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Homestore Cuts Loss Sharply

March 07, 2003|Jesus Sanchez | Times Staff Writer

Homestore Inc., operator of the Internet's busiest real estate site, said Thursday that it sharply reduced its fourth-quarter loss compared with a year ago, reflecting a dramatic reorganization in the wake of legal and financial problems.

The Westlake Village-based company continued to shed businesses and operations during the fourth quarter as it refocused attention on running Realtor.com and developing online services and marketing partnerships with residential real estate agents. Realtor.com is owned by the National Assn. of Realtors.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Homestore reported a loss of $36.6 million, or 31 cents a share. In the previous year, the company posted a fourth-quarter loss of $1.1 billion, or $9.51 a share, after taking massive write-downs related to accounting errors and overstated revenue in previous periods.

Fourth-quarter revenue fell 25% to $81.5 million, reflecting in part the sale of numerous businesses.

For 2002, the company recorded a loss of $163.4 million, or $1.39 a share, compared with a loss of $1.5 billion, or $13.64 a share, in the previous year. Revenue declined 13% in 2002 to $264.6 million.

Homestore shares fell 2 cents to 76 cents on Nasdaq.

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