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RealNetworks beats estimates in 4Q, sets stock split

    RealNetworks Inc. (Nasdaq: RNWK) topped Street estimates in its fourth quarter Tuesday, raking in $6.1 million, or 7 cents a share, on sales of $43.5 million.

    First Call consensus expected RealNetworks to earn 5 cents a share in the quarter.

    Its shares closed up 11, or 7 percent, to 157 7/8 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $43.5 million in sales marks a 111 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it lost $2.2 million, or 3 cents a share, on sales of $20.6 million.

    For the year, it pocketed $8.3 million, or 10 cents a share, excluding a $1.4 million acquisition charge, versus a pro forma net loss for 1998 of $11.2 million, or 17 cents a share, excluding a charge of $8.7 million for research and development.

    Its total sales in 1999 rose to $131.2 million, up 98 percent from $66.4 million in 1998.

    The company also announced that its board of directors approved a 2-for-1 split of its common stock for shareholders as of Jan. 28, 2000.

    "RealNetworks gained momentum across all our businesses this quarter, capping a phenomenal year that reinforced our commanding leadership in Internet media delivery," said CEO Rob Glaser in a prepared release.

    Last quarter, RealNetworks earned $4.4 million, or 5 cents a share, on sales of $34.9 million.

    Separately, RealNetworks announced it will acquire Netzip, Inc., a leading developer and provider of Internet download management and utility software, for approximately 1.7 million shares of RealNetworks stock. The acquisition, which will be accounted for as a purchase transaction, was completed today, resulting in Netzip now being wholly-owned by RealNetworks.

    Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of 186 in December after falling to a low of 26 1/2 last January.

    All 17 analysts tracking the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."

    First Call consensus expects it to earn 30 cents a share in fiscal 2000.