Earnings: Freefalling Lycos Europe Plans Cost Cuts, Clock Ticking On Sale

This story was written by Robert Andrews.
This one slipped through the cracks amid our crazy conference week last week Lycos Europe has recorded another big loss and still we have no buyer in sight for the ailing portal. The site lost 17.1 million ($21.5 million) in the nine months to September 30; that's against a 44.1 million ($55.5 million) profit in the same period last year. The portal says "cost management will be further tightened in the fourth quarter" - and no wonder: overall income dipped, too, but only from 58.4 million ($73.4 million) to 46.9 million ($59 million), so running costs are proving a big drain.

The JV between Bertelsmann and Telefonica's Terra put itself up for sale in a strategic review in April and, despite some desperate attempts to link itself with AOL (NYSE: TWX) and German ad net Tomorrow Focus for 200 million ($251 million), barely a whiff has been heard of a potential buyer. Indeed, Telefonica (NYSE: TEF) filed a court complaint in Lycos Europe's native Holland that its management had not examined fully enough all options for sale of the company.

In earnings, Lycos Europe said it "expects to conclude the strategic review process as planned in the second half of 2008". Somehow, Lycos still figures as the 13th most popular UK site, according to comScore, despite a brand name that's vastly diminished since its 90s heyday. Lycos Europe said it would focus on launching new products, attract advertisers through behavioural targeting and better promote its shopping portal Decido.


By Robert Andrews