CMGI Reports $1.27 Billion Q4 Loss

Shortly after announcing a massive restructuring of its operating companies last September, CMGI Inc. held a Q4 earnings call marked by a barrage of analyst queries. In fact, the banking community?s interest was so overwhelming that time ran out on journalists hoping to ask questions of their own.

What a difference a year makes.

During a Q4 2001 earnings call held after market close yesterday, the only voices to be heard other than CMGI executives were courtesy of Private Equity Week and the Boston Herald (both of which inquired about personnel). Perhaps the revelation that CMGI suffered a $1.276 billion net loss simply said it all.

?There wasn?t really anything to ask,? said one of the three analysts who listened in on the live call. ?It was just more of the same, and the same hasn?t been good.?Indeed, the Andover, Mass.-based company?s Q4 net loss included pre-tax losses related to a $187.5 million write-down of the company?s investment in Pacific Century Cyberworks Ltd., a $119.3 million write-down of certain @Ventures investments and a $106.3 million write-downs of certain marketable securities investments.

At the close of fiscal Q4, CMGI had $710.7 million of consolidated cash and cash equivalents.

?We continue to aggressively restructure the operations of our core holdings and have taken several key steps to improve the prospects of these businesses,? said David Wetherell, chairman and chief executive of CMGI.

That process yesterday included the official end of funding to Navisite Inc., a publicly traded Internet access provider that had been founded as CMGI?s internal IT wing. Just one hour into Nasdaq trading on Thursday, Navisite?s stock price dipped to $0.24 per share, from an opening price of $0.40 per share.

Also announced yesterday were the acquisition of Activate Corp. by Loudeye Technologies Inc., and the sale of certain Engage Inc. advertising assets to Bluestreak Inc.

As for its @Ventures investment wing, CMGI mostly discussed a handful of recent follow-on investments it had recently transacted. When asked if the group could see further personnel losses, Wetherell was noncommittal. @Ventures has lost four partners and its remaining two analysts over the past few months. A source familiar with the situation said two of the partners were asked to leave, while the other two did so voluntarily.

Dan Primack can be contacted at