Viant issues earnings warning

The party is over. Viant, one of the industry's most profitable Web integrators, today issued an earnings warning and says it expects to report a loss for its Q3 ending Sept.

The party is over. Viant, one of the industry's most profitable Web integrators, today issued an earnings warning and says it expects to report a loss for its Q3 ending Sept. 29.

While Viant remains on firm financial ground, the company is in unfamiliar territory. In a prepared statement, Viant president and CEO Bob Gett blamed the shortfall on Global 2000 companies, which feel less threatened by dot-com companies and therefore are slowing down their IT spending decisions.

Noted Gett in a prepared statement: "While we have been pleased to see continued strong demand for our premium services, we have recently begun to see a lengthening of the sales cycle for Global 2000 companies. In addition, many of our existing dot-com clients were unable to gain the additional funding they had expected to convert to follow-on projects that we were forecasting."

After spectacular performances in late 1999 and early 2000, many Web-integrator stocks have fallen sharply this year. Viant closed at $13.88 today, down from $32.50 on Aug. 1.

Rivals also are feeling Viant's pain. Credit Suisse First Boston earlier this week downgraded shares in Modem Media Inc., Rare Medium Group Inc, Cambridge Technology Partners Inc, iGate Capital Corp. and Viant.