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August 7, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 7:22pm

AOL Q4 BEATS ESTIMATES, BUT YEAR-LONG LOSSES ARE HUGE

By CBR Staff Writer

America Online Inc, the leading but still failing internet service provider came in with fourth quarter numbers that were slightly better than expected, however it was a little too little and a little too late to make sense of a troubled year. AOL reported a fourth quarter net loss of $11.8m on revenue up 42% at $475.7m, compared to net income of $16.1m or $0.14 per share. For the year, net loss was $499.3m on revenue up 54% at $1.69bn, compared to net income of $29.8m, or $0.28 per share. Results for the quarter include a $24.5m charge for the restructuring of contracts with information providers which was originally recorded in Q2, which has now been restated. The quarter also includes a gain of $1.8m stemming from a restating of third quarter revenue. Net of these irregularities, fourth quarter net income would have been $10.9m, or $0.09 per share, which beats the First Call consensus of $0.07. The year, which was a washout from any point of view, included $409.2m in marketing expenses, as well as a write-off of $385.2m in suscriber acquisition costs, spurred on by the disastrous switch to single-price unlimited access last December which overloaded the system and resulted in massive refunds being issued by AOL. The company says its subscriber base now stands at 8.6 million. It has about $125m in cash on its balance sheet.

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