USA Networks Beats Expectations

NEW YORK — USA Networks Inc. posted a narrower-than-expected loss for the second quarter, helped by growth across its diverse businesses.

The cable and e-commerce company Wednesday posted a net loss of $10.3 million, or three cents a share, compared with a loss of $13.3 million, or four cents a share, in the year-earlier period.

The mean estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call was for a loss of 14 cents a share.
Excluding one-time charges and nonoperating gains, the company said it would have posted a loss of $7.5 million, or two cents a share.

Revenue increased 21% to $1.37 billion from $1.13 billion a year earlier.

The results assume the acquisition of online retailer Styleclick had occurred before the start of the 2000 quarter, and excludes the results of USA Broadcasting. Last December, the company agreed to sell USA Broadcasting to Univision Communications Inc. for $1.1 billion.

USA Networks said its loss was tied to complicated regulatory restrictions that require Vivendi Universal and Liberty Media Group to own much of their stakes in USA through subsidiaries.

If those stakes had been converted to common stock during the quarter, USA said it would have earned $27.7 million, or four cents a share, for the latest second quarter, up from $21.4 million, or three cents a share, last year.

The company, headed by Hollywood mogul Barry Diller, said its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization at its combined businesses rose 28% to $249.3 million, helped by strong performances at the USA Network, Ticketmaster and the Home Shopping Network.

Vivendi and Liberty Media have large stakes in USA Networks.

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