourth quarter.

Excluding a one-time gain, the company reported a net loss of $13.9 million or 57 cents a share. First Call consensus called for a loss of 75 cents a share.

Including a one-time gain, the company reported a profit of a penny a share. Sportsline reported a gain of $14.2 million from the retirement of a portion of the company's convertible debt. Like many Net companies, Sportsline has financed its growth with convertible debt, which is a cheap way to build cash as long as your stock continues to gain. Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN), CNet (Nasdaq: CNET) and others have gone the convertible debt route.

Sportsline also reported strong revenue growth. Revenue jumped 126 percent to $21 million in the fourth quarter, compared to $9.3 million a year ago. Advertising revenue was roughly $9.9 million and e-commerce revenue was $6.9 million. International revenue generated $1.4 million, the company said.

Sportsline, which trails the Go Network's ESPN (NYSE: GO, DIS) in Media Metrix reach, said it averaged 11.6 million page views per day in the fourth quarter.

Among other Net earnings Thursday:

CyberCash (Nasdaq: CYCH) reported a fourth quarter loss of 39 cents a share, excluding a one-time restructuring charge. First Call called for a loss of 44 cents a share.

Sales for the fourth quarter were $6.3 million, up 43 percent from a year ago.

For the year, CyberCash's revenue was $20.3 million, compared to $12.6 million a year ago.

The net loss 1999 was $43.1 million, or $2.02 per share, compared with $30.9 million, or $2.15 a share, in 1998.

Salon.com (Nasdaq: SALN) reported a fiscal third quarter loss of $5.6 million, or 49 cents a share, excluding non-cash charges. Including charges, Salon had a loss of 57 cents a share. First Call consensus expected a loss of 63 cents a share.

Revenue for the December quarter was $3 million, up 119 percent from $1.4 million in the September quarter. Unique users for December were 3.4 million, an increase of 79 percent from 1.9 million users in September. Salon spent $5.64 million in sales and marketing.