RealNetworks posts record sales, sets stock split

Internet broadcaster RealNetworks Inc. gave Internet investors some more reassurance Tuesday when it beat analysts' estimates in its first quarter on record sales. It also announced a 2-for-1 stock split.

In the quarter, RealNetworks lost $700,000 (£427,000), or 2 cents a share, on sales of $23.5m (£14.3m). First Call consensus pegged the Seattle-base firm for a loss of 3 cents a share in the quarter. RealNetworks shares rocketed up 52 7/16, or 41 percent, to 181 1/16 ahead of the earnings report. "We continue to be successful in our businesses based on four strong pillars: great technology; a huge registered base of 60 million unique RealPlayer users; connecting consumers to great content; and an ever-expanding ecosystem of strong industry partners," said CEO Rob Glaser in a prepared release. "This was another successful quarter for RealNetworks."

The $23.5m in sales represents an 88 percent jump compared to the year-ago quarter when it lost $2.2m, or 7 cents a share, on sales of $12.5m. Company officials said the 2-for-1 split will benefit shareholders of record on April 27.

After Yahoo! Inc. agreed to buy Broadcast.com Inc. for $5.7bn, rumours began to swirl that RealNetworks would be the next takeover target. However, Glaser said the company plans to remain independent for the foreseeable future.

RealNetworks shares hit an all-time high of 263 ¾ earlier this month after trading at a 52-week low of 15 ¼ in September.

All eight analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.

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