Stock Watch: NBCi Gains on Strong Q3, Bullish Outlook

NBC Internet, Inc. (Nasdaq: NBCI) was up 17/32 at 5 7/16 early Friday after reporting better-than-expected results for the third quarter and issuing a bullish forecast for the fourth quarter.

The company, which handles the Internet operations of General Electric Co.’s NBC networks, said revenue for the quarter totaled $31.3 million, up 58 percent from pro forma revenue of $19.8 million in the same quarter last year.

The loss before charges widened to $54.8 million, or 88 cents per share, from $17.1 million, or 87 cents, in the year-earlier quarter. Analysts were expecting the company to lose $1 per share.

Prior-year results, however, are not directly comparable. NBCi was launched last November when NBC combined its Internet properties with CNET properties, including Snap.com and Xoom.com. NBC holds a 39.2 percent stake in NBCi, which is based in San Francisco, California.

A month ago, NBCi revamped its operations to consolidate its properties under a single name. The move was accompanied by a $50 million advertising blitz that began during the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

NBCi said it expects a profit — before charges — in the fourth quarter of 2001 or the first quarter of 2002, due largely to recent cost cuts and a plan to operate AllBusiness.com, the company’s small-business B2B portal, as a stand-alone business.

For the fourth quarter of this year, the company now expects a pro forma loss of 75 to 85 cents per share, ahead of analysts’ current estimates for a $1.11 loss. Revenue will be “consistent” with the third quarter, NBCi said. For the full year, the loss will likely be $2.05 to $2.25, against current estimates for a $3.01 loss, on revenue of about $150 million.

NBCi said the upbeat forecasts are a result of its refined focus on the U.S. consumer Internet market.

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