*DoubleClick Revenues Expected to Fall 7 Percent in Fourth QuarterAnalysts said DoubleClick Inc., New York, is expected to report $124 million to $126 million in revenues for the fourth quarter of last year, down about 7 percent from the third quarter. Earnings per share for the quarter are expected to be between a loss of 2 cents and a loss of 4 cents.
The ad-targeting network will announce its fourth-quarter and year-end results today after the stock market closes. The analysts' estimates are on target with DoubleClick's previous guidance for the quarter.
In December, DoubleClick said it expected to report $124 million to $126 million in revenue for the fourth quarter, or between breakeven and a loss of 3 cents per share. For the first quarter this year, the company is expected to report a loss of 5 cents to 7 cents per share.
Lisa Haas, an analyst at Wit Soundview Corp., said she expects DoubleClick to report a fourth-quarter loss of 2 cents per share on revenues of $126 million. She noted that the company's media revenues should decline 10 percent, largely because of a 16 percent decline in fourth-quarter cost-per-thousand rates.
"In the fourth quarter, we are looking for a 12 percent increase in the number of ads served, with limited deterioration in pricing," Haas said.
She said that although the ad serving business was thought to be immune to the slowdown in online spending, DoubleClick showed slower growth, reporting a 9 percent increase in ad serving in the third quarter last year.
Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. analyst Michael Russell said DoubleClick should report revenues of $124 million, or a loss of 4 cents, for the fourth quarter. For 2000, the company is expected to report a loss of 17 cents per share on revenues of $497 million, up about 85 percent from last year, he said.
Russell also said DoubleClick is well-positioned to capitalize on the expected upturn in the market, which he said should happen in late 2001.
Both analysts said that while DoubleClick is prepared to take advantage of its competitors' financial troubles, it has yet to do so.
"As rivals 24/7 Media and Engage face the prospect of going out of business, DoubleClick stands to gain from the industry weakness, in our view," Haas said.
Russell said the slowdown in online ad spending is affecting DoubleClick in more ways than just financially.
"DoubleClick's competitors are folding or restructuring themselves," he said. "However, DoubleClick has not yet been able to take advantage of its dwindling number of competitors due to the crunch in online advertising."