By Simon Avery, Associated Press Business Writer
LOS ANGELES — Ticketmaster posted a $46 million loss in the fourth quarter, despite a 10.5 percent increase in sales from a year earlier to $159.6 million.
The loss amounted to 32 cents a share, a significant improvement over results from a year earlier, when the Los Angeles-based company recorded a loss of $164.5 million, or $1.16 a share.
Ticketmaster's largest division, its ticket servicing business, posted revenue growth of 7.4 percent to $131.8 million. Revenue from Match.com, its online personals site, grew by 144.8 percent to $17.6 million, as subscribers more than doubled to 382,150.
But sales from Ticketmaster's Citysearch business, a local Internet guide to major cities, fell 27.1 percent to $10.3 million, due mainly to a decline in advertising, the company said.
Thomas McInerney, chief financial officer, said the company would cut 111 positions in its Citysearch unit and trim spending through 2002 by $19 million.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, merger and other non-recurring charges amounted to $19.2 million in the three month period ending Dec. 31, or 6 cents a share.
The median estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call was 4 cents for the quarter.
In the same period a year earlier, the company posted EBITDA of $13.5 million.
For the full year, Ticketmaster sales rose 11.3 percent to $675.2 million, from $606.7 million. EBITDA for the full year in 2001 was $79.3 million, compared with $38.3 million in 2000, the company said.
Ticketmaster released the results after the market closed. During regular trading Ticketmaster shares closed up $1.25 to $22.75.