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Thursday, 8 February, 2001, 07:55 GMT
Losses mount at Ask Jeeves
Ask Jeeves
Internet search service Ask Jeeves has reported bigger than expected fourth quarter losses.

The company has blamed weak online shopping in December and a conservative policy toward recognising dot.com sales.

Ask Jeeves, which in December laid off a quarter of its staff and warned of a larger-than-expected fourth quarter loss, reported a loss of $18.7m, excluding one-off charges.

That was slightly more than analysts had forecast.

Restructuring

Ask Jeeves, which provides internet search services to consumers and corporate clients said it would face $10.5m in cash payouts in the current quarter related to its restructuring.

The company ended the fourth-quarter with $105m in cash and short-term investments, enough to carry it through the next year and to profitability, it said.

"We are disappointed with our fourth quarter results, which reflect the economic realities of the changed market environment and our own internal challenges," chief executive Skip Battle said in a statement.

The company said it was still forecasting profitability in the fourth quarter of 2001, although it warned of a potentially flat first-half because of slow markets for advertising and information technology.

For the full year, the company forecast a gain of between 15-30% in revenues.

Shares in Ask Jeeves fell 11% to $2.75 in regular trade on the Nasdaq on Wednesday ahead of the results, but have gained 27% since the start of the year.

The company also named Steven Sordello as its acting chief financial officer. Sordello had been vice president of financial planning.

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