Access Worldwide Considers Sale of Company, Projects Soft Quarter

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Access Worldwide Communications Inc., Arlington, VA, said yesterday it had retained Bear, Stearns and Co. Inc. as a financial advisor to explore strategic alternatives, including the possible sale of the company. Access, which designs and produces data-driven sales and targeted marketing programs for clients in the pharmaceutical, telecommunications, financial services and consumer products industries, also said its financial results for the first quarter, which ended March 31, will be below analysts' expectations.

The company, citing startup and operational difficulties in its Consumer and Business Services segment and weakness in its Pharmaceutical Marketing Services segment, said first-quarter earnings would be between 0 cents and 3 cents per share, vs. 7 cents per share in the first quarter of a year ago.

"Management expects substantial improvement in subsequent quarters," said John Fitzgerald, president and chief executive. "We anticipate that 1999 earnings will be comparable to or slightly better than our 1998 earnings of 51 cents."

The company said it expected to report its first-quarter results during or before the first week of May.

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