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CMGI tops 3Q estimates

The Internet incubator and investment company sees revenue growth
Written by Larry Barrett, Contributor

CMGI topped analysts' estimates in its third quarter Tuesday, posting a loss of $428m (£284.7m), or $1.53 a share, on sales of $225.9 million.

First Call consensus pegged the Internet incubator and investment company for a loss of $1.83 a share in the quarter.

Ahead of the earnings report, CMGI shares closed up 1/8 to 56 5/8.

The $225.9 million in sales represents a 417 percent jump from the year-ago quarter when it lost $27.8 million on sales of $43.7 million.

On a conference call with analysts, CEO David Wetherell said revenue will continue to grow 20 to 25 percent sequentially. Revenue will be about $370 million in the fourth quarter. This quarter didn't include sales from the recently acquired uBid.

He also said the "company is not dependent on the IPO market". Wetherell cited mergers such as the Terra and Lycos combination as an example of liquidity events.

Company officials said sales for its Internet business segment increased 1,600 percent compared with the third quarter of last year. Wetherell also added that the AltaVista IPO is on track.

Excluding a variety of charges, CMGI pocketed $36.6 million, or 13 cents a share, in the quarter. CMGI sold shares of Yahoo!, Amazon.com and Open Market in the quarter.

Last quarter, CMGI topped analysts' estimate, posting a profit of $1.3 million, or 1 cent a share, on sales of $153.5 million.

Its shares raced up to a 52-week high of 163 1/2 in January after falling to a low of 33 1/8 in August.

The stock split 2-for-1 in January.

All ten analysts following the stock rate it either a 'buy' or 'strong buy'.

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