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DoubleClick Rebounds Amid Strong Outlook

DoubleClick posted a 32.49 percent increase in its stock price from Sept. 30 to Oct. 28, rising from $5.14 to $6.81.

The change reversed the downward trend of September when it fell 3.2 percent from $5.31 to $5.14.

The company reported a net loss last month of $62 million for the third quarter, a 40 percent improvement over the same period a year ago when it posted a $103 million net loss.

“We are reporting revenues at the top end of our guidance,” DoubleClick CEO Kevin Ryan said.

Total revenue in the third quarter was $74.6 million.

Ryan said it is on track to keep its promise of profitability on a pro forma basis for 2002 and is experiencing “by far the best annual performance in DoubleClick history.”

Also, this was the first quarter in which more than half of its revenue came from e-mail or offline businesses, and less than half resulted from its ad management or Internet-related business, he said.

DoubleClick's Abacus division produced $26.8 million in revenue in the third quarter, up 50 percent from the previous quarter and up 11 percent from the same period last year, the company reported.

“The third quarter is the strongest quarter for Abacus. It is a seasonal business,” Ryan said. “[Moreover,] this is during a period that the overall list rental business is off 15 [percent] to 20 percent year over year. Abacus has really increased its success in the traditional U.S. catalog market by doing better and better modeling and by executing better on the sales side.”

Brad Eichler of investment bank Stephens Inc., Little Rock, AR, tracks DoubleClick and has a target price of $10 for the stock during the next 12 months.

“But a lot of that will be affected by what happens in the ad market,” he said. “If we got signs of a major turnaround in the ad market, it would perform well in the near term.”

He also cited that the Nasdaq “is up huge” in the past few weeks.

“Our view has been down around the high $4-to-$5-range, the market is putting little value on Abacus and no value on DoubleClick's technology business,” he said. “Down around those levels it looks like an exceptional buy. Whoever is buying the stock is putting a higher valuation on Abacus and their tech business.

“The rest of their business is like a call option on the online advertising market. That business had been in the tank, but many people think that may be on the upswing in the future. The big thing is Abacus is a great business. Hopefully, we will get to a point where the technology part of the business will take off and provide upside leverage for the stock.”

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